Consumption of industrial spirit led to Kanjikode tragedy?

Consumption of industrial spirit led to Kanjikode tragedy?
The children of Sivan, who died after consuming spurious liquor, paying respects to his body when it was brought to the Chellankavu tribal settlement in Kanjikode. Photo: Jins Michael

Palakkad: The consumption of spirit used in the industrial units is suspected to have caused the death of five people of the Chellankavu tribal colony near Kanjikode in Palakkad district.

The excise department has confirmed that the victims had not consumed alcohol. The exact reason would be known only after chemical test results are available.

District police chief G Shiva Vikram has said that action would be taken to ensure that the test results are out at the earliest.

Several industrial units in the Kanjikode region use spirit. The tribal colony is just 5km away from the industrial belt. Though checks were conducted at the colony, the can or bottle suspected to have been used to transport spirit was not found. As the person who procured the liquor and the two people who consumed it first are dead, finding the source would be difficult.

The police and excise are probing the possibilities of the spirit reaching the colony via gangs that misuse the supplies. Earlier, three youths had died here after consuming spirit mixed with cool drinks.

While five people died at the tribal colony, nine were hospitalised this week. The deceased were Raman, 61; Sivan, 37; Murthy, 28; Ayyappan, 58; and Arun, 25. After post-mortem, the dead bodies were taken back to the tribal colony on Tuesday. Shivan’s body was taken to the Chandranagar electric crematorium, while the others were cremated at the gas crematorium in Kanjikode.

Committee to care for Sivan’s children

The Child Welfare Committee will care for the three children of Sivan, one of the deceased in the Kanjikode tragedy.

Sivan's wife had abandoned the family two years ago and Shivan had been looking after the children since then. His elder son Sibin is in class V, second child Sibu in class IV and youngest daughter Sijitha in class III.

As there are no schools due to the COVID-19 crisis, the children were alone at home when the tragedy struck. The children usually had food from their relatives' homes till Sivan, a daily-wage worker, returned home. Currently, the children are under the care of the tribal chief. The committee members held talks with the chief, the relatives and also the children. After the final rites, the procedures would be completed and the children would be moved to a safe shelter. As they are from the tribal category, the officials are also considering to move the children into the department’s model residential schools.

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