A tainted batch of bootleg liquor killed 102 people and sent dozens more to the hospital in eastern India. Day workers and other poor people began to get ill soon after drinking the tainted alcohol that was laced with toxic methanol. Police arrested four people connected to making and distributing the methanol-spiked alcohol. Methanol is a highly toxic ingredient that is often used as a fuel, solvent and anti-freeze.
“I want to take strong action against those manufacturing and selling illegal liquor,” said Mamata Banerjee, the chief minister of the state of West Bengal. “But this is a social problem also, and this has to be death with socially also along with action.”
Despite long-standing religious and cultural opposition to drinking alcohol, about 5 percent of Indians are alcoholics. Much of the alcohol comes into the country illegally, and more Indians consume bootleg liquor.