2009 Gujarat alcohol poisonings

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The 2009 Gujarat hooch tragedy occurred in July 2009 in Gujarat, resulting in the death of 136 people[1] from consumption of bootleg liquor.


Gujarat had banned alcohol consumption since 1961 as a homage to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. However bootlegged alcohol, known as Hooch, is widely available, allegedly under the patronage of the local police.[2] Gujarat has witnessed several occasions of alcohol poisoning, claiming the lives of more than 400 people after the ban was enforced.[3] To counter the liquor mafia, the state government in 1996 formed the State Prohibition Department, which was dismantled in 2006 because of a shortage of police personnel. During the tenure of the department there were no incidents of alcohol poisoning in Gujarat.[4] The revenue loss to Gujarat government because of the ban is estimated to be around Rs 30 Billion.[5]

Alcohol poisoning[edit]

On 7 July 2009, ten people died in Behrampura after drinking spurious liquor.[6] The liquor was brewed in the house of Arvind Solanki, who also died after consuming the liquor. The death toll rose to 43 next day[7] and crossed 120 by 12 July.[8] Two hundred seventy-six people were admitted in various hospitals with nearly 100 of them in intensive care units.[9] More than 1,000 litres of hooch containing methanol was brought to Ahmedabad from Mohammadabad.[10]


After the incident, there had been demands for repealing the prohibition of alcohol in the state.[11] Vijay Mallya, the chairman of United Breweries, criticised the Gujarat government. He claimed that: "Blanket prohibition has never worked in this free world".[12] The state assembly also witnessed scenes of uproar and demands for the resignation of Narendra Modi, the chief minister of the state.[13] The leader of the opposition of Gujarat Assembly, Shaktisinh Gohil, alleged that Rasik Paramar, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) councillor in the area, was a key figure in the state's bootlegging network.[14]

Following the tragedy, the police conducted more than 8,000 raids in the state, booking 6,713 persons for violation of prohibition[15] On 14 July, the police announced that Vinod Chauhan, the prime accused had managed to slip out of Gujarat.[16] The state government introduced a bill in the state Assembly to amend the Prohibition Law, calling for penal action up to the death penalty for those convicted in spurious liquor cases.[17]

See also[edit]