Methanol-laced bootleg liquor kills at least 39 in India

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Officials say the incident occurred in several villages in northern India with majority of the deaths reported from the village of Balpur in Uttarakhand.

Uttarakhand government has suspended 13 employees of Excise Department including the Excise Inspector of Roorkee region after 70 people lost their lives following the consumption of spurious liquor in the state and Uttar Pradesh.

Almost 100 people have died in Northern India after drinking tainted bootleg liquor. The death toll had stood at 28 on Friday. The villagers drank the tainted liquor Thursday.

Twenty-two people were admitted to hospitals in Saharanpur but were in stable condition, Pandey said.

Police arrested eight suspected bootleggers. They seized more than 2,000 pints of tainted liquor in raids. Regional authorities have also suspended several officials following the incident.

They vowed to take strict action against the accused, saying they would demand death penalty for those involved in the illicit trade once the case reaches court.

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Bootleg liquor operations flourish in rural India, where many people can't afford to buy alcohol from state-approved shops.

Almost 1,000 people die in the country each year after consuming illegally brewed alcohol, the National Crime Records Bureau data show.

The liquor is usually made with poor-quality ingredients and sometimes mixed with industrial alcohol and toxic substances.

"The viscera examination on more bodies is yet to be conducted to find out if these too were alcohol-related deaths", an official said.

In 2015, more than 100 people died in a Mumbai slum after drinking illegal moonshine.

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