At least 39 die in India after drinking toxic liquor

Indian police gather around containers of bootleg alcohol in 2017

Kumar said victims consumed liquor during two functions on Thursday night, adding that the post-mortem and initial forensic reports suggested that the brew was laced with methanol.

According to health officials almost two dozen people were still undergoing treatment inside hospital in these two districts and doctors fear the number of deaths could rise.

But the current death toll is believed to be the deadliest outbreak since a similar case killed 172 in West Bengal in 2011.

"Total casualties in Haridwar remain at 36 and right now around 18 people are undergoing treatment", he said.

Officials said in Kushinagar district of Uttar Pradesh eight deaths have been reported because of the consumption of hooch.

Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh Police teams are carrying out joint operations along the UP-Uttarakhand border.

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Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has ordered strict action in the matter. "We have detained many people and guilty would be dealt as per the law of land". Deaths as a result of consuming such alcohol are in the headlines regularly.

A break down of the tragedy reveals that 64 deaths were reported on Saturday from Saharanpur and Haridwar - adjoining districts of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand states respectively. They have seized hundreds of liters of so-called country-made liquor.

A show cause notice has also been issued to the higher officials of the Enforcement Wing of Excise Department for dereliction of duty.

The Saharanpur police, who are working on the assumption that the alcohol may have come from the same source, arrested 30 people, many of them bootleggers.

Police say the death toll in northern India from tainted bootleg liquor has risen to 79 people.

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