In Chapra, midday meal raises spectre of death

The one room-primary school in Masarakh will go down in the annals of Bihar’s history as a place where 23  children died in the first-of-its-kind “poisoning” of midday meal (MDM).

The school will also be remembered as the one which turned from an educational institution into a graveyard. At least 22 children, who till Tuesday played, giggled and ran across the school campus, were buried there on Wednesday.

A pall of gloom descended as the school turned into a cremation ground. “We have buried the bodies on the school campus deliberately so that people remember this incident for generations,” said Bimla Devi, whose angst was quite palpable.

“In Masarakh, midday meal kaal ban gaya hum logon ke liye. Midday meal, nahin midday maut tha (Midday meal spelt doom for us. It was not midday meal, where kids got free lunch, it was midday death as they died at 1 pm)” lamented Lalbabu, who, along with other grief-struck parents, was at a loss to explain whether the government should continue with such ambitious schemes, which has been more in the news for wrong reasons.

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