BOOTLEG LIQUOR CLAIMED AT LEAST 98 LIVES IN INDIA’S PUNJAB STATE
By Siulan Law Mathews DipWSET
Credit: Anishvir Singh/Unsplash
At least 98 people have died after drinking toxic bootleg liquor in the northern Indian state of Punjab in an outbreak started last week.
Indian news media reported that local police have arrested at least 25 people in suspicion of manufacturing and selling illegal alcohol.
The most affected area is the Tarn Taran district where at least 75 people had died, followed by at least 12 in Amritsar and at least 11 in Gurdaspur district, according figures reported by local government officials and local media.
Local authorities suspected that some other deaths in recent days were caused by bootleg liquor, but could not prove it as the bodies had been cremated by families without post-mortem examinations.
Meanwhile, Indian media also reported that nine people had died after drinking alcohol-based sanitiser in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.
The victims drank the sanitiser as a substitute for alcohol which has been restricted during the coronavirus lockdown in India.
According to the International Spirits and Wine Association of India, Indian consumers down an estimated five billion litres of alcohol every year, of that about 40 percent are illegally produced and are sold for as little as Rs10 (USD13 cents) a litre.
These bootleg liquors can be lethal if illegal distillers allowed too much Methanol in the final product intentionally or unintentionally. When consumed, Methanol can cause blindness, liver damage and even death.
Last year in February, an outbreak in Assam state left at least 155 people dead and more than 200 hospitalised.
Just two weeks before that incidence, more than 100 were killed in Uttar Pradesh after drinking illegal bootleg liquor.
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