Ten people lost their lives while 80 others fell sick after eating a vegetable rice dish during a temple ceremony in India.
According to a report by the Daily Mail, people went to the temple for worship where they were served the vegetable pulav — an Indian dish made with rice and vegetables — as a religious offering (Prasad) at Maramma temple in Chamarajnagar, southern India.
And it wasn’t only the worshipers who lost their lives and fell sick, but around 60 crows who ate the leftovers were also found dead nearby the temple.
The tragic incident took place in the Indian state of Karnataka, where 10 people lost their lives after eating the poisoned food. Among the deceased was also a 15-year-old girl, according to a report by the Times of India.
People who have fallen sick after eating the food have been admitted to various hospitals in the Kamagere, Kollegal, and Mysuru, the Times of India report said. As further noted, the district health officer said that poison might have gotten mixed with the prasad.
“We have collected the samples and sent it to a laboratory for investigation. The condition of 12 people was critical and they have been taken to Mysuru for treatment,” the health officer said, per the report.
As detailed by the Daily Mail report, guests didn’t feel sick right away after eating the pulav at the ceremony but started falling ill within an hour of eating it.
After the incident, the police launched an investigation into the matter and have taken two people into custody, who are suspected to have deliberately added poison to the food, the Daily Mail added.
Karnataka chief minister H D Kumaraswamy visits Sulvadi Kichchugutti Maramma temple tragedy victims in KR general hospital, Mysuru pic.twitter.com/rCEb6pHADK
— TOI Bengaluru (@TOIBengaluru) December 14, 2018
According to the Indian news outlet, News 18, one person said that when they reached the temple to attend the religious ceremony, they were offered “tomato rice,” which had a bad odor.
“Some people at the front of the queue consumed the food and fell sick, many others threw the food away and were saved. The ill were vomiting and frothing at the mouth.”
According to the report, the religious ceremony was arranged to mark “the laying of a foundation stone for a new tower at the temple.”
The incident sparked sympathy and anger from people across the country, and former Indian Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda expressed his “shock” upon hearing the tragic news, the report said.
“Families who have lost their lives in the disaster should have the strength and courage to endure pain,” Gowda said in a Twitter post.