Death toll from India’s Bihar spurious liquor incident rises to 37

The death toll in the suspected toxic liquor consumption in the eastern Indian state of Bihar Thursday has risen to 37, state-run broadcaster All India Radio (AIR) said.

However, local media reports put the death toll at 39.

The deaths have been reported from Saran district, about 60 km northwest of Patna, the capital city of Bihar.

“Maximum 23 deaths have been reported in Masrakh block, while the remaining 14 casualties have been from Isuapur, Amnaur and Marhaura areas of the district,” the broadcaster said.

According to AIR, the death toll is feared to rise further as 19 people, with six of them in serious condition, were undergoing treatment at various hospitals.

“Some people have also lost their eyesight,” officials said.

Meanwhile, Raids are being conducted to nab the culprits engaged in the spurious liquor trade, Rajesh Meena, district magistrate of Saran told media. “Thirty people have been taken into police custody for interrogation.”

Two police officials including a senior police officer have been suspended with immediate effect for dereliction of their duties, according to media reports.

On Thursday the liquor tragedy issue of Bihar was raised by the opposition lawmakers in the Indian parliament.

Bihar has banned the sale and consumption of alcohol since 2016. However, deaths due to the consumption of illicit liquor in the state are often reported.

Spurious alcohol deaths are often reported in India, where people often drink cheap country-made bootleg liquor. ■

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