At least 42 people have died in western India and nearly 100 others have been hospitalized since Monday from smuggled alcohol, police said Thursday.
Senior police officials from Botad and Ahmedabad districts in Gujurat state said at least 42 people had died after drinking adulterated alcohol.
“31 people died after consuming adulterated alcohol in Botad. About 50 others have been admitted to hospital in neighboring Bhavnagar district,” Bhavnagar district police inspector general Ashok Yadav told AFP.
And the district of Ahmedabad recorded 11 deaths according to the inspector general of this district, V. Chandrasekar.
Gujarat, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is from, is a state where the consumption and sale of alcohol is prohibited by law.
According to Mr. Yadav, residents of half a dozen villages drank the alcohol supplied by a local trafficker on Sunday.
"Investigation revealed that the victims had consumed industrial methanol, which caused their deaths," state interior minister Harsh Sanghavi said in a statement.
According to Mr. Sanghavi, 97 people have been admitted to the hospital for treatment, two of whom are in critical condition.
State police have cracked down on clandestine liquor distilleries across Gujarat and arrested several people, state police chief Ashish Bhatia said on Wednesday.
Hundreds of people die each year in India, victims of alcohol produced in clandestine distilleries.
Of the roughly five billion liters of alcohol consumed each year in the country, about 40% is produced clandestinely, according to the International Spirits and Wine Association of India.
Alcohol is often altered with methanol to increase its potency. If ingested, methanol can cause blindness, liver damage and death.
Last year, 98 people died in the northern state of Punjab after drinking bootleg alcohol.
And in 2019, some 150 people died of alcohol intoxication in the northeast state of Assam, most of whom worked on tea plantations.