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Toxic alcohol kills 99 people in India

Toxic alcohol ‘laced with methanol’ has killed at least 99 people in India, with many more admitted to hospital having consumed bootleg liquor.

At least 99 people have already died from consuming illegal alcohol laced with methanol.

In one district of Uttar Pradesh, 59 people died after consuming toxic alcohol, as reported by The Guardian. In a neighbouring district, a senior police officer said nine had died, with another 31 confirmed dead in Uttarakhand state. 

So far, 66 suspected bootleggers have been arrested and samples of the liquor sent to a laboratory for testing.

“We are trying to find out the main source of this illicit liquor. We will soon [find] the main culprit behind this tragedy,” Janmejay Khanduri, a senior Uttarakhand police official, said.

Police suspect the moonshine had been laced with methanol, with many victims complaining of dizziness.

Of the estimated 5 billion litres of alcohol consumed every year in India, about 40% is illegally produced, according to the International Spirits and Wine Association of India, with hundreds dying from consuming cheap alcohol. 

Particularly in rural India, bootleggers often add methanol, a highly toxic form of alcohol sometimes used as antifreeze, to their product to increase its strength. Methanol can cause blindness, liver damage and death.

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

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