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Toxic Alcohol Kills 34, Over 100 Hospitalised In India

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At least 34 people have died, and more than 100 have been hospitalised in Tamil Nadu, India, due to a batch of toxic illegal alcohol, state officials reported on Thursday.

The lethal concoction, a locally brewed arrack drink, was tainted with poisonous methanol, according to Chief Minister M.K. Stalin, as reported by the Press Trust of India.

Stalin announced that arrests had been made in connection with the deaths and warned that such crimes “ruin society and will be suppressed with an iron fist,” according to a statement from his office.

Every year, hundreds of people in India die from consuming cheap alcohol produced in illicit distilleries. To increase its potency, this liquor is often adulterated with methanol, which can cause blindness, liver damage, and death.

In the Tamil Nadu incident, more than 100 people were hospitalised, according to M.S. Prasanth, a top government official in the state’s Kallakurichi district, as quoted by Indian media.

The State Governor R.N. Ravi expressed his deep shock over the deaths, noting on X (formerly Twitter) that “many more victims are in serious condition battling for their lives.”

While Tamil Nadu is not a dry state, black market liquor is sold at lower prices than legally available alcohol.

In several other parts of India, the sale and consumption of alcohol are prohibited, fueling a thriving black market for potent and sometimes deadly homemade spirits.

Last year, poisonous alcohol claimed the lives of at least 27 people in a single incident in Bihar, an eastern Indian state, while in 2022, at least 42 people died in Gujarat from similar circumstances.

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