Poisonous alcohol in India: dozens die in poisoning in Punjab


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The death toll has steadily increased in recent days

At least 86 people have died in recent days from the consumption of illegally manufactured alcohol, according to officials in the state of Punjab in northern India.

Police raided more than 100 on Saturday, confiscating suspected alcohol supplies and making 25 arrests.

The death toll has steadily increased in recent days.

Hundreds of people die in India every year after drinking contraband alcohol in alleyway distilleries.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday ordered an investigation into the deaths.

Reports suggest that illegal alcohol may have been produced in bulk, sold to owners of roadside cafes, and then distributed to local communities.

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Media captionAlmost half of the alcohol market is made up of so-called “country” alcoholic beverages

The case follows reports on Friday of the deaths of 10 people – believed to be addicted to alcohol – who drank hand sanitizer in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

Deaths from illegally produced alcohol, which is much cheaper than branded spirits, are common in parts of rural India.

Bootleggers often add methanol – a highly toxic form of alcohol sometimes used as an antifreeze – to their mixture to increase its strength.

If ingested even in small amounts, methanol can cause blindness, liver damage and death.


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