Tainted liquor is blamed for killing at least 41 people in Mumbai, India. Authorities confirmed 21 others were hospitalized and are currently listed in critical condition. Police Chief Atulchandra Kulkarni said all 62 victims were residents of Malvani.
Although it is illegal, homemade and diluted liquor are popular among India’s poorest residents. As it is more affordable than government approved liquor, many are willing to risk being poisoned.
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As reported by ABC News, the bootlegged products often contain dangerous chemicals, which increase their potency. Unfortunately, the additives, which include methanol, can be fatal if ingested.
As reported by Youth Kiawaaz, people who consume tainted alcohol begin experiencing symptoms, which include, nausea, and vomiting, within 12 hours. Once sickness occurs, the symptoms quickly progress to include temporary blindness and respiratory distress.
Left untreated, the poisoning ultimately leads to death. Those who survive the poisoning often “suffer from permanent neurological disorders,” which mimic Parkinson’s disease.
In 2011, more than 150 residents of West Bengal, India, were killed by tainted alcohol within one week.
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Earlier this year, 200 people were sickened and 23 died after ingesting tainted liquor in Uttar Pradesh, India.
Authorities confirmed a suspect was arrested and charged with producing and distributing illegal liquor. However, as reported by the New York Times, several government officials were also blamed for contributing to the crisis.
Uttar Pradesh’s Chief Minister, Akhilesh Yadav, said the officials were suspended from their positions and charged with failing to enforce federal and state alcohol laws.
At least three suspects were detained and questioned for distributing the tainted liquor in Mumbai. Kulkarni said it is unclear who actually produced the deadly drinks. However, the investigation into the incident is ongoing.
The first reported death occurred on Thursday, and an estimated 37 died before Friday afternoon. Officials believe the current death count has reached 41. However, as several others are critically ill, the number is expected to rise.
Authorities said a majority of those sickened by the tainted alcohol are being treated at Mumbai’s King Edward Memorial Hospital. Dr. Pravin Bangar confirmed at least two victims are currently receiving dialysis.
Authorities in Mumbai said tainted liquor is a serious issue with dire consequences. However, they are working toward enforcing the existing laws to curb the problem.
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