BANGALORE, India – A shopkeeper in southern India sold batches of contaminated liquor, killing at least 20 people, most of them poor villagers, police said Tuesday.
The death toll is likely to rise, as more than 30 people have been hospitalized since Monday night in the Neelamangala region, 20 miles west of Bangalore (search), the capital of Karnataka (search) state, said police inspector Ramesh Kumar.
Ten people died Monday night and another 10 died Tuesday, he said.
Dozens of people from three villages in the region consumed the liquor, which was sold in small plastic bags. The bag, which had fake labels, looked like cheap name-brand liquor, Kumar said.
"We are looking for a local gang that sold the liquor. No arrests have been made so far," Kumar said.
Such incidents are common in rural India, where cheap, homemade brew is sometimes mixed with methyl alcohol (search), which can cause blindness or death. The victims are almost always poor people who cannot afford more expensive alcohol.
Samples of the liquor have been sent to a lab for tests, Kumar said.