Villagers drain Karnataka lake after HIV+ woman's body found in it

Henrietta Strickland
December 6, 2018

Authorities are pumping water out of a sprawling lake in Karnataka to assuage villagers' fears it was contaminated after the discovery of the body of a woman infected with HIV, a regional official said on Wednesday.

Residents of Morab village in Dharwad, located 30 km from the city centre, are now on a draining task.They have lowered pipes to empty the Jagirdar's Lake in the village, which is the only source of drinking water for its people.

The drainage operation has run for the last four days and fresh water from a nearby canal is to be used to replenish the lake over the next four to five days, Hullur added.

"Three days after her disappearance on November 29, her body surfaced". Villagers alleged that she was suffering from HIV.

Ever since the body surfaced, no one turned up to fetch water, Kumar said, adding that the villagers unanimously made a decision to empty the lake.

A former village panchayat member Ravi Kagadal told PTI that the villagers were afraid of contracting HIV/AIDS.

When asked about the incident, Navalgund tahsildar Naveen Hullur said that the administration was left with no choice as over a thousand people came to the lake with water tankers.

Despite attempts by a local official to explain to the villagers that the water poses no threat, the villagers were adamant in their decision. After draining the lake, it will be thoroughly cleaned before filling it with fresh water from Malaprabha canal by December 20.

District authorities have chose to distribute water from Mallaprabha river, a tributary of the Krishna river, among villagers for the time being. "There will be no water crisis till then", the PDO said.

According to a health official, the woman who died in the lake had tested positive for HIV in October, but it was yet to be confirmed by a government centre.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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