39 die, dozens sick in India from drinking spurious liquor:The Asahi Shimbun

Lester Mason
February 11, 2019

Authorites fear the toll will rise as deaths linked to illicit liquor have been reported in other regions. Authorities launched a crackdown and suspended police and officials.

Thirteen others died in the neighboring state of Uttarakhand.

Alok Kumar Pandey, district magistrate, said a feast had taken place where several of the deaths occurred. About 24 people are admitted to the hospital. They seized more than 2,000 pints of tainted liquor in raids.

Police in both states have arrested 200 people involved in the illicit trade, many of them bootleggers. Regional authorities have also suspended several officials following the incident.

The local governments in both the states have announced a compensation of 2,806 US dollars to the next of kin of each of those who died in the tragedy and 700 USA dollars for those taken ill.

Deaths from illegally-produced alcohol, known locally as "hooch" or "country liquor", are a regular occurrence in India, where many can not afford branded spirits.

Authorities suspect bootleggers mixed the alcohol with methanol - a cheap but toxic form of alcohol - to increase the liquor's potency and their profit.

Almost 1,000 people die in the country each year after consuming illegally brewed alcohol, the National Crime Records Bureau data show.

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

In some of the worst cases of such poisoning, 200 people died in 1992 in Odisha state, 180 in West Bengal in 2011 and 100 in the city of Mumbai in 2015.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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