The death toll caused by a batch of tainted liquor has climbed to 84 in India’s western city of Mumbai, in the worst incident of its kind in more than a decade, state officials said Saturday.
Another 31 victims died in various hospitals where they had been treated since they drank the toxic alcoholic beverage, reportedly made in a slum in the Mumbai suburb of Malad, on Thursday and fell sick.
At least a dozen more people reportedly remain in critical condition. More than 100 people have been admitted to hospital, mostly poor laborers who bought the liquor for almost half the official price.
Indian police have arrested five people so far for transporting and selling the tainted liquor to workers. Three of them have been charged, including causing death by means of poison.
The high death toll has angered the people in the area who claim that illegal liquor traders are working with or being ignored by police officers. Eight police officers were suspended following the incident over claims of negligence and connivance. The federal government has offered compensation to every victim’s family.
In 2004, 104 people also died after drinking toxic liquor in Mumbai, with deaths from tainted alcohol - often contaminated with chemicals including pesticides - being unfortunately common in India.