A palmyra drink (padhani) seller was arrested after 20 persons complained of vomiting and nausea after consuming the product sold by him at a temple festival at Tirumangalam in Madurai district on Saturday.

Sources said that devotees thronged the Gurunathar Angala Eswari Temple for the Masi festival, under way from March 10.

The drink vendor, Ravi, stayed open late on Friday night, catering to pilgrims resting in a mandapam near the temple. At around 2.30 a.m. on Saturday, some men, women and children complained of vomiting and nausea. They were rushed to the Tirumangalam Government Hospital.

The Tirumangalam Town police, who are investigating, arrested Ravi and booked a case against him under IPC Section 328.

Superintendent of Police V. Balakrishnan said that the unsold palmyra drink had been seized from him and samples sent to the government laboratory. Based on the lab result, action would be taken against Ravi.

Mr. Balakrishnan has appealed to the public not to consume eatables and drinks sold on the roadside. House officers in police stations had been instructed to keep a vigil on places where people assembled in large numbers, as in Tirumangalam temple.

The doctors attending to the in-patients said that the condition was stable in the evening. As they had consumed the drink at an odd hour, it might have caused problems related to indigestion, they said. Further investigation is on.

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