World News

Methanol-laced bootleg liquor kills at least 39 in India

Methanol-laced bootleg liquor kills at least 39 in India

At least 72 people have died and several others fallen sick from drinking illegally-brewed liquor containing toxic methanol in several villages in the northern India, officials said.

But the current death toll is believed to be the deadliest outbreak since a similar case killed 172 in West Bengal in 2011.

Eight more deaths, blamed on tainted liquor, were reported in Kushinagar district, also in Uttar Pradesh, regional official BD Gupta said.

In one district of Uttar Pradesh 59 people had died after consuming toxic alcohol, police spokesperson Shailendra Kumar Sharma told AFP.

Alok Kumar Pandey, district magistrate, said a feast had taken place where several of the deaths occurred. "However, in the remaining cases unless the viscera report is not available, it is hard for doctors to ascertain clearly that the deaths were caused due to alcohol", A K Pandey, district magistrate Saharanpur said Saturday. They seized more than 2,000 pints of tainted liquor in raids.

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The Saharanpur police, who are working on the assumption that the alcohol may have come from the same source, arrested 30 people, many of them bootleggers.

An average of 1000 people, mostly from poorer sections of society, die in India each year after consuming illegally-brewed alcohol, according to National Crime Records Bureau.

Producers often mix liquor with cheap chemicals to increase potency and profit.

"The viscera examination on more bodies is yet to be conducted to find out if these too were alcohol-related deaths", an official said.


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