Suspected food poisoning kills 11 at Indian temple ceremony

More than 130 people are recovering from poisoning after eating contaminated vegetables and rice on Friday.

    Indians mourn the death of relatives in a case of suspected food poisoning in southern India  [Madhusudhan Sr/AP Photo]
    Indians mourn the death of relatives in a case of suspected food poisoning in southern India [Madhusudhan Sr/AP Photo]

    Police have arrested three people after at least 11 died of suspected food poisoning following a ceremony to celebrate the construction of a new Hindu temple in southern India.

    Police officer Musharraf said on Saturday that more than 130 sick people were recovering from poisoning in various hospitals in Chamarajnagar district of Karnataka state, 180km south of Bangalore, the state capital.

    Musharraf said that Hindu devotees ate contaminated cooked vegetables and rice on Friday. They immediately started vomiting, complained of severe stomach pain and were taken to nearby hospitals.

    Musharraf said eight of those hospitalised were in critical condition.

    He said three members of the temple's management have been arrested and samples of the food sent for chemical analysis.

    "They were giving us some offerings at the temple. It had a weird smell. When we asked what that was, they told us it is because of leaves in the offering," said Murege Swamy, who attended the temple ceremony.

    "As soon as we ate that, me and my friends felt a sharp pain in our stomachs and started puking," Swamy said.

    Sangeeta who was at the ceremony said she was lucky that she did not eat anything at the temple.

    "Only a few were OK, but everyone else was vomiting immediately," she said.

    Cases of food poisoning killing multiple people have been a problem in India.

    In 2013, 22 children died in a school in the eastern state of Bihar after eating food tainted with a pesticide that had been stored in a cooking oil container.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies