PTI, BENGALURU: Police are probing suspected foul play in the death of 11 people due to food poisoning after consuming 'prasad' at a temple in Chamarajanagar district, a senior official said Saturday. Two more people died Saturday, pushing up the toll to 11, while 93 others were hospitalised, Chamarajanagar district Superintendent of Police Dharmender Singh Meeena told PTI. Three cooks, who are undergoing treatment in a hospital, are stated to be in a critical condition, he said.
The police are investigating suspected foul play, Meena said, amid reports that a running feud between two factions in Kicchgutti Maramma temple over some issue might have led to the tragedy after the victims consumed the 'prasad' allegedly blended with poisonous substance.
As many as five people have been detained and police are interrogating them to get some leads into the incident, Meena said. Food samples collected from the temple have been sent to a forensic lab in Mysuru. "We have not yet received the FSL report.
We are expecting it by tomorrow noon. Nevertheless, we have been investigating the tragic incident from all angles," the officer said.
"The substance in the food can only be told after receiving FSL reports," he said. However, District Health Officer Prasad had suspected that the prasad was poisoned. On Friday, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy had announced assistance of Rs five lakh to the next to the kin of the deceased. Kumaraswamy flew to Chamarajnagar by special plane from Belagavi, where he is attending the winter session of the state legislature.
He had directed local authorities to make all arrangements for those who took ill and said the government would bear the medical expenses. The foundation laying ceremony of Maramma temple was
organised Friday morning at the village situated along the border of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. 'Om Shakti' devotees from adjoining villages in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu had gathered for the event, where rice "baath" was served as 'prasad' after the rituals. After consuming the offering, people started to vomit and complained of stomach pain. Commotion had prevailed as people hurried to nearby
hospitals for treatment. The affected people said there was a smell of kerosene oil in the prasad, but they ignored it.