Death Toll From India Toxic Alcohol Rises to 63

Death Toll From India Toxic Alcohol Rises to 63

The death toll from a batch of illegal alcohol that devastated a town in southern India last week has risen to 63, police said on Thursday (Jun 27).

Illegal alcohol laced with methanol killed 63 people in Tamil Nadu, India. Victims, mostly poor laborers, suffered blindness and death after consuming the deadly batch, highlighting ongoing issues with illicit alcohol in the country.

Hundreds of people die every year in India from cheap alcohol made in backstreet distilleries, but this case in Tamil Nadu state is one of the deadliest in recent years.

Others have been blinded after drinking the locally made "arrack" which was laced with methanol in the state's Kallakurichi district. Top district police chief Rajat Chaturvedi told AFP that 63 people had died in this case. More than 100 people were initially taken to hospital after the deadly batch was sold.

Political parties in Tamil Nadu have traded blame for the deaths, with some opposition lawmakers expelled from the state legislature after staging a protest on Wednesday demanding Chief Minister M K Stalin resign. Poor labourers in Kallakurichi district regularly bought the liquor in plastic bags costing 60 rupees (US$0.70), which they would drink before work.

This batch, however, was devastating. Some people went blind, while others collapsed in the street and died before they could make it to the hospital.

Tamil Nadu is not a dry state, but liquor traded on the black market comes at a lower price than alcohol sold legally.

Selling and consuming liquor is prohibited in several other parts of India, further driving the thriving black market for potent and sometimes lethal moonshine.

To increase its potency, the liquor is often spiked with methanol, which can cause blindness, liver damage and death. Last year, poisonous alcohol killed at least 27 people in one sitting in the eastern Indian state of Bihar, while in 2022, at least 42 people died in Gujarat.

Share This News On: