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Last Updated: Sunday, 2 October 2005, 08:04 GMT 09:04 UK
Tainted Indian alcohol kills 25
By Subir Bhaumik
BBC News, Calcutta

Alcohol victim in Assam. Photo: Subhamoy Bhattacharjee
Victims are brought to hospital. Photo: Subhamoy Bhattacharjee
Officials in India's north-eastern Assam state say that the number of deaths from alcohol poisoning has risen to 25.

Nearly 50 others are fighting for their life in hospital after drinking tainted alcohol in the town of Tezpur, 180km (110 miles) north of capital, Guwahati.

The poisoning began on Friday when three people died after consuming alcohol bought from illegal factories.

Three officials have been suspended for alleged dereliction of duty.

An angry mob on Saturday set ablaze a customs office in Tezpur.

The ill are being treated in hospitals in Sonitpur and Guwahati.

Crackdown

The deputy commissioner of Sonitpur, LR Changsang, said three people had died late on Friday after consuming the liquor, which they had purchased from illicit factories at Chandmari in Tezpur.

Many others were soon being admitted to hospitals with complaints of dizziness, stomach ache and severe vomiting.

More fatalities were then registered at the hospital in Tezpur and the Guwahati Medical College Hospital on Saturday.

Doctors say the death toll might be higher as people may have died without reaching hospital.

Superintendent of police AJ Baruah said an investigation was under way.

Police said seven men were being questioned amid a crackdown on illicit liquor manufacturers and traders.

The district authorities have suspended a superintendent and an inspector of the local excise department. A police officer has also been suspended.




SEE ALSO:
More die in India alcohol tragedy
01 Dec 01 |  South Asia
Illegal alcohol deaths
18 Feb 00 |  South Asia
Manipur no longer to be 'dry'
16 Jul 03 |  South Asia
Bangladesh 'beer' tests alcohol ban
19 Feb 04 |  South Asia


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