9 die, 75 others ill after consuming temple prasad in Karnataka

Bengaluru: At least nine people, including a girl and a woman died, while 75 others took ill Friday after consuming ‘prasad‘ at a temple at Sulavadi village in Chamarajnagar district, health department officials said.

The condition of eight people being treated at a hospital in Mysuru was critical, they said. “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.

Expressing grief over the incident, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy announced a relief of Rs 5 lakh to the kin of the deceased. Kumaraswamy flew to Chamarajnagar by special plane from Belagavi.

He said he has directed the authorities to make all arrangements for those affected and that government would bear the medical expenses. “In view of the shortage of ambulances in Chamarajanagar district, 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. 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 police, the foundation laying ceremony of Maramma temple was organised 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, police said. Commotion prevailed as people hurried to nearby hospitals for treatment.

Police and district authorities rushed to the spot to provide medical aid. The affected people said they got the smell of kerosene oil in the prasad, but ignored it.