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Tainted Homemade Liquor Kills at Least 100 in India

March 07, 1989|From Associated Press

BARODA, India — Authorities said Monday that more than 100 people have died and 151 were critically ill after hundreds of laborers drank a tainted homemade liquor in the only Indian state where the sale of alcohol is banned.

Doctors said hospitals were unable to cope with the rush of victims and that there was little chance the most seriously injured of the 251 hospitalized victims would survive. At least 25 people were blinded by the tainted brew.

The local government announced the arrest of three people who supplied the liquor. Several police officers were suspended for failing to avert the tragedy, the government said.

Baroda is a major industrial center in Gujarat, the only Indian state where it is illegal to sell alcohol.

The bootleg liquor is normally a mixture of ethyl alcohol, alum and spirits. But this time, poisonous methyl alcohol was mixed into the brew known as \o7 lattha, \f7 which is sold in plastic sacks for about 10 cents. Methyl alcohol paralyzes the central nervous system.

About 300 people have died during the past decade in seven illicit liquor cases in Gujarat, reports said. Two of the previous cases occurred in Baroda.

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