India

India's Mumbai mourns dozens killed by toxic alcohol

An Indian woman breaks down as she sees the dead body of her family member, a victim of toxic home-made liquor consumption, in Mumbai on 20 June 2015. Image copyright AFP
Image caption Residents in one slum area of Mumbai were stricken by grief over the deaths

Residents in India's western city of Mumbai (Bombay) are in mourning for dozens of people killed by alcohol poisoning earlier this week.

With the death toll rising to 84, police spokesman Dhananjay Kulkarni said it was the worst incident of its kind in the city in more than a decade.

He says more than 30 people are still in hospital, some in serious condition.

Toxic alcohol deaths are a regular occurrence in India, where people often drink cheap bootleg liquor.

Arrests and suspensions

Residents of the Malad slum area fell ill after drinking cheap homemade alcohol on Wednesday. Police reportedly found eight sick people after a door-to-door search for more potential victims.

Five people have been arrested on charges of distributing and selling the alcohol, while eight police personnel were also reportedly suspended for suspected negligence following the incident.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Some of the dead were buried on Saturday

Tayra Khan, wife of one of the victims, told Mumbai's Mid-Day newspaper that her husband was admitted to hospital early on Thursday after "he complained of vomiting and pain in the stomach".

"He died three hours later, leaving me and my three little children alone."

At least 29 people were killed after consuming toxic alcohol in Uttar Pradesh state in January.

India has witnessed many other incidents of toxic alcohol deaths in the past:

  • Nearly 170 people died in 2011 in the eastern state of West Bengal
  • At least 30 people were killed in Uttar Pradesh in September 2009
  • More than 100 people were killed in Gujarat in July 2009

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