Nearly 90 Die After Drinking Bootleg Liquor in Northeast India


23 February 2019, 11:00


At least 84 people have died from drinking toxic bootleg liquor in the northeastern Indian state of Assam, and about 200 others have been hospitalized, a government minister said Saturday, VOA news reports.

The deaths come less than two weeks after more than 100 people died from drinking tainted alcohol in northern India.

“Every 10 minutes we are getting reports of casualties from different places. So far about 200 people are in hospital with many of them critical,” Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told Reuters via telephone.

“Doctors from nearby districts and other medical colleges have been rushed in to deal with the crisis,” said Sarma, after visiting patients at Jorhat, about 300 kilometers east of the state’s financial hub, Guwahati.

Deaths from illegally produced alcohol, known locally as hooch or country liquor, are common in India, where many cannot afford branded spirits.

The death tolls from the two recent incidents, however, are believed to be the deadliest since a similar case killed 172 in West Bengal in 2011.

Dilip Rajbnonshi, a doctor at the government hospital in Golaghat, about 40 kilometers southwest of Jorhat said the deaths were the result of “spurious country liquor.”

A number of women are also among the casualties, as many of those that drank the liquor were tea plantation workers who had just received their weekly wages, according to another government official.

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