Food poisoning at Kollegala Temple; two people arrested

Chief Minister Kumaraswamy announces Rs 5 lakh each to the families of the deceased

Mysuru/Kollegala, December 15:- Two people have been taken into police custody for allegedly mixing the food with pesticides which led to the death of 11 devotees and 80 others fell ill after consuming food at Kichguth Maramma Temple at Sulavadi village in Kollegal taluk in Chamarajanagar District during the ground-breaking ceremony of the arch of the temple on Friday.

Acting swiftly, the police zeroed in on the culprits who spilled the beans after being thoroughly grilled.

It is alleged that the difference between the two groups over the construction of the arch resulted in the poisoning of the food by a rival gang. Mahadev and Chinnappi, who have been taken into custody, confessed to their heinous act. Hundreds of crows also fell victims to the poisonous food.

Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy rushed to K R Hospital here from Belagavi and enquired about the health of those who have been admitted for treatment. Kumaraswamy announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the families of the deceased. He also revealed that the government would foot the hospital bills.

After the ground-breaking ceremony by Seer Guru of Saluru Bruhanmutt, vegetable pulav, tomato rice and panchamrit were served to the devotees. Many devotees vomited immediately after lunch. Those who did not have food at the temple informed police about it. The sick people were given first aid at Sulavadi and Hanur Government Hospitals and admitted to Kamagere Holycross Hospital and Kollegala Government Hospital. Three people died at Kamagere Hospital and one died at Kollegala Government Hospital. A woman died on the way to a hospital. Some are being treated at Kollegala and some have been admitted at KR Hospital in Mysuru.

Minister Puttaraju, who visited K R Hospital, said that he visited the hospital on behalf of the government and the government has announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the families of the deceased. He said that the government has instructed for a thorough probe and said the Chief Minister is collecting all the information.

Deputy Commissioner Abhiram G Sankar collected information about the patients admitted at JSS Hospital in the city. He asked the patients not to panic as the government would pay the hospital bills. Chamarajanagar principal judge too visited Kollegala Governmnt Hospital and instructed the police to take strict action against the guilty.

Prima facie, it looks the food was mixed with pesticides which led to the tragedy. (MR/KS)


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