A minimum of 34 individuals have lost their lives in India due to consuming illicitly brewed alcohol.

Over 100 individuals have been hospitalized after consuming alcohol laced with poisonous methanol.

In Tamil Nadu, southern India, at least 34 people have died and dozens more are undergoing treatment in hospitals after consuming illicitly brewed alcohol, authorities have reported.

A state government spokesperson confirmed on Thursday that the deaths were a result of consuming alcohol contaminated with methanol. State Chief Minister MK Stalin posted on social media platform X, stating, “Such crimes that ruin society will be suppressed with an iron fist.”

The incident occurred in the Kallakurichi district, where more than 100 people were admitted to hospitals with symptoms including vomiting, stomach ache, and diarrhea, prompting a police investigation.

MS Prasanth, a district official, stated that the number of critically ill patients was fluctuating, indicating that the death toll could increase.

The state government has suspended at least 10 officials, including the district’s collector and police chief, in response to the incident.

Police have arrested one person for selling illicit liquor and seized 200 liters (7,039 fl oz) of the methanol-laced alcoholic drink.

Ambulances, doctors, and specialists from nearby areas have been deployed to the district to manage the crisis.

In India, deaths from consuming illegally brewed alcohol, known as “hooch,” are common, particularly among the poor who cannot afford licensed brands from government-run shops.

Illicit liquor is often spiked with chemicals like methanol to increase its potency. Methanol ingestion can lead to blindness, liver damage, and death.

The bootlegging industry is highly profitable, as bootleggers pay no taxes and sell large quantities of their product to the poor at low prices.

In 2022, over 30 people died in Bihar state in eastern India, and at least 28 died in Gujarat state in the west, after consuming tainted liquor sold without authorization. In 2020, at least 120 people died in India’s northern Punjab state after consuming tainted liquor.

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