Thursday, December 15, 2011

Kolkata, West Bengal, India -- At least 102 killed by drinking contaminated alcohol

KOLKATA, India (Thursday, Dec. 15) - According to media reports; more than 100 killed by consuming toxic alcohol, being sold illegally, in eastern state of West Bengal, India. The victims were mostly poor wage labourers, rickshaw pullers and hawkers, from Sangrampur village, located 30 kilometers south of state capital Kolkata.

Women cry for a relative killed by illegal alcohol in Diamond Harbour, West Bengal, India. Photograph: Piyal Adhikary/EPA
According to further details; a contaminated batch of bootleg liquor not only killed 102 people but forced dozens more to be shifted to the hospital in villages outside the eastern Indian city of Kolkata, officials said.

The people affected started getting sick late Tuesday after drinking the alcohol that was prepared using the toxic methanol around Sangrampur village area, according to district magistrate Narayan Swarup Nigam.

Reacting to the reports from residents and relatives of the victims; police detained four alleged culprits in connection with making and distributing the methanol-spiked alcohol, said police official Surajit Kar Purkayastha. Highly toxic methanol is normally used as a fuel, solvent and anti-freeze.

This kind of contamination and poisoning is common in India where local police officials allegedly take bribes regularly to let off the culprits who used to engage in the production and sale of illicit alcohol, also known as ‘desi daroo’. Most cases go unreported.

In 2009, 130 people were killed by illegally produced alcohol in a similar incident in the western state of Gujarat.

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