Midday meal had pesticide

Death on a platter: Toll rises to 22, many children critical

Midday meal had pesticide

A day after the midday meal tragedy in Chapra, the Bihar government claimed that the death of children at Dharmasati primary school, was not due to food-poisoning. Rather, the food had traces of organic phosphorous, a form of pesticide.

This was confirmed by Bihar Education Minister P K Sahi on Wednesday. He, however, could not say whether the adulteration was a deliberate act.

“Investigation is on. We will soon find out who actually carried out such a criminal activity,” said Sahi.

Meanwhile, the toll rose from 11 to 22. Thirty-one more children were shifted in a critical condition from Chapra to Patna Medical College and Hospital on Wednesday morning.

“As of now, we have information of the death of 22 children,” sub-divisional police officer (SDPO) of Masrakh Kundan Kumar told Deccan Herald on Wednesday.
The police have lodged an FIR against school headmistress Meena Kumari. She has been charged under Sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 328 (poisoning) and 120B (criminal conspiracy). She and her colleague are absconding.

Sahi said they suspected poisoning due to organic phosphorous as traces of insecticide were found in the food.

Doctors attending the affected children have reportedly told him that “atropine was working positively on patients which showed that some kind of poisoning had taken place.” The food samples are, however, analysed by the Forensic Science Laboratory.

The Bharatiya Janata Party and Rashtriya Janata Dal observed bandh in Saran on Wednesday to protest against the tragedy.

Another report from Gaya said one child died at Atari after consuming Vitamin A.
Madhubani incident

In a similar incident, reports from Madhubani said 50 children of a government school took ill on Wednesday after they were served food at Navtolia Middle School, Bisfi, about 22 km from Madhubani. The students alleged that the meal had a dead lizard in it.

Around 50 students complained of stomach ache and began vomitting after eating the midday meal. They were then rushed to Bisfi health centre, its medical officer in charge A K Prabhat told reporters. “All the students are out of danger,” he said.
Except for seven children, the rest have been discharged from the health centre, he said. 

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