Lucknow, India -

Police in northern India say a batch of toxic bootleg liquor has killed at least 32 people, mostly poor labourers, and sickened dozens more.

Police officer Arvibnd Sen says the victims bought pouches of tainted liquor on Thursday from a shop in Adampur village in Azamgarh district, in Uttar Pradesh state.

They started falling sick immediately after drinking the liquor and were taken to local hospitals. Sen said on Saturday that 32 people were dead by Friday night.

He says another 50 were treated in hospitals, and that eight state government officials and four police officers have been suspended as authorities investigate the deaths.

Deaths from drinking illegally brewed alcohol are common in India since the poor cannot afford licensed liquor. Illicit liquor is often spiked with chemicals to increase potency. - Sapa-AP