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Tainted booze claims 43 in India

TAINTED home-brewed liquor that poor workers living in slums drank over the weekend has left at least 43 dead in western India, police said yesterday.

Another 23 were battling for their lives in three hospitals in Gujarat state's main city Ahmadabad, said S.S. Khandwawala, the director-general of state police.

Deaths from drinking illegally brewed cheap alcohol are common in India, where few people can afford licensed liquor. Illicit liquor is often spiked with pesticides or chemicals to increase its potency.

In the latest scourge, most deaths occurred in hospitals where the victims were brought after they drank the liquor on Sunday night, Khandwawala said. Some were found on the streets of Ahmadabad, said police commissioner S.K. Saikia.

Authorities asked a retired judge to probe the liquor deaths and suspended six police officers for negligence of duty, said state Home Minister Amit Shah.


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