81 women inmates suffer suspected food poisoning in Mumbai jail

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Mumbai, July 20 (IANS) At least 81 inmates of the women’s jail in Byculla here were rushed to the hospital on Friday morning due to suspected food poisoning, officials said.

After breakfast, many of the women inmates complained of severe abdominal pain, vomiting and dehydration and were taken to the government-run Sir J.J. Hospital here.

Among the victims are a four-month old infant and a pregnant women and their condition was now “stable”, said Dr Wiqar Shaikh who is heading the team treating them.

The women’s jail houses nearly 385 inmates including a few foreigners. The cause of Friday’s suspected food poisoning is being investigated, though preliminary reports indicate it could be due to contaminated water.

“This morning, several women prisoners complained of vomiting and dehydration and around 300 were examined by health officials. Later, they were referred to the hospital where they are now under observation. There were no complaints from male prisoners or jail staff,” said Inspector-General of Police, Prisons, Rajvardhan Sinha.

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He said till afternoon around 81 women inmates/under-trials including one pregnant woman, and an infant, were admitted to the hospital.

The jail’s most high-profile under-trial prisoner — former media baron Indrani Mukerjea who is a co-accused in the Sheena Bora murder case — was not among those affected.

Sinha said that a male prisoner had suffered from cholera three days ago and was treated, while all other prisoners were given prophylactics by health authorities, he said.

Meanwhile, the Sir J. J. Hospital precincts were virtually converted into a fortress with so many jail inmates and under-trials getting admitted here during the medical emergency and security was also tightened around the jail building.



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