Seven persons died, while five fell ill in the last two days after consuming an alcohol-based homeopathy medicine as a replacement for liquor in Chhattisgarh’s Bilaspur district, alleged police on Thursday.
An official said the deaths were reported from a locality in Kormi village under the Sirgitti police station area.
Bilaspur Superintendent of Police Prashant Agrawal said, out of seven victims four died at their homes in the village Tuesday night, while it was reported that three others died in two hospitals on Wednesday afternoon.
As per the primary investigation, Kamlesh Dhuri, 32, Akshya Dhuri, 21, Rajesh Dhuri, 21, and Samru Dhuri, 25, had consumed Drosera-30, a homeopathy syrup with about 91 per cent alcohol content, on Tuesday night, following which their condition deteriorated and they died, he informed.
He said, their families performed their last rites the next morning, suspecting that they died of Covid-19 infection and they did it without informing the authorities.
According to officials, Khemchand Dhuri, 40, Kailash Dhuri, 50, and Dipak Dhuri, 30, had also consumed the same medicine and were taken to different hospitals in Bilaspur, where they died during treatment.
A police team rushed to the village on Wednesday evening on being alerted about the deaths. After reaching the spot they found that five other locals who had consumed the syrup were too in serious condition, he noted.
Prashant Agrawal, however, said, “Four of them were shifted to the Chhattisgarh Institute of Medical Sciences (CIMS) Bilaspur and another to a private hospital.”
A probe revealed they had got the syrup from a homeopathy practitioner near the village, he added.
The official said, “Prima facie, it seems like the deceased had consumed the syrup in excess as a substitute for liquor. However, the exact cause of the deaths will be known once the post-mortem report arrives.”