Spurious liquor kills 13 in Assam

April 5th, 2009 - 5:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Guwahati, April 5 (IANS) At least 13 people died and 10 were taken ill after consuming spurious liquor Sunday in Assam, officials said.
A police spokesperson said about 25 people fell ill late Saturday after consuming locally brewed rice beer in three villages of Lakhimpur district, about 400 km east of Guwahati.

“The victims started pouring in at the civil hospital before dawn Sunday and most of them died soon after they were admitted,” Hemanta Dutta, a doctor at the Lakhimpur government hospital, said over telephone.

“Most of the victims who were brought to the hospital complained of severe headache, respiratory troubles, stomach pain, besides being very restless,” he added.

At least three of the 10 victims now in hospital are stated to be in a critical condition.

Police and civil officials said villagers consumed rice beer in three adjoining villages Saturday night.

“It could be possible that the stock of the rice beer could be from one source and was probably sold at different outlets. We have ordered a probe and would take stern action against anyone found guilty,” J. Narlekar, district magistrate of Lakhimpur, said.

Drinking rice beer at weekends is a traditional practice of the locals.

“There is always a rush of people in the weekends to go and drink in locally set up outlets, and especially in the first few days of the month when people get their salaries, the rush is even more,” S. Deka, a village elder accompanying some of the victims, said.

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