New Delhi – The death toll among people who drank illegally-brewed toxic liquor in India has risen to 103, officials said Monday, in one of the worst liquor poisoning cases in the country in recent years.
The deaths were reported from Saharanpur and Haridwar, adjoining districts of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand states, after the villagers consumed the methanol-laced brew on Thursday.
The death toll had stood at 99 on Saturday. Four more people died in Haridwar, bringing the toll there to 36, district police chief Janmejay Khanduri told dpa.
Eighteen people were hospitalised and undergoing treatment.
At least 59 people had died in the neighbouring Saharanpur where over two dozen people were being treated.
Eight more deaths were reported in another tragedy blamed on tainted liquor in Kushinagar, also in Uttar Pradesh.
Domestic media reported that more than 3 000 people involved in the illegal trade were arrested in Uttar Pradesh over the past three days. Some 79 000 litres of tainted liquor were also seized in raids.
Deaths from illicit liquor, which is often spiked with chemicals such as pesticides to increase potency, are regularly reported in India.
The current tragedy is considered the deadliest liquor poisoning in India since 2015 when toxic liquor claimed more than 100 lives in the financial hub of Mumbai.