Monday, 22 April, 2019

In India, a mass poisoning took the lives of 99 people

Indian police gather around containers of bootleg alcohol in 2017 Modal Trigger Indian police gather around containers of bootleg alcohol in 2017. AFP Getty Images
Patty Aguilar | 11 February, 2019, 22:27

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.

In Saharanpur district, the death toll climbed from 16 to 36, top administrative official Alok Pandey said.

Health officials in India are now having a tough time attending to patients after no less than 72 victims died consuming contaminated liquor.

The death toll had stood at 99 on Saturday. "In the remaining 10 cases viscera report is still awaited".

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In Uttar Pradesh's Kushinagar district, 8 deaths have been reported because of the consumption of hooch. "Whoever is responsible will not be spared", said Yogi Adityanath, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, according to a media report. "We will soon nab the main culprit behind this tragedy", Janmejay Khanduri, senior Uttarakhand police official told AFP. "We have detained many people and guilty would be dealt as per the law of land". Authorities launched a crackdown and suspended police and officials. They have seized hundreds of liters of so-called country-made liquor.

At least 59 people had died in the neighbouring Saharanpur where over two dozen people were being treated.

A show cause notice has also been issued to the higher officials of the Enforcement Wing of Excise Department for dereliction of duty. Illicit liquor is cheap and often spiked with chemicals such as pesticides to increase potency.

Deaths from illegally-produced alcohol, known locally as "hooch" or "country liquor", are common in India because the poor can not afford licensed brands - the worst "hooch"-related deaths occurred in 2011 when 172 people died in West Bengal".

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