9 people have died after allegedly consuming sanitiser in Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh. Prakasam district Superintendent of Police Siddharth Kaushal said the people had been consuming sanitiser for the past few days, mixing it with water and soft drinks. “We are also investigating whether they laced the sanitiser with any other toxic substances,” the official said.

“Their family members say these people have been consuming sanitiser for the past ten days. We are sending the sanitiser stocks, being sold in the area, for examination,” he added. Kurichedu in Prakasam district has been under lockdown due to rise in coronavirus cases and hence, liquor shops have also been shut since the past few days.

Habitual drinkers were said to be consuming sanitisers that have alcohol content, apart from illicitly distilled arrack. The police said two beggars near a temple were the first to fall victim on Thursday night. While one of them was found dead at the spot, another died in the government hospital in Darsi town.

A third person was also taken to the Darsi hospital late on Thursday night after he fell unconscious but he was declared brought dead. Six others who fell ill after allegedly consuming sanitiser, died this morning. Others who fell ill after consuming sanitiser are undergoing treatment at their residences in the village, the police added.

Overall, 20 persons have said to be randomly consuming sanitizers in the same village and officials fear that the death toll night increase in the days to come. A pall of gloom descended at the village as many family members prepare to conduct funeral for the deceased persons.

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