Toxic liquor kills dozens in India’s ‘dry state’ of Gujarat

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At least 28 die and 60 others become ill from consuming spurious liquor in the western state where sale and consumption of alcohol are banned.

At least 28 people have died and 60 others became ill from consuming toxic liquor in western India’s Gujarat state, officials have said.

Senior government official Mukesh Parmar on Tuesday said the deaths occurred in the Ahmedabad and Botad districts of the state.

The manufacture, consumption and sale of alcohol are banned in Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state. There are some government-authorized liquor shops where residents with special health permits and foreigners can buy alcohol.

Critics say the alcohol ban encourages peddling of illegal and often tainted liquor that is brewed without any regulation.

The victims in Gujarat were mostly villagers, police officials said.

Preliminary laboratory tests indicated that chemicals including methanol were present in the liquor mix, regional police official Ashok Kumar Yadav said. A large amount of suspected spurious alcohol has been seized in raids.

Ashish Gupta, Gujarat state’s police chief, said several suspected bootleggers who were involved in selling the spiked alcohol have been arrested.

“We have taken the incident very seriously and a detailed investigation has been launched,” Gujarat’s home secretary Raj Kumar said.

 

Agencies

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