Tumakuru school victims may have eaten food ‘laced with aluminium phosphide

The District Surgeon of Tumakuru District Government Hospital, Veerabhadraiah, suspects that the four persons, including three students, who died of food poisoning at Vidya Varidhi International School at Huliyar in the district last week, might have eaten food laced with “aluminium phosphide”.

Dr. Veerabhadraiah told The Hindu that the way the internal organs of the four victims had been damaged was similar to what has been explained in medical textbooks about the impact of aluminium phosphide on the organs.

He said when aluminium phosphide is exposed to air or dissolved in water, phosphine ions are liberated causing lung failure and damage to internal organs.

Aluminium phosphide is present in pesticides used on coconut palms.

The test reports of the 18 samples of food and vomitus sent to the Public Health Institute, Bengaluru, and blood and viscera sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory, Bengaluru, are expected in the next couple of days. Meanwhile, the school management announced compensation of ₹10 lakh to the kin of each deceased student. Mallesh, a relative of the deceased watchman Ramesh, told The Hindu, “The school management has said they would give compensation of ₹5 lakh to Ramesh’s family.”


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