Tainted liquor kills 11, sickens 6 in northern India

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LUCKNOW, India (AP) — At least 11 people have died and six have been hospitalized in critical condition after drinking tainted alcohol in northern India, an official said Friday.

Police arrested four people involved in the sale of unlicensed liquor in a village near Aligarh, 300 kilometers (190 miles) southwest of Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh state, District Magistrate Chandra Bhushan Singh said.

The dead included two truck drivers who bought the liquor from a vender in the village and drank it at a roadside restaurant. The other victims were local villagers, Singh said.

They all bought and drank the tainted liquor on Thursday, he said.

The state government ordered an investigation and suspended one official for failing to stop the sale of illicit liquor in the area.

Deaths from illegally brewed alcohol are common in India, where the poor cannot afford licensed brands at government-run shops. Illicit liquor is cheap and often spiked with methanol to increase its potency.

In 2019, at least 133 people died after drinking tainted liquor in two separate incidents in India’s northeastern Assam state. The victims were mostly tea plantation workers.

Also in 2019, 80 people died from tainted liquor in northern Uttar Pradesh state.

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