The death toll in the food poisoning incident at a temple in Karnataka’s Chamrajanagar district rose to 13 after two more people died on Sunday. State Health Department Joint Director Suresh Shastry said two more deaths were reported at Apollo Hospital on Sunday.
The deceased have been identified as Mageshwari(36) and Salamma (35), the official said. “Four patients were on a ventilator at another hospital, where two of them were critical and one might need assisted ventilation,” PTI quoted the official as saying.
The tragedy occurred on Friday morning after prasad was offered to devotees, who had gathered for the foundation stone laying ceremony for construction of the Maramma temple at Sulivadi village. People started vomiting soon after consuming the prasad and began writhing in pain. Nearly 200 people had gathered for the event, some of whom had reportedly said that the food smelled of kerosene.
Police said at least six people died after developing symptoms of severe food poisoning. Those critical were taken to Mysuru for treatment. Two people have been detained in connection with the incident. It has also emerged that the CCTV cameras installed in the temple were defunct.
Officials are probing suspected foul play in the incident. Meanwhile, the government has been urged to take over the temple management by the villagers who have alleged that factional feud within the temple authorities led to the incident.
On Friday, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy visited patients at hospitals and announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh to the kin of the deceased. It has also come to light that a large number of crows and some other birds, approximately 80, which consumed the prasad died, PTI reported.