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

Hubbali Administration employees drain water from the 36-acre lake in Morab around 30km from Hubballi

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.

Indian authorities said they have been busy pumping water out of a sprawling lake in the south of the country in an effort to allay local villagers' fears that it was contaminated after the discovery of the body of a woman infected with HIV a week ago.

The water was drained from the lake on demand of local residents in village Morab of Dharwad district, about 440 km northwest of Bengaluru, the capital city of Karnataka.

The lake is a key source of drinking water for more than 1,000 people who live in the drought-affected region and earn their livelihoods by farming the surrounding land. As of now, villagers trek 2-3km to the Malaprabha canal to fetch water.

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.

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Pradeep Hanikere, another villager, said the daily hardship was preferable to drinking water from the lake.

Another villager pointed out, "We would have consumed the water if it was the body of a normal person, but the woman died of HIV". Villagers alleged that she was suffering from HIV. "The authorities must drain out water and fill it with fresh water to save the lives of villagers". They said they will bring water from other places, but empty the lake.

A former village panchayat member Ravi Kagadal told PTI that the villagers were afraid of contracting HIV/AIDS. They have warned the Malaprabha right canal will be closed after December 8, so we have to fill the water into lake before that.

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