At least 70 die in India after drinking spurious liquor

At least 70 die in India after drinking spurious liquor

Uttar Pradesh government spokesman Awanish Awasthi said more than 3,000 people have been arrested in a drive against tainted liquor since February 9.

Officials confirmed the death toll has mounted to 72, however, local media reports suggest the tragedy has claimed over 100 lives.

"The viscera examination on more bodies is yet to be conducted to find out if these too were alcohol-related deaths", an official said.

The death toll had stood at 99 on Saturday.

Twenty-two people were admitted to hospitals in Saharanpur but were in stable condition, Pandey said.

Police have arrested four people in connection with the deaths, Haridwar senior superintendent of police Janmaijai Prabhakar told Reuters. Around 1,066 liters of hooch have been seized during the raid and over 50 people detained in state, reports said.

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Authorities in the region also suspended over 30 officials, including 10 policemen, on charges of negligence or collusion in the illicit trade.

Because lower-income Indians are unable to afford legal alcohol in rural areas, they purchase alcohol that is brewed improperly and turns poisonous, the Hindustan Times reported.

Officials says dozens more people are in hospitals recovering from the toxic brew. Illicit liquor is cheap and often spiked with chemicals such as pesticides to increase potency.

The liquor is usually made with poor-quality ingredients and sometimes mixed with industrial alcohol and toxic substances.

Family members of a hooch victim mourn at Chowdhurypara under Shantipur police station of Nadia district where seven people died and twelve fell ill after consuming spurious liquor locally called cholai.

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