As many as six persons, most of them labourers, died in Ujjain city, 190 km west of Bhopal, in a span of about 12 hours on Wednesday after allegedly consuming an intoxicant called ‘potali’, said police.
Two labourers–Shankarlal, 40, a resident of Piploda Bagla village and Vijay alias Krishna, 45, a resident of Nagda town in Ujjain district– were found dead at Chhatri Chowk Sarai under Khara Kuan police station. Two others were found serious ill some distance away and were rushed to the district hospital, said police.
Those admitted to the hospital identified as Babloo Yadav, 40, a resident of Dani gate and Badrilal, 65, a resident of Chhatri Chowk Sarai in Ujjain city told the police that they had bought ‘potali’ from a man named Shankar in Kaharwadi area and that most of labourers bought the intoxicant from there. The two died in the district hospital in the evening, according to Khara Kuan police.
In separate incidents, a labourer Dinesh Joshi, 45, a resident of Ankpat area in Ujjain city was found dead near Madhav Goshala in the evening. Another labourer Peer Shah, 45, a resident of Begum Bagh locality in Ujjain died in the district hospital during treatment. While Joshi used to beg when without any job, Peer Shah was a vendor.
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“There was a common link found behind most of the deaths that the deceased used to consume a ginger solution, an intoxicant made available by some people here whom we are trying to track down…,” said Rajnish Kashyap, Ujjain superintendent of police.
The police officer said deaths of six persons in a day were alarming.
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“There are a good number of beggars in Ujjain due to many temples existing in the city including the famous Mahakal temple. Two to three beggars die almost daily but death of as many as six persons in a day is alarming for us, more because most of the deaths are linked with the consumption of an intoxicant called ginger liquor. It’s not alcohol per se but a solution used as an intoxicant. The dead bodies were sent for a post-mortem examination. The doctors have told us that they need some more time to arrive at a conclusion on the cause of death of all the six persons.”
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