Over 100 people die in India after drinking spurious alcohol

Indian police gather around containers of bootleg alcohol in 2017

"However, in the remaining cases unless the viscera report is not available, it is hard for doctors to ascertain clearly that the deaths were caused due to alcohol", A K Pandey, district magistrate Saharanpur said Saturday.

The district magistrate of Saharanpur district in Uttar Pradesh, Alok Kumar Pandey, said last week that doctors had concluded many victims died "due to liver infection and problems in their respiratory system".

"The viscera examination on more bodies is yet to be conducted to find out if these too were alcohol-related deaths", an official said.

The death toll had stood at 72 on Saturday.

Eighteen people were hospitalised and undergoing treatment.

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Police have arrested four people in connection with the deaths, Haridwar senior superintendent of police Janmaijai Prabhakar told Reuters. Some 79 000 litres of tainted liquor were also seized in raids. Regional authorities have also suspended several officials following the incident.

Deaths from illicit liquor, which is often spiked with chemicals such as pesticides to increase potency, are regularly reported in India.

Because lower-income Indians are unable to afford legal alcohol in rural areas, they purchase alcohol that is brewed improperly and turns poisonous, the Hindustan Times reported.

Indian officials and local media say there are still several people falling sick after drinking cheap spurious liquor that already killed dozens of people, most of whom from the village of Balpur in Uttarakhand.

In a neighboring district in Uttarakhand, 32 people died after consuming illegal liquor served to them as part of mourning ritual.

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