India drains lake after body is found

Water is drained out of the lake in Morab in Karnataka on Tuesday

Water is drained out of the lake in Morab in Karnataka on Tuesday

"Three days after her disappearance on November 29, her body surfaced". When villagers found about the dead woman being HIV-positive, panic spread causing them to approach authorities to request for the lake to be drained. Analysing the situation of the body, the villagers refused to drink the water claiming that it was contaminated with HIV. Villagers now trek about 3km to the Malaprabha Canal to fetch water. "When an HIV-positive person dies, the virus also dies", Dr Glory Alexander, founder-director of an organisation that treats people suffering from the virus, told The Times of India. Reportedly, the lake is the only source of water supply for the village people and cattle drinking needs. When the villagers came to know that the woman who had allegedly committed suicide in the lake was infected with HIV, they informed the officials that they would not draw the water from the lake.

However, the HIV is a virus that gets transmitted through contact with infected blood, semen or vaginal fluids. "Due to the fear of infection, the villagers don't want to use the water, and are releasing it", he said.

Gram panchayat member Laxman Patil said the villagers refused to see reason, so pipes have been sucking water out for the past four days. They have decided, and they refill it with water and only then use it for consumption.

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Authorities attempted to convince them that HIV can not be transmitted by water and that there's no risk of getting the virus by drinking the water.

"The process of pumping out water from a sprawling lake is going on since Sunday", an official said. "The authorities must drain out water and fill it with fresh water to save the lives of villagers".

Navalgund tahsildar Naveen Hullur said they had no choice but to give in to the villagers' demands. "We may need another 5 days to empty the lake, and it may take another 15 days to fill it back".

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