Death toll from Indian spurious liquor incident climbs to 38

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At least 10 more people have died in India’s western state of Gujarat after having drunk spurious liquor, taking the toll in the incident to 38, state officials said on Wednesday.

Police launched an investigation and made six arrests after 51 people affected in Monday’s incident in the state’s adjoining districts of Ahmedabad and Botad were admitted to hospital, in addition to the deaths.

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“Some of the hospitalized persons who were in critical condition passed away overnight,” police official Ashok Kumar Yadav told Reuters.

“They had consumed methyl alcohol which was almost undiluted, believing it to be liquor.”

Sales and consumption of alcohol are prohibited in the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, except by those holding a government permit.

Deaths from illegally produced alcohol, popularly called hooch or country liquor, are common in India, where few drinkers can afford branded spirits.

Methyl alcohol, also known as wood alcohol, is unsafe for human consumption and finds use in products from paint thinners to fuel, pesticides and anti-freeze, among others.

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