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Indian black market liquor kills 22 people

Authorities have revealed that 22 people have died and several others have been hospitalised after drinking unregulated spirits in India.

The deaths, which occurred in two villages in the eastern state of Bihar, were reported to have been provoked by alcohol bans in force in several Indian states, driving people to buy from a thriving black market for cheap alcohol made in backstreet distilleries.

In the latest incident, the victims in Saran district began vomiting before their condition deteriorated before three of them died on the way to hospital and others died while being treated.

According to local media reports, the death toll is still rising and stands at around 31, however hospital chief Sagar Dulal Sinha said that just 22 post-mortem examinations have been conducted so far.

Senior police officer Santosh Kumar said authorities are now planning to crack down on illicit alcohol in the area and told AFP: “We have arrested over a dozen liquor traders and detained some others.”

According to the International Spirits and Wine Association of India, out of an estimated five billion litres of alcohol consumed in India around 40% is illegally produced.

Officials state that illicit liquor in India is frequently spiked with methanol to increase its potency and, if ingested, it’s methanol content can cause blindness, liver damage and in some cases death.

Over the summer of 2022, 42 people died in the western state of Gujarat after drinking bootleg booze, while on 2021 around 100 people died in the northern state of Punjab in what was described as a similar incident.

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