Toxic bootleg booze claims 72 lives in India

Toxic bootleg booze claims 72 lives in India

Toxic bootleg booze claims 72 lives in India

The death toll had stood at 72 on Saturday.

Indian officials and local media say there are still several people falling sick after drinking cheap spurious liquor that already killed dozens of people, most of whom from the village of Balpur in Uttarakhand.

The deaths occurred in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Police officials said viscera examination on more bodies was yet to be conducted to find out if these too were alcohol-related deaths.

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In the adjoining Haridwar district, the death toll had risen to 28 from 12 on Friday, Indian broadcaster NDTV reported. The villagers drank the tainted liquor Thursday. About 24 people are admitted to the hospital.

Uttar Pradesh government spokesman Awanish Awasthi said more than 3,000 people have been arrested in a drive against tainted liquor since February 9. Around 1,066 liters of hooch have been seized during the raid and over 50 people detained in state, reports said. Regional authorities have also suspended several officials following the incident.

They vowed to take strict action against the accused, saying they would demand death penalty for those involved in the illicit trade once the case reaches the court.

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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.

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

In 2015, more than 100 people died in a Mumbai slum after drinking illegal moonshine.

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