Aligarh: More than 300 women students of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) were taken to a hospital on Wednesday morning with symptoms of food poisoning, authorities said. They started showing the symptoms after dinner at their hostel the previous night. By the afternoon, almost all of them were discharged from the university's Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, they said. "The girls started coming in early morning and we have treated about 300 girls. Once they showed improvement, we discharged them. We are constantly monitoring the health of all the girls," the hospital's chief superintendent, Dr Haaris Manzoor Khan, said.
They were residents of the Begum Azeezun Nisa Hall, he added. The Begum Azeezun Nisa Hall of the AMU is a women's hostel with a capacity of accommodating 1,500 students. As the news of the incident spread, district authorities rushed a team of health officials to take samples of food stored at the hostel's dining area and kitchens.
District health officials and food inspectors have collected food samples from the hostel, an university official said. An AMU spokesperson told PTI that a three-member committee has been set up to investigate the matter. Office bearers of the AMU Teachers' Association (AMUTA) will hold a meeting on Wednesday evening to discuss the situation.
AMUTA secretary Obaid Ahmad Siddique told reporters that the "enquiry into this serious matter would only be meaningful if it is time bound". The second issue which has to be probed is the ad hoc manner in which "tenders for food supplies were being cleared in recent months by university authorities", he said.
Siddique claimed that if a high-level probe is carried out, it is "likely to reveal major irregularities in food material purchase procedures". He also alleged that in the past few months, students staying at other hostels of the university have complained about the quality of food, but such complaints were not addressed.