Indian Police Arrest 25 After Tainted Alcohol Kills 69 | World news

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Indian police have arrested 25 people on suspicion of selling “fake” alcohol that has left at least 69 dead in Punjab.

A state government statement said six police officers and seven other government officials have been suspended for failing to prevent the sale of the tainted alcohol.

A magistrate has launched an investigation into the reported deaths in the districts of Tarn Taran, Amritsar and Batala in the northern state of Punjab.

Police officer Roshan Lal said 69 deaths had been confirmed, but local media put the number at 86.

Dinkar Gupta, state police chief, said the first five deaths were reported on Wednesday evening in two villages in Amritsar district.

In the past three days, 48 ​​more deaths have been reported across the three districts, Lal told The Associated Press.

Mr. Gupta said those arrested used to deliver tainted alcohol to roadside restaurants, from where it was sold to travelers and villagers.

A state government statement said the deaths were due to “fake” alcohol and a crackdown on illegal alcohol manufacture in the state has been ordered.

Deaths from illegally brewed alcohol are common in India, where the poor cannot afford to buy licensed brands from government-run stores.

Illicit alcohols are inexpensive and often fortified with methanol to increase potency.

In 2019, at least 133 people died after drinking tainted alcohol in two separate incidents in the state of Assam, northeast India.

The victims were mostly tea plantation workers.

That same year, another 80 people died from tainted alcohol in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

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