Toxic Alcohol Kills 36 People in Eastern India

Posted December 14th, 2011 at 1:30 pm (UTC-5)
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Indian authorities say at least 36 people have died after drinking toxic home-made liquor in a village in the country's east.

Officials say residents of Sangrampur in West Bengal state bought the cheap alcohol late Tuesday and became ill within hours, complaining of stomach aches and vomiting. In addition to the fatalities, at least 135 people were sickened Wednesday. A reporter in Kolkata tells VOA authorities rushed 70 of the seriously ill victims to hospitals in the state capital.

Villagers angered by the deaths ransacked a den suspected of selling the tainted liquor. Authorities say four people have been arrested in the case.

Illicit brewers in India often spike their alcohol with chemicals to increase its potency and sell the cheap beverage to slum-dwellers and farmers. Alcohol poisoning kills hundreds of people in the country every year.

In 2009, a toxic liquor incident killed at least 112 people in western India.