‘Eats tortoise meat to starve, 32 die in Kollam’; Sixty years to the tragedy‌ | Sea Turtle meat

Kollam: May 29, 1961 (area-15) with torrential rains. The beach was happy to get a call to starve when they got the alum. But no one thought it would be the beginning of a tragedy. May-June marks the 60th anniversary of the death of 32 people at Shakthikulangara in Kollam after consuming turtle meat.

John James, also known as Mon Police, who cut down the tortoise and shared it with everyone, has fond memories of yesterday’s tragedy. His pregnant wife Stella and sister Brigitta died in the tragedy. John, his father and mother escaped after being treated at the hospital.

‘I was 24 then. I would go fishing in the sea. It is a pleasure to see the algae coming to eat the algae on the rock in the sea. Some will have meat to eat. The shell also gets a price. So that tortoise was shared by 15‌. I went home with some meat in the bark. Cooked.

Everyone ate, including my sister and wife. They both died. A total of 32 people were killed. Everyone had nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. It was initially thought to be cholera. She was rushed to the district hospital. Could not catch what happened. Then the DM came and took the tortoise. It was later learned that the tortoise was the villain. At that time, the crow that ate the blood and intestines of the place where the tortoise was slaughtered died. Four people died in one house. And three in each of the other two houses. Children died first, followed by women. Those who cooked turtle with turmeric did not have much trouble. The patients were admitted to the hospital after being injected with the medicine brought from Norway. It was the time of the Indo-Norwegian project in the fisheries sector of Kollam. The following year, I remarried to Theresia. She has four children. Anto, Alexander, Justin, Prasanna ‘- said John.

Salmonella can be bacterial

: Salmonella bacteria in some turtles are the culprit. The disease is known as salmonellosis. At that time, its research and studies were not carried out efficiently. Today we know about such a bacterium and the food poisoning it causes. Hearing the incident, it seems likely that it was Salmonella. Some turtles with green algae are similarly susceptible to poisoning.

Jafar Pallot, Senior Zoological Assistant Zoological Survey of India.