Adulterated alcohol has been a problem in India for years. In the past few days alone, nearly 70 people have died from poisoning with the illegal brew. Others apparently even used disinfectants.
At least 67 people are in If apparently died after poisoning with illegally brewed alcohol. Police in Punjab state said Saturday that 21 people had died by Friday evening and another 46 in the 24 hours afterwards. The victims are villagers – mainly poor farmers and workers. At 47, the greatest number of deaths were in the Tarn Taran district. So far, 20 people have died in the cities of Amritsar and Batala. The exact cause of death is still being investigated, it said.
The police arrested a dozen people, including owners of local breweries and dealers suspected of being involved in the illegal trade. The Punjab government has announced that it will severely punish manufacturers.
It has been suspected that more deaths related to illegal alcohol have occurred in the past few days. However, this could not be officially confirmed because the bodies had been cremated without examination. The Prime Minister of Punjab, Amarinder Singh, announced a special investigation.
People drink disinfectants as a substitute for alcohol
As of Friday, the state government of Andhra Pradesh announced that nine people had died after using disinfectants. They drank the disinfectant as a substitute for alcohol, the sale of which has been severely restricted in connection with measures to limit the corona pandemic.
The business of illegally brewed alcohol is flourishing in India because it is significantly cheaper than the commercially produced alcohol. One liter of the black alcohol can be bought on the street for cents. However, it often contains methanol, a chemical that is used, for example, in antifreeze. According to government figures, around a thousand people die each year after consuming such alcohol in the country with a population of 1.3 billion.