Dozens die from bootleg alcohol tainted with methanol in India

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At least 39 people have died after drinking alcohol tainted with methanol at a funeral in India.

A further 27 have fallen sick after consuming the illicit drink in a few villages in the north of the country.

Police officer Ashok Kumar said two separate incidents in the state of Uttar Pradesh left 26 dead, and another 13 died in the neighbouring state of Uttarakhand.

Eight suspected bootleggers have been held by police while 35 officials – including 12 police officers – have been suspended by the provincial governments.

Saharanpur police officer Dinesh Kumar said: “We are trying to find out if anyone else has consumed the (spurious) liquor. Has it been kept in any homes?

“We are investigating. And we are trying to get them the best possible treatment.”

The alcohol was first drunk at a funeral in Uttarakhand, according to NDTV, before people from Saharanpur, in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, brought it home and sold it on to others.

“A man called Pintu came back with 30 pouches and sold them. One or two pouches have been recovered and anyone who drank from those pouches is also dead or in hospital,” NDTV quoted Saharanpur District Magistrate AK Pandey as saying.

Deaths from illegally made alcohol are common in India because licensed brands are often out of the reach of those in poverty.

Bootleg alcohol is cheap and often has chemicals added to it to increase its strength.

In some states, like Bihar, the sale of alcohol is banned.

(c) Sky News 2019: Dozens die from bootleg alcohol tainted with methanol in India

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