Many of those who applied mehndi suffered rashes

Police investigating the source of the rumour relating to the supposed fatal effects of mehndi have taken samples of the particular brand used by some victims for forensic analysis.

Drug control directorate officials also collected samples, according to hospital officials. Several of the patients admitted at RGGH had purchased mehndi, though from different shops, of the same brand, ‘Singh Special’. Dr. Anand Pratap, Resident Medical Officer, said, “Two officials from the directorate of Drug Control Administration department came and collected samples of the particular mehndi used by most of the patients for tests.”

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Flower Bazaar) T.S. Anbu said: “Around 1 a.m. on Monday, a large number of Muslims from the Pulianthope (in Chennai) alleged that many women had developed skin allergy. More than 130 people accompanied by their families or relatives were rushed in police patrol vehicles to the hospital.”

Some shops that sold the mehndi cones in the Pulianthope area were allegedly damaged by irate youth. There were rumours that some milk packets were poisoned. “Since some suspected sabotage, we held discussions with leaders of the community. They agreed to make an appeal to Muslims not to believe in such rumours,” he said.

While most of the affected suffered from itchiness and rashes, some felt giddiness, nausea, headache, wheezing and electrolyte imbalance. According to Dr. Pratap, those who came to RGGH comprised 84 women, eight men, eight boys and 30 girls. While four women were admitted, several children were referred to the Institute of Child Health. They were treated with intravenous electrolytes and anti-histamines.

While Stanley Medical College Hospital had 42 patients, there were 23 such cases in Royapettah GH, 36 in Kilpauk Medical College Hospital and 12 at ICH.

F. Naziya, a mehndi designer, was one of the four. She had applied mehndi on the palm of her hands as well on her hair. “I washed it off quickly but the pain was too much to bear. I eventually fainted and when I woke up I was in the hospital,” she said.

“At around 12.30 a.m. the mosque in Pulianthope gave out a public announcement to not use mehndi since,” said Hussaini Begum, 35, a resident of the Pattalam.

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