All had consumed illegal alcohol in the Botad and Ahmedabad districts of Gujarat state, where the manufacture, sale and consumption of alcohol is illegal.
“About 10 people were arrested and around 475 liters of liquid was recovered,” said Ashish Bhatia, Gujarat Police Chief Executive.
Bhatia said one of the arrested men stole methanol from a factory in Gujarat and sold it to a cousin, who then resold it to others who diluted the chemical with water and had sold it as alcohol. Methanol can make people intoxicated, but even a very small amount can be toxic.
Deaths from the consumption of bootleg alcohol – colloquially known as “country booze” – are not uncommon in India.
But even in states where alcohol consumption is legal, bootleg liquor remains popular, especially in poorer rural areas.
“The byproducts of methanol metabolism cause acid buildup in the blood (metabolic acidosis), blindness, and death,” according to the CDC.
This week’s deaths are the latest tragedy in India’s long battle to control illicit trade.