Toxic liquor kills at least 41 in Mum­bai

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Forty-one peo­ple have died in Mum­bai and 12 oth­ers are fight­ing for their lives af­ter drink­ing toxic home-made liquor, po­lice said Fri­day, in the latest in­ci­dent of al­co­hol poi­son­ing in In­dia.

Dhanan­jay Kulka­rni, Mum­bai po­lice deputy com­mis­sioner, said the vic­tims had started to fall ill on Wed­nes­day morn­ing af­ter con­sum­ing the il­licit moon­shine.

“Forty-one peo­ple have died and 24 are re­ceiv­ing treat­ment in hos­pi­tal af­ter they con­sumed spu­ri­ous liquor,” the com­mis­sioner told AFP, rais­ing an ear­lier death toll from 33.

“More than 12 of those are in a crit­i­cal con­di­tion so the death toll may rise. Crime branch is in­ves­ti­gat­ing and three sus­pects are be­ing held in cus­tody,” Kulka­rni added.

The three men, aged 30, 47, and 50, were ar­rested on Thurs­day night, he said.

The com­mis­sioner also said eight po­lice of­fi­cers have been sus­pended for a “neg­li­gent ap­proach while dis­charg­ing their duty” for fail­ing to stop pro­duc­tion and sale of the liquor on their beat.

Boot­leg liquor is widely con­sumed across In­dia where it is some­times sold for less than a dol­lar for a 25cl bot­tle, with deaths fre­quently re­ported.

It is rare how­ever for such in­ci­dents to oc­cur in a ma­jor city like Mum­bai, with most cases tak­ing place in poor, ru­ral vil­lages.

Kulka­rni said it was the worst case of its kind to be recorded in the western In­dian city in more than a decade.

“Such a tragedy hap­pened in 2004 when more than 100 deaths took place,” he ex­plained, re­fer- ring to the “Vikhroli hooch tragedy,” named by the lo­cal press af­ter the sub­urb where the vic­tims lived.

The vic­tims of the latest in­ci­dent were res­i­dents of a slum in the sub­urb of Malad West, in the north of the city.

Deven­dra Fad­navis, chief min­is­ter of Ma­ha­rash­tra state of which Mum­bai is the cap­i­tal, or­dered an im­me­di­ate in­quiry.

In Jan­uary, more than 31 peo­ple died near Lucknow in the north­ern state of Ut­tar Pradesh af­ter drink­ing a lethal batch of home-brew.

Po­lice ar­rested 12 peo­ple in Oc­to­ber 2013 af­ter more than three dozen vil­lagers died from toxic liquor also in Ut­tar Pradesh.

In 2011 nearly 170 peo­ple died in the eastern state of West Ben­gal af­ter drink­ing moon­shine.

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