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Police suspect the mass poisoning was carried out deliberately (file picture) (Image: Getty Images)

India temple ‘poisoning’: Eleven dead and 90 sick after eating religious food offering

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Eleven people, including two children, have died in a suspected mass food poisoning at a temple in India, police have said.

A further 90 people have been taken to hospital after eating a religious food offering at a temple in Karnataka, in the south of the country.

Two people have been arrested after devotees fell ill on Friday when they ate tomato rice at the Hindu temple.

Many people are still being treated for vomiting, diarrhoea and respiratory diseases.

Puttaranga Shetty, the minister in charge of the region, said a dispute between two groups could have prompted the poisoning.

He told news agency ANI: “Whoever may be the culprit, action will be taken against them. Police are investigating the case and have already arrested two people.

“There was some dispute between two groups. I think something has happened.”

Media reports in India said the suspected food poisoning was the result of pesticide contamination, but police said it was too early to draw conclusions about the cause.

The food in the temple was allegedly contaminated with pesticides (file picture) (Image: Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

It happened at the Kichu Maranda temple, NDTV reports.

“We have sent the organs of the dead people and the poisoned food to the 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 also 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 outbreaks of mass food poisoning in the 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 – the equivalent of around £5,500 – to the families of each of the dead, according to media reports.

About Charles Igbinidu

Charles Igbinidu is a Public Relations practitioner in Lagos, Nigeria

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