New Delhi - The number of people who have died after drinking illegally brewed alcohol in northern India rose to 72 on Saturday as authorities launched a crackdown and suspended police and officials.
At least 64 people had died in Saharanpur and Haridwar, adjoining districts of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand states, after drinking the poisonous liquor. The death toll had stood at 28 on Friday.
Eight more deaths were reported in another tragedy blamed on tainted liquor in Kushinagar district, also in Uttar Pradesh, regional official BD Gupta said.
In Saharanpur district, the death toll climbed from 16 to 36, top administrative official Alok Pandey told dpa by phone on Saturday.
The villagers had consumed the tainted liquor suspected of being laced with methanol on Thursday.