39 die, dozens sick in India from drinking spurious liquor:The Asahi Shimbun

Indian police gather around containers of bootleg alcohol in 2017

Modal Trigger Indian police gather around containers of bootleg alcohol in 2017. AFP Getty Images

Around 175 people were arrested and 297 cases were registered over more than 90 deaths due to consumption of illicit liquor in several villages of India's Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand states.

Thirty-nine people have died in northern India and more than two dozen others have fallen sick after drinking bootleg liquor containing toxic methanol.

According to health officials almost two dozen people were still undergoing treatment inside hospital in these two districts and doctors fear the number of deaths could rise.

The villagers had consumed the tainted liquor suspected of being laced with methanol on Thursday. The death toll had stood at 28 on Friday.

But the current death toll is believed to be the deadliest outbreak since a similar case killed 172 in West Bengal in 2011. About 24 people are admitted to the hospital. 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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Uttar Pradesh government spokesman Awanish Awasthi said more than 3,000 people have been arrested in a drive against tainted liquor since February 9.

Authorities in the region also suspended over 30 officials, including 10 policemen, on charges of negligence or collusion in the illicit trade. Illicit liquor is cheap and often spiked with chemicals such as pesticides to increase potency.

Almost 1,000 people die in the country each year after consuming illegally brewed alcohol, the National Crime Records Bureau data show.

In 2015, more than 100 people died in a Mumbai slum after drinking illegal moonshine.

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