Bootleg alcohol kills 143 in India
POISONED bootleg alcohol has killed 143 people and sickened dozens more who drank the illicit brew, police in India said yesterday.
The alcohol, which contained toxic methanol, was purchased at small shops in villages outside the eastern Indian city of Kolkata, officials said.
Police have arrested 10 suspected bootleggers and demolished 10 illicit liquor dens in the area.
Emergency medical teams rushed to a village outside Kolkata, and thousands of relatives, many of them wailing in grief, gathered outside the hospital.
Inside, dead bodies lay on the floor, while the ill waited to be treated.
Illegal liquor operations flourish in the slums of urban India and among the rural poor who can't afford the alcohol at state-sanctioned shops.
Many of the victims -- day labourers, street hawkers and rickshaw drivers -- had gathered along a road near a railway station after work to drink the illicit booze they bought for 10 rupees (€0.20) a half litre, less than a third the price of legal alcohol, district magistrate Naraya Swarup Nigam said.
They later began vomiting, suffering piercing headaches and frothing at the mouth, he added.
Angry villagers later ransacked booze shops around the village of Sangrampur, about 30km south of Kolkata.