After the tragedy which killed 11 people after they consumed 'prasad' from a temple in a Karnataka village, the state government has decided to closely monitor the mass production and distribution of temple prasad.
The prasad which was served to devotees at the Kichgutth Maramma in Kollegal on Friday took the lives of 11 people (including two children) and rendered more than 100 seriously ill out of which 93 are undergoing treatment and 29 are in critical condition. Even birds, including crows who consumed the food, were found dead later that day.
The district health officer (DHO) of Chamarajanagar in Kollegal had told Times of India that a large quantity of toxins, suspected to be pesticides, was mixed in the food served as prasad for devotees.
Villagers suspect the poisoning of the food could be due to a rivalry between groups.
Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy said that frequent and thorough quality checks should be done to ensure that good and safe food is distributed.
While the government has proposed to keep a close eye on the situation, officials say that the temples will not come under the control of the state government.
He said, "Bringing these temples under the government is not viable as it will cost the exchequer heavily. However, there is a proposal under consideration to keep a check on the quality of prasadam at these unorganised temples across the state."
The Chamarajanagar police formed teams to probe the incident and have detained Maartalli GP member Chinnappi, who is the caretaker of the temple. He had voluntarily gone to the police station.
His sons said that the poison could have been mixed in the food after it was prepared and during the window when it was left unattended. The five CCTV cameras in the temple were found not working including the one facing the kitchen.