India illegal alcohol toll mounts to 39

India illegal alcohol toll mounts to 39

A man buys liquor at a shop in New Delhi, India, on February 10, 2019.

At least 77 people have died after drinking illegally brewed liquor that contained methanol in several villages in northern India, officials said Saturday.

In the adjoining Haridwar district, the death toll had risen to 28 from 12 on Friday, Indian broadcaster NDTV reported.

In a neighbouring district a senior police officer said nine had died, adding that 66 suspected bootleggers had been arrested in the state and samples of the liquor sent to a laboratory for testing.

The majority of the deaths were reported from the village of Balpur in Uttarakhand.

Health officials in India are now having a tough time attending to patients after no less than 72 victims died consuming contaminated liquor.

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According to officials, in Saharanpur district of Uttar Pradesh 36 deaths have taken place owing to the consumption of spurious alcohol.

Reports said police teams during the crackdown have seized 9,269 liters of hooch in Uttar Pradesh and detained over 150 people for questioning.

Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has ordered strict action in the matter. "We will soon [find] the main culprit behind this tragedy", Janmejay Khanduri, a senior Uttarakhand police official, said.

Saharanpur police said the liquor was first consumed in neighboring Uttarakhand where villagers from Saharanpur has gone to attend a funeral.

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

Around 10 policemen in Saharanpur were also suspended in the case, according to the excise department.

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