Tainted Liquor Kills at Least 34, and Number Could Rise

Illegally brewed liquor is a problem in India
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 20, 2024 2:00 AM CDT
Tainted Liquor Kills at Least 34, and Number Could Rise
Stock photo.   (Getty Images / Y.Gurevich)

At least 34 people have died and dozens have been hospitalized after drinking illegally brewed liquor in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, officials told local media Thursday. The state's chief minister MK Stalin said the 34 died after consuming liquor that was tainted with methanol, according to the Press Trust of India news agency. The incident occurred in the state's Kallakurichi district, where more than 100 people are being treated in various hospitals, top district official MS Prasanth said. He added that the number of those who are in critical condition keeps changing, suggesting that the death toll could rise, the AP reports. Ambulances, doctors, and specialists from nearby areas have been deployed to the district.

Government officials earlier said several people who were vomiting and had stomach pain were admitted to hospitals Wednesday, triggering a police investigation. Later that day, Stalin, the chief minister, said in a post on social media platform X that those involved in the crime have been arrested, and action has also been taken against officials who failed to prevent it. "Such crimes that ruin the society will be suppressed with an iron fist," he added. Deaths from illegally brewed alcohol are common in India, where the poor cannot afford licensed brands from government-run shops. The illicit liquor is often spiked with chemicals such as pesticides to increase potency. (One such tragedy killed at least 150.)

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