Over 600 people have been admitted to hospitals in Jhenaidah after eating biriyani served at an Awami League members’ meeting organized by Jhenaidah 3 constituency Awami League MP aspirant Parvin Talukder Maya.
The victims of what appears to be food poisoning were given the biriyani at the end of the meetings on Tuesday at Maheshpur High School field, and on Wednesday in the Kotchandpur city area, and were admitted to local hospitals on the days following the consumption of the contaminated biriyani.
250 have been admitted to Kotchandpur Upazila Health Complex and 100 to Maheshpur Upazila Health Complex, with the rest of the patients being treated at home.
One of the patients admitted to Kotchandpur Upazila Health Complex, 26-year-old Shojib Hossain, said he attended an Awami League members’ meeting held by Parvin Talukder Maya in the upazila city area, and was given two packets of biriyani following the event. After he took the food home and ate it with three family members, all four of them fell ill and had to be hospitalized by the next day.
Hundreds of others who have been admitted to the two hospitals have similar accounts of falling sick, with all of them experiencing diarrhoea, stomach aches, and vomiting.
Kotchandpur Upazila Health Complex Resident Medical Officer Dr Nazmus Shakib confirmed the matter, saying food poisoning is the most likely reason for the mass illness.
When contacted, Parvin Talukder Maya, the politician being blamed for the mass ailment, said she was herself sick. “When some people fell ill from eating the biriyani on the first day, I assumed that the heat had caused them to have indigestion. However, the following day I ate the same biriyani and also became sick along with more of my colleagues,” she said.
“After six people were admitted to a hospital in Maheshpur following Tuesday’s meeting, people working for current MP Nabi Newaz gave them bananas, bread, and flattened rice and told them to say that they became sick from the biriyani,” she added.
“This whole thing is a conspiracy to make me lose favour with the people as they realized that I have become more popular than them. My own inter-party rivals conspired with the caterer or chef to poison my supporters and workers and cause this debacle,” she complained.
“I want the matter to be investigated and justice served to those responsible,” Parvin concluded.
On the other hand, upazila Awami League representatives organized a protest rally to denounce the serving of contaminated and rotten food at Parvin Talukder Maya’s event. After the rally, MP Nabi Newaz’s representatives distributed drinking water, oral saline, bananas, bread, and flattened rice among the hospitalized food poisoning patients.