Sunday, June 21, 2015

Death tragedies continue to mount from bootleg liquor in India

Indian authorities say the number of people killed after drinking home-brewed liquor thought to have been laced with a highly toxic chemical in the country’s most populous city, Mumbai, has soared to 94. It is possible for the number of the dead to rise to as much as a three-digit figure as more than 150 have consumed this alcohol. The death toll may rise.

Five people have so far been arrested in connection with distributing and selling the toxic liquor to poor workers. Eight police officers have also been suspended for “negligence” for allowing the sale to take place in their area.

An investigation is underway to determine whether high levels of methanol were present in the alcoholic drink.

There are reports that more than half of the victims still alive are in serious condition, and many of them have gone blind. Methanol is metabolized in the liver and the retinas, which explains why people who drink it are blinded.

Unlicensed liquor is widely consumed across India. The victims are mostly poor wage laborers, rickshaw pullers and hawkers, who can’t afford the alcohol at state-sanctioned shops.

The recent tragedy is the latest in a series of mass poisonings caused by tainted liquor in India. More than 31 people lost their lives near Lucknow in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh in January after consuming toxic drinks.


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