- Officials had put the initial toll at 69, but by Saturday evening, the confirmed toll was 86, after 48 people died during the day.
- Police in India have arrested 25 suspects in connection with the tainted liquor.
- Deaths from alcohol in the country are a common occurrence.
The death toll from the tainted liquor in Punjab State, India has risen to 104 after 18 more people succumbed on Sunday. According to authorities, seventeen of the eighteen deaths were reported in Tarn Taran, an area that has been worst hit by the tragic incident.
Officials had put the initial toll at 69, but by Saturday evening, the confirmed toll was 86, after 48 people died during the day. The police chief, Dinkar Gupta, had earlier said that the first deaths were reported in two villages in Amritsar district on Wednesday last week, and another 48 in the subsequent days, in Batala and Tarn Taran districts.
Police in India have arrested 25 suspects in connection with the tainted liquor. According to the Police Chief, those arrested are said to have supplied the alcohol to eateries along the roads where villagers and travelers purchased them.
The arrests were made after a series of raids in the three affected districts and other areas. Supplies suspected to have been used in brewing the liquor were confiscated in the raids. Investigation into the deaths has been launched in the affected districts. The officials revealed that the families of the victims will be compensated.
A statement from the government said that seven government officials and six police officers had been suspended for allegedly failing to prevent sale of the alcohol. Among the suspended police officers are two deputy superintendents.
The chief minister, Amarinder Singh, said that stern action will be taken on all those found guilty, adding that no suspect will be able to get away with it. Amarinder expressed his disappointment at the officers who allowed the sale of the deadly liquor.
Due to the tragedy, a major crackdown on illegal manufacturing of alcohol was ordered in the state by the chief minister. However, following the tragic incident, the chief minister has been on the receiving end. The opposition has blamed the government for the incident, as they demanded that Amarinder step down. They also called for an independent probe into the liquor-caused deaths.
Deaths from alcohol in the country are a common occurrence. The poor, who cannot afford alcohol from the state-run shops, often opt for the illegally-brewed, since it is usually cheaper. The liquor is usually spiked with methanol to make it more effective. Methanol can be harmful to a person’s health. It can cause liver damage, blindness, and death.
In February 2019, 133 people died and more than 200 others were hospitalized in the country’s northeast Assam State after they consumed tainted liquor. The alcohol was laced with methyl. Most of the victims were tea plantation workers in Jorhat and Golaghat districts, in Assam, which is the country’s largest tea producing state.
Earlier in the same month, another 80 also died Uttah Pradesh State after consuming tainted liquor. Data reveals that thousands of Indians die from alcohol related complications.