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Bootleg Alcohol Eastern India: Death toll rises to 126

An illegal batch of alcohol that had been laced with toxic methanol has killed at least 126 people in the east Indian state of West Bengal - but the number of dead is expected to rise.

More than 100 people are being treated in hospital for cardiac and respiratory problems and some will not survive.

The men had all visited illegal drinking houses in villages about 30km south of the city of Kolkata.

Anwar Hassan Mullah, who took six people to hospital, told the NDTV News Channel: "It is a very sad thing that has happened. Why have the police not stopped this? I cannot understand? What connection do they have?"

Villagers have alleged the drinking dens were run by the police. The authorities have launched an investigation.

West Bengal's chief minister Mamata Banerjee said: "I want to take strong action against those manufacturing and selling illegal liquor... but this is a social problem also, and this has to be dealt with socially."

Four people were arrested and a number of drinking dens have been destroyed. Read More

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