Monday, 24th October, 2005
Free drinks distributed by politicians seeking votes in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh killed 19 people in two days because the alcohol was laced with insecticides and other potent chemicals. Government spokesman Narendra Sinha described the scenes in Gorakhpur, 155 miles south-east of Lucknow, as "a free for all" in which five people died with 20 more made seriously ill. "Villagers came in hordes to have free alcohol and food." said Mr Sinha. "Within hours, people started vomiting. Before they could be shifted to hospital five persons died." Two days earlier 14 people had similarly died in two separate villages after being served spurious alcohol.