At least 11 people died and 66 others have been hospitalised after they consumed 'prasad' at a temple in Karnataka's Chamarajanagar on Friday. At least 12 people are in critical condition, said Chamarajanagar Superintendent of Police Dharmendra Kumar Meena.
Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy said there is an unfortunate food poisoning incident in Kamgere village. The principal secretary and the commissioner has instructed DHOs Mandya and Mysore to provide help to the Chamrajnagar health administration.
"The concerned programme officer is monitoring calls at 108 call centre and coordinating services of ambulances. The commissioner has instructed ADC Mysore to provide services of private ALP ambulances. Two senior officers are on the way from state headquarters to coordinate and supervise the activities," the chief minister said.
Kumaraswamy announced a relief of Rs five lakh to the next tothe kin of the deceased. He flew to Chamarajnagar by special plane from Belagavi. "In view of the shortage of ambulances in Chamarajanagardistrict, 32 ambulances have been rushed from Mysuru," the chief minister said. Two people from the temple management have been detained for questioning, said police sources.
According to Deccan Herald, the death toll may go up as many devotees are battling for life at various hospitals of Chamarajanagar and Mysuru districts and currently being put on ventilators.
According to the police, the incident happened at the Kicchukatti Maramma temple in Sulawadi village, where devotees had gathered for a ritual.
Police officials told Hindustan Times that four of the victims had been identified as Anil, 12, Gopiamma, 40, Shanta, 42, Pappanna, 42.
"One child died at the government hospital at Ramapura, two each at GH hospitals at Kamageri and Kolegal, three at the KP Hospital and one at KRH Hospital,"said Suresh Shastry, Joint Director, Directorate of Health and Family Welfare Services.
District Health Officer Prasad said it was suspected that poison might have got mixed with the prasad, resulting in the tragic incident.
"We have collected the food samples and sent it to a laboratory for investigation," he told reporters. According to the police, the foundation laying ceremony of Maramma temple was organised on Friday morning and prasad was distributed after the function. Most of those who attended the event followed the 'Om Shakti' tradition. After consuming the prasad, people started vomitting and began writhing with stomach pain, the police said.
(With PTI inputs)