Bootleg liquor kills at least 17 on Indian tea plantation as dozens fall ill

GUWAHATI, India (Reuters) – At least 17 Indian tea plantation workers have died from drinking toxic bootleg liquor after receiving their weekly wages, with more than 40 critically ill in hospital, a doctor said on Friday.

The deaths come less than two weeks after more than 100 people died after drinking tainted alcohol in India.

Seven women were among the dead at the plantation in the northeastern state of Assam, 310 km from the state capital, Guwahati.

Dilip Rajbnonshi, a doctor at the government hospital in Golaghat, said the deaths were due to “spurious country liquor”.

Nearly 100 people drank the liquor on Thursday and people were still falling ill and being brought into hospital, Mrinal Saikia, a local lawmaker from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, told Reuters.

Deaths from illegally produced alcohol, known locally as hooch or country liquor, are common in India, where many cannot afford branded spirits.

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