At least 76 die in cases tied to il­le­gal al­co­hol

The Washington Post - - THE WORLD - — Joanna Slater

At least 76 peo­ple have died in north­ern In­dia af­ter drink­ing boot­leg liquor, the lat­est in a string of tragedies linked to il­le­gal al­co­hol that proved to be poi­sonous.

The deaths were in two neigh­bor­ing states, Ut­tar Pradesh and Ut­tarak­hand.

Tainted liquor has killed at least 36 peo­ple since Thurs­day in the Sa­ha­ran­pur district of Ut­tar Pradesh, said Alok Ku­mar Pandey, the lo­cal ad­min­is­tra­tor. The district is about 130 miles from New Delhi. Au­top­sies are not yet com­plete, Pandey said, and the death toll will prob­a­bly rise.

In a neigh­bor­ing district in Ut­tarak­hand, 32 peo­ple died af­ter drink­ing il­le­gal liquor served dur­ing a mourn­ing rit­ual.

Au­thor­i­ties say they think the two in­ci­dents are linked, with mourn­ers prob­a­bly hav­ing trav­eled from Ut­tar Pradesh to Ut­tarak­hand, bring­ing back liquor to sell.

Sep­a­rately, eight peo­ple died in a vil­lage in the district of Kushi­na­gar, in east­ern Ut­tar Pradesh, where res­i­dents drank tainted liquor at a fair, of­fi­cials said.

Such deaths are com­mon in In­dia, where il­le­gally brewed al­co­hol is of­ten con­sumed for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons, in­clud­ing poverty and ge­o­graphic iso­la­tion.

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