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At least 93 die from tainted liquor in India’s northeast

23 February 2019, 7:56:00

At least 93 people have died in northeastern India after drinking toxic bootleg liquor, according to local authorities.

The victims were mostly tea plantation workers in the Golaghat and Jorhat districts of Assam state, which lie hundreds of kilometres from the state's financial capital, Guwahati, local police officer Julie Sonowal told the Associated Press news agency on Friday.

According to Sonowal, another 93 people have fallen ill after consuming the liquor, which was laced with methyl alcohol, a chemical that attacks the central nervous system.

The owner of a brewing unit has been arrested, along with four others, the AP reported.

Deaths from illegally brewed alcohol, known locally as hooch or country liquor, are common in India as licensed brands are unaffordable for many of the country's lowest-paid workers.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau, about 1,000 people die in India every year because of these substances.

Friday's deaths came less than two weeks after more than 100 people died after drinking tainted alcohol in the northern Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

In some of the worst cases in India, 200 people died in 1992 in Odisha state, 180 in West Bengal in 2011, and 100 in the city of Mumbai in 2015.


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