Death toll from drinking tainted liquor nears 100 in India

NEW DELHI (DPA) - Toxic alcohol has claimed nearly 100 lives in northern India, with dozens still hospitalised, while more than 200 people are being held in a police crackdown, officials said on Sunday (Feb 10).

An estimated 91 people have died in Saharanpur and Haridwar, adjoining districts of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand states, after consuming the methanol-laced brew on Thursday.

Eight more deaths were reported in another tragedy blamed on tainted liquor in Kushinagar, also in Uttar Pradesh.

The death toll had stood at 72 on Saturday.

In Saharanpur, besides the 36 deaths reported on Saturday, 23 more victims died at a government hospital in nearby Meerut city that they had been referred to.

"Preliminary investigations show they died of the adulterated liquor. Further medical tests are awaited," Dr Raj Kumar, chief medical officer of the facility, told dpa.

In Haridwar, four more people had died, bringing the toll there to 32, local official BK Mishra said.

 

More than four dozen people have been admitted to hospitals in both districts, and the death toll could climb further, officials said.

Police in both states have arrested 200 people involved in the illicit trade, many of them bootleggers.

They seized hundreds of litres of tainted liquor in raids.

State authorities have ordered a probe into the tragedy, and many police officers and officials have been suspended on charges of negligence or collusion in connection with the illicit trade.