Other reports indicate as many as 12 people have died and over a hundred have been hospitalized.
“A child died at the Government hospital at Ramapura, two each at GH hospitals at Kamageri and Kolegal, three at the KP Hospital and one at KRH Hospital,” Suresh Shastry, director of the Directorate of Health and Family Welfare Services said.
The Marama temple hosted an event to celebrate its foundation-laying on Friday, after which staff served a religious offering called “Prasad” in Hindi.
The offering is believed to be the cause of the catastrophic consequences cited here, “We believe the ‘prasad’ was poisoned,” Dharmender Kumar Meena, Police Superintendent of Chamarajanagar district told CNN.
After consuming the offering, which many of the faithful reported to have smelled strange, people began vomiting and experiencing a sharp stomach pain, according to the local police.
There are some reports which indicate that pesticides may have been present in the food. Samples of the food served at the event were collected and sent to laboratories for testing.
Police have cautioned against drawing early conclusions, “We have sent the organs of the dead people and the poisoned food to the forensic laboratory...Only after receiving the report can we say what went wrong,” Geetha M.S., a senior police officer, told Reuters.
Two temple staff have been detained for questioning in relation to the food poisoning and police are looking for five more suspects.
The state of India has extended financial help to the families of the deceased, consisting of US$7,000 and it has made arrangements to cover the medical expenses of all those affected, according to The Statesman.
This is the first case of people dying after eating a “prasad” at a temple celebration but not the first when multiple people died after food poisoning, in India. In 2013, food poisoning at a Bihar school killed 22 children. The food was reportedly poisoned with pesticides.