MUMBAI: Eleven people including two children died and more than 90 were hospitalised after consuming a religious food offering at a temple in southern Indian state of Karnataka, police said on Saturday, calling it a suspected case of mass food poisoning.
Two people have been questioned in connection with incident on Friday, after devotees fell ill when they ate tomato rice at a Hindu temple. Many people are till being treated for vomiting, diarrhoea and respiratory diseases.
Media reports in India said the suspected food poisoning was result of pesticide contamination but police said it was too early to draw conclusions about cause.
“We have sent organs of the dead people and the poisoned food to forensic laboratory,” Geetha MS, a senior police officer in the Chamarajanagara district where the temple is located, told Reuters. “Only after receiving the report can we say what went wrong.”
Several crows and dogs were found dead after eating the food, Geetha added.
In 2013, 23 school children died in the eastern state of Bihar in one of the worst out breaks of mass food poisoning in country. Police had suspected that it was caused by cooking oil that had been kept in a container previously used to store pesticide.
The Karnataka government would provide financial assistance of 500,000 rupees ($6,953.14) to families of each of dead, according to media reports.