Over 40 children fell severely ill after eating Saraswati Puja prasad at a school in Jharkhand's Lohardaga on Sunday. Two of them are critical, news agency ANI quoted a doctor at the local hospital.
The school was celebrating Saraswati Puja yesterday and boondis (sweets) were distributed among the children after the puja, said one of the parents. Within hours of eating the sweets the children started vomiting.
"So far 40 children have come here. One or two are in a critical condition. It is a case of food poisoning, we are treating them accordingly," said Dr SS Khalid, of the Sadar Hospital, adding that most of them are six or seven years old.
"The administration is investigating, we will take action against whoever is found guilty. We will get the food sample examined to find out the cause," said Ratan Mahwar, the District Education Officer of Lohardaga.
People who organised the Saraswati Puja claimed that the ingredients for making the boondis were bought from the local shop and nothing seemed wrong with them.
In December, over a dozen died after eating prasad at a temple in Karnataka's Chamarajnagar. Samples of the prasad sent for forensic examination were found to be laced with monocrotophos and organophosphate that are dangerous for human beings, Karnataka deputy chief minister G Parameshwara had said.
Mr Parameshwara, who holds the home portfolio, told the state assembly that seven people were taken into custody in connection with the incident. He added that some of the suspects have left the village and a search was on to catch them.
Around 150 people were reportedly served vegetable rice as prasad and within half-an-hour of consuming it, people started falling ill.
(With inputs from ANI & PTI)