At Least 34 Die, Dozens Hospitalized in Southern India After Drinking Illegally Brewed Liquor

At least 34 people have died and dozens more have been hospitalized after consuming illegally brewed liquor in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, local media reported on Thursday.

Tamil Nadu’s chief minister, M K Stalin, confirmed that the 34 fatalities were caused by liquor tainted with methanol, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.

The incident took place in the state’s Kallakurichi district, where over 100 individuals are currently receiving medical treatment in various hospitals. M S Prasanth, the top district official, stated that the number of critically ill patients is fluctuating, suggesting that the death toll could rise.

Ambulances, doctors, and medical specialists from surrounding areas have been deployed to the district.

Earlier reports indicated that several individuals were admitted to hospitals on Wednesday due to vomiting and stomach pain, prompting a police investigation.

Later that day, Chief Minister Stalin posted on social media that those involved in the crime had been apprehended, and action had also been taken against officials who failed to prevent it. “Such crimes that ruin the society will be suppressed with an iron fist,” he stated.

Deaths from illegally brewed alcohol are a common occurrence in India, where impoverished communities often cannot afford licensed brands sold in government-run shops. This illicit liquor, frequently adulterated with chemicals like pesticides to enhance its potency, has evolved into a highly profitable industry. Bootleggers evade taxes and sell vast quantities of their product to low-income populations at discounted prices.

In 2022, over 30 people perished in eastern India’s Bihar state after allegedly consuming contaminated liquor sold without authorization. Earlier that same year, at least 28 individuals died from drinking altered liquor in Gujarat state. And in 2020, at least 120 people succumbed to the effects of tainted liquor in India‚Äôs northern Punjab state.