Asia-Pacific

Illegal alcohol death toll in India nears 100

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More than 90 people are estimated to have died in northern India after drinking a methanol-laced brew of illegal alcohol last week.

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.

More than 90 people are estimated to 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, 23 further victims died at a government hospital in nearby Meerut city.

Chief medical officer of the facility Raj Kumar said preliminary tests showed they died from the adulterated liquor.

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.

An average of 1000 people, mostly from poorer sections of society, die in India each year after consuming illegally brewed alcohol, government data shows.

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