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

07 December 2018

The woman lived on the banks of the lake spread over 25 acres. Residents in Morab village of Dharwad district feared that the lake, which is their main source of drinking water in the drought-affected area, has been infected with the virus, Reuters reported.

Biradar called the villagers' act as totally unscientific as HIV doesn't spread through water.

'We tried our best to assure the villagers that we would get the water tested, but they did not budge and even refused to come near the lake, ' Hullur added.

As Morab residents stopped using the water from the lake for drinking purposes and instead took to travelling almost three kilometres for fresh water, local authorities made a decision to empty the lake, Hullur said.

Water from the sprawling lake will be pumped out on Wednesday night or the following morning, after which it will be cleaned and then filled with water from Malaprabha canal by December 20.

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According to the New Indian Express, Dr Spoorthi Havaldar, the village doctor, in an attempt to dispel villagers' concerns, said that the lake water could be used following chlorination treatment. The reports claimed that she had been suffering from HIV and that possibly could be the reason why she committed suicide. The villagers, however, remained unconvinced, leading to the lake water being drained.

District authorities have made a decision to distribute water from Mallaprabha river, a tributary of the Krishna river, among villagers for the time being. "There is no risk of infection spreading from the water", she said.

Last year, a boy had drowned in the same lake but no hue and cry was made over use of the water at that time, Ravi Kagadal, former panchayat member, said.

Navalgund tahsildar Naveen Hullur said they had no choice but to give in to the villagers' demands. There is another problem, the taluk administration wants us to finish the task by December 6 as the Malaprabha right canal will be closed after December 8, and we have to fill the lake.

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