Over 60 killed by bootleg alcohol in India’s Punjab

Punjab Police (DIG) Hardial Singh Mann (L) and other police officers speak to the media at Tarn Taran, some 25 km from Amritsar on August 1, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 01 August 2020

Over 60 killed by bootleg alcohol in India’s Punjab

  • The case came after authorities in Andhra Pradesh said that nine people had died after drinking sanitiser
  • The victims drank the sanitiser as a substitute for alcohol

NEW DELHI: More than 60 people have died after drinking toxic bootleg alcohol in the Indian state of Punjab, officials and reports said.
The victims died in three districts of the northern state and police have arrested 10 people, the officials said.
Hundreds of people die every year in India from poisoned alcohol made in backstreet distilleries which sells for as little as 10 rupees (13 US cents) a liter.
An official told AFP that 11 people had died in Gurdaspur district. Press Trust of India news agency and other media said Saturday the illicit booze had claimed 53 lives in neighboring Amritsar and Tarn Taran districts.
Other deaths were suspected in recent days but could not be proved as the bodies had been cremated without a post-mortem examination.
Punjab state chief minister Amarinder Singh said Friday he had ordered a special inquiry into the deaths and “anyone found guilty will not be spared.”
The Indian Express newspaper said one of the suspects had died in Amritsar district after consuming the illegal liquor and that his wife had been arrested for selling the alcohol.
The case came after authorities in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh said on Friday that nine people had died after drinking alcohol-based sanitiser.
The victims drank the sanitiser as a substitute for alcohol which has been restricted during a coronavirus lockdown in India.


UK PM says schools must open in September

Updated 47 min 49 sec ago

UK PM says schools must open in September

  • A study has warned that Britain risks a second wave of COVID-19 this winter if schools open without an improved test-and-trace system
  • The government wants all pupils to return to school by early September

LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said reopening schools in September was a social, economic and moral imperative and insisted they would be able to operate safely despite the ongoing threat from the pandemic.
His comments follow a study earlier this month which warned that Britain risks a second wave of COVID-19 this winter twice as large as the initial outbreak if schools open without an improved test-and-trace system.
Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Johnson said restarting schools was a national priority. Schools would be the last places to close in future local lockdowns, he was quoted by another newspaper as telling a meeting on Thursday.
Schools in England closed in March during a national lockdown, except for the children of key workers, and reopened in June for a small number of pupils.
The government wants all pupils to return to school by early September in what Johnson has called a “national priority.”
“Keeping our schools closed a moment longer than absolutely necessary is socially intolerable, economically unsustainable and morally indefensible,” Johnson wrote.
The economic costs for parents who cannot work if schools are shut are spiralling, and the country faces big problems if children miss out on education, the prime minister warned.
“This pandemic isn’t over, and the last thing any of us can afford to do is become complacent. But now that we know enough to reopen schools to all pupils safely, we have a moral duty to do so,” he wrote.
The Sunday Times newspaper reported that he has ordered a public relations campaign to ensure schools open on time and told the meeting last week that they should be the last places to close behind restaurants, pubs and shops.