Bootleg liquor kills 71 in India

NEW DELHI (AFP) - The death toll from a case of mass poisoning involving home-brewed alcohol in the western Indian state of Gujarat jumped to 71 on Thursday, police said. The number of deaths rose from 25 on Wednesday. A police officer in the states largest city Ahmedabad told AFP that another five people were seriously ill in hospital after consuming the contaminated liquor at a party on Sunday. The Press Trust of India reported six police officers in the city had been suspended and transferred for failing to crack down on illegal distilleries. The states home minister on Wednesday announced an inquiry into the easy availability of bootleg liquor in the region. Selling and consuming alcohol is a criminal offence in Gujarat, Indias only dry state and the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi. Deaths from cheap alcohol are common in India and last year nearly 170 people died after drinking the same batch of toxic liquor in southern India.

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