In a bizarre incident, the residents of a village in Karnataka drained the entire water of a lake after an HIV-positive woman allegedly committed suicide by jumping into it.
The people drained the 36-acre lake on Wednesday at Morab village in Dharwad district after fearing that if they used the water they would contract HIV/AIDS.
The villagers informed authorities that they would not use it untill filled with fresh water, according to news agency PTI.
"After the patient with suspected HIV committed suicide, people of the village have started removing water from the lake. This is totally unscientific as HIV doesn't spread through water," said Dr Prabhu Biradar, Hubli-Dharwad City Municipal Corporation (Chief Medical Officer), as reported by news agency ANI.
"Three days after her disappearance on November 29, her body surfaced. It was decomposed, bloated... Villagers decided not to use the water until fresh water was filled in the lake," panchayat development officer (PDO) B Nagaraja Kumar said.
Ever since the body surfaced, no one turned up to fetch water, Kumar said, adding that the villagers unanimously decided to empty the lake. A former village panchayat member Ravi Kagadal told PTI that the villagers were afraid of contracting HIV/AIDS.
Soon after learning about the incident, district panchayat chief executive officer Dr B Satheesha rushed to the spot and tried to convince villagers that HIV never spread the way they thought. He even tried to persuade the villagers not to waste water like that but the villagers remained adamant.
District authorities have decided to distribute water from Mallaprabha river, a tributary of the Krishna river, among villagers for the time being. "District authorities have agreed to fill the lake by December 20. There will be no water crisis till then," the PDO said.
The woman lived on the banks of the lake and committed suicide by jumping into it last week. The villagers alleged that she was suffering from HIV. The locals used to draw water from the lake.
Acquired Immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is the final stage of infection with HIV, according to medical officials.