3 boys die after meal in school; owner missing

3 boys die after meal in school; owner missing

Three students of a residential school in Huliyar died on Thursday, hours after they complained their food was bitter.

Shreyas (14), Akanksh Pallakki (15) and Shanthamurthy (15), students of Vidyavaridhi International Residential School, had dinner at 9 pm.

They refused the chapatis and started on rice and sambar. They soon said the sambar was bitter, and told fellow-students not to eat it. Heeding their advice, the others just ate rice mixed with buttermilk.

Some time later, the three boys began to vomit and have loose motions. By 1 am, their condition deteriorated, and the authorities called up Kiran Kumar, former BJP legislator who runs the school.

He arrived with Dr Siddaramanna, who examined the students. The doctor suggested they be hospitalised right away.

The three students were first taken to a private hospital, where it turned out had no oxygen. At 3 am, they were taken to the district hospital, where doctors said they were dead.
 
Parents of the students were distraught. They wanted to know why the school management had not called them when their children were experiencing such severe symptoms. A woman related to Akanksh fainted, and was taken to hospital in a police jeep.

Kumar said he suspected something had happened after dinner. “I ate the same meal, and nothing happened to me,” he claimed. Police later said he was absconding.
The residential school was unauthorised, according to an education official.

Foul play suspected
Law Minister T B Jayachandra said the boys could have been poisoned by someone. “Children don’t die so easily if the food is mixed with rat poison or even if a lizard falls into the dish,” he told reporters.

The post-mortem has confirmed the boys died of poisoning. Jayachandra, also minister in charge of the district, said two of the three boys who died, Shreyas and Akanksh, were related to him.

Owners absconding
Kavitha and Kiran Kumar, who own Vidyavaridhi International Residential School, went absconding on Thursday.

Ravi Kumar, principal of the school, had recently been sacked. “Rumours suggest he lost the job because he had been over-friendly with Kavitha. We are probing that angle,” a policeman said.
 

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