The incident at Karnataka temple has highlighted one of India’s major public health issues when it comes to an infectious disease that is food poisoning. More than 130 worshipers at a temple in the Chamarajanagar district became sick after eating the “Prasad” as food offered during the services. Eleven people died and eight are in critical condition at the time of writing. Police are investigating the incident.
The Karnataka police on Wednesday arrested four accused, including Maharashtra Hill Samiti Mutt seer Pattadakal Immadi Mahadevaswamy in connection with the food poisoning incident at the Karnataka temple in Chamarajanagar. The toll from the incident rose to 15 by Tuesday. South zone Inspector General of Police Sharath Chandra, at a press conference on Wednesday, identified the remaining accused as Ambika, Madesha and Doddaya.
The tragedy occurred on Friday morning at Dilavada village where a special pooja was conducted at the Maramma Devi temple for the groundbreaking ceremony. Later “Prasad” was distributed to the crowd and those who consumed the prasad started complaining of stomach pain and diarrhoea like symptoms. They were rushed to hospitals in Bangalore, Mysore as well as neighbour township. Apart from the people which consumed the Prasad, there also came a news that approximately 80 birds and crows also died after consuming the prasad kept here and there.
However, police are awaiting the result of laboratory testing of both the organs of the deceased and the poisoned food in question. The conclusion will be drawn after the test results, says Geetha MS, a senior officer in the district. Lapses in sanitation are often to blame for such outbreaks. This can mean that the food is cooked in an unhygienic way or contaminated ingredients are used. Vigilance is essential to make sure that preventable outbreaks do not occur. This is important either in a temple or anywhere when food is being cooked. Otherwise, such outbreaks will only continue to increase in number and the more will continue to lose their precious lives.