The death toll from India’s latest incident of mass alcohol poisoning following the consumption of toxic homemade liquor rose to 94 on Sunday, Mumbai police said.
(Family members of the victims mourning in Malwani area near Malad)
The 10 men died late Saturday, three days after drinking the cheap liquor in Malvani, in Mumbai’s Malad suburb. Around 40 others were being treated in hospitals, including 15 in critical condition.
The victims had consumed false liquor on Wednesday night. The incident occurred at Laxmi Nagar slum in Malwani area of suburban Malad.
Victims first started to fall ill on Wednesday morning after consuming the illegal booze and new patients were still being admitted to hospital on Saturday.
(An Indian family member holds a picture of a victim of toxic home-made liquor consumption, in Mumbai on June 19, 2015)
What are Police probing?
Dhananjay Kulkarni, deputy police commissioner in the western Indian city, said, “More than 40 are being treated in hospital and the death toll may reach 100”.
Police have arrested five people for distributing and selling the alcohol in a slum in the suburb of Malad West, in the north of the city. The main accused Mainka Bai, is still on the run. Mainka Bai alias Akka had been booked earlier for the same offence, but she managed to get bail.
Police have collected samples of spurious liquor and sent them for analysis. Eight police officers have also been suspended for “negligence” for allowing the sale to take place on their patch.
“Senior police inspector (attached to Malwani police station) along with seven other personnel, including three officers and four constables, have been suspended for connivance/negligence” said Mr. Kulkarni.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had ordered an inquiry into the incident on Thursday night and directed officials to submit the report within two days.
(People carrying the dead body of the victim due to poisoned liquor death)
Unlicensed liquor is widely consumed across the country where it is sometimes sold for less than a dollar for a 25cl bottle, with deaths frequently reported.
Deaths from illegally brewed alcohol are common in India because the poor cannot afford licensed liquor. Illicit liquor is often spiked with chemicals such as pesticides to increase its potency.
Drinking is dangerous to health!