All had illegally consumed illegal alcohol in the Botad and Ahmedabad districts of Gujarat state, where the manufacture, sale and consumption of alcohol is illegal.
“Around 10 people have been arrested and approximately 475 liters of the liquid have been recovered,” said Ashish Bhatia, director general of Gujarat Police.
Bhatia said one of the arrested men had stolen methanol from a factory in Gujarat and sold it to a cousin, who then sold it to others who diluted the chemical with water and sold it as liquor. Methanol can make people feel drunk, but even a very small amount can be toxic.
Deaths from drinking bootleg alcohol, known colloquially as “homemade liquor,” are not uncommon in India.
But even in states where drinking is legal, bootleg alcohol remains popular, especially in poorer rural areas.
“Byproducts of methanol metabolism cause a buildup of acid 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 the illicit trade.