Tainted liquor kills 22 people in northern India

At least 22 people have died after consuming toxic alcohol in India’s northern state of Uttar Pradesh, officials said on Saturday.

The first deaths were reported earlier on Friday and 28 more people were being treated in hospitals in villages in the Aligarh district, senior official Chandra Bhushan Singh said.

The victims, locals who belong to some three villages as well as truck-drivers, procured the liquor from a government-licensed store.

The death toll was likely to rise as several victims were in a critical condition.

Domestic media reported that more people were falling sick after consuming the lethal brew.

State authorities has  ordered a probe and have suspended five state officials while five people including the alleged kingpin of a spurious liquor racket were arrested.

The illegal liquor trade thrives in India because it is much cheaper than commercially produced alcohol.

Methanol, a chemical used in antifreeze and wood spirits, is often found in these self-made drinks.

Hundreds of people, most of them poor, die in India each year after consuming illegally distilled alcohol, government data shows.

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