Chamarajanagar: At least 11 people including two children died and 82 were hospitalised after consuming prasad (holy offering) at a temple in Chamarajanagar in Karnataka. The food poisoning incident took place in the morning when the prasad was distributed after a puja at the Maramma temple in Sulvadi village on Friday.

The tragic incident happened during the foundation stone laying ceremony of the gopura, the monumental entrance tower of the temple. The devotees were distributed rice bath as prasad. A few minutes later several devotees not only vomited but also complained of diarrhoea. When the complaints rose alarmingly and after a few of the devotees fell unconscious, villagers alerted the 108 ambulance service.

The Chamarajanagar police have arrested two men over suspicion of mixing poison in the prasad. The officials suspect that the food was contaminated with pesticide.

The District Health Officer (DHO) KH Prasad told the media that the people, who fell ill, were taken to a primary health centre after they started showing symptoms of food poisoning like vomiting and diarrhoea around 11.30 am. Later the health centre referred them to bigger hospitals in the area as the symptoms were severe.

Meanwhile, the Karnataka government has announced Rs 5 lakh compensation to the family of the victims. And the state government will also bear the medical cost of those who are admitted in the hospitals. Chief minister HD Kumaraswamy had met the people who were earlier hospitalised.