All you need to know about the ‘inhuman’ prasada poisoning incident at the Karnataka temple

Amidst the rising death toll among devotees at Karnataka’s Kichugatti Maranda temple, villagers from the Chamarajnagar district have urged the government to take over the temple management after at least 13 fatalities were traced to the temple’s prasad.

82 others are currently hospitalised across the district and in Mysuru, after consuming the religious food offering over the weekend, with several of them on or life support, reported PTI.

Recent victims

Fearing that a factional dispute between the authorities led to this food poisoning, locals of the  village reported that two more people had died on Sunday. State Health Department Joint Director Suresh Shastry confirmed that the two women battling for life at the Apollo Hospital failed to respond to treatment, identifying the deceased as Mageshwari (36) and (35) hailing from MG Doddi.

Here’s what we know so far

The condition of six more patients on life support was said to be serious. A total of 66 patients were being treated in eight private hospitals across the district and 28 in KR Hospital.

The tragedy struck on Friday when devotees were reportedly handed the prasad after the brick-laying ceremony for construction of the Maramma temple, 160km away from Bengaluru. ’Om Shakti’ devotees from adjoining villages in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu had also gathered for the event, where “” (rice) was served as prasad after the rituals, according to News18

Of the 200 gathered, those who consumed the rice-based offering soon began to vomit, writhe in pain, and exhibit other symptoms of severe food poisoning, according to eyewitness accounts. It has also come to light that a large number of crows and some other birds, approximately 80, which consumed the prasad died, PTI reported.

An eyewitness told the news agency that devotees decided to eat the rice-based offering even t it was smelling of kerosene. “Soon , they complained of stomachache and began vomiting,” he added.

A district official told the press that the accident had resulted from the mixing of some toxic substance with the prasad. “We have collected samples and sent them to a laboratory for analysis,” he told NDTV. 


A police official informed, ”Doctors think the toxin could be ,” adding that investigation into the foul play is underway, as officials seek to confirm how the toxic substance entered the food. Food samples collected from the temple have been sent to various forensic labs in Mysuru, including CFTRI and the FSL. It has also emerged that the CCTV cameras installed in the temple were defunct.

to Indian Express, two people in connection with the incident have already been detained. District in-charge minister Puttaranga Shetty, confirming the arrests, said a dispute between two groups may be the reason for the poisoning.

How the government responded

Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy expressed shock over the and directed the authorities to ensure that those afflicted receive proper medical treatment. On Friday he visited patients at hospitals and announced an of Rs 5 lakh to the kin of the deceased. 

“I came to know about this while I was returning from Belagavi. Spoke to district authorities. At I did not how serious it was. Our MLA, Puttaraju, went to the spot. There are reports that the food was deliberately poisoned. It is being tested. Action will be taken against whoever is behind this inhuman act,” Kumaraswamy said.

Minister for Health and Family Welfare Shivananda Patil, accompanied by Chamarajnagar District in-charge Minister Puttaranga Shetty, MP R. Dhruvanarayana, Hanur MLA R. Narendra and Health Commissioner Pankaj Kumar Pandey, visited KR Hospital and private hospitals and enquired about the condition of the patients.

Former Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah and Congress chief Dinesh Gundu Rao also visited the survivors today. Following his visit, Siddaramaiah tweeted about the entire incident, calling it unheard of and “a most inhuman act.”

“I have never heard of temple being poisoned. The incident of this magnitude with 11 people dead and 80-90 people with some in critical condition is something unimaginable. I am shocked over the tragedy. It’s a most inhuman act,” the tweet read.

“Doctors are doing their best to save the patients. Those admitted in ICU are being closely monitored,” Siddaramaiah further tweeted, adding, “I have told the doctors to provide treatment, even if it is providing treatment in private hospitals since the government has announced to bear the cost.”

Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius

HD KumaraswamyKarnatakaLocal politicsPrasad poisoningSiddaramaiah