Published: 16th July 2021
#ThrowbackToday: The midday meal that took the life of many kids in Bihar was served eight years ago today
In today's #TBT, we recall a rather sad day when insecticide-laced food was served to school kids in Bihar which resulted in the death of many and several others fell sick and had to be hospitalised
First, the children began fainting and had to be rushed to the hospital. Few died on the spot, others died on the way and a few died in the hospital as well. The death toll rose to 22 and several others were sick. This is what transpired on July 16, 2013.
This was the result of insecticide-laced food served as midday meal at a government primary high school in Dahrmasati Gandawan village, Mashrakh block, Bihar. The headmistress, who had asked the cook to use the insecticide-layered container to make the meal though the latter said it smelled funny, was at large, but was eventually caught.
Heartbroken parents protested, an emergency meeting was called by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, an inquiry was launched, but, of course, nothing brought back the dead children who were between four to 12-years-old. There was grief all around, with some villagers confessing that this is not the first incident.
The then Education Minister PK Sahi said that a preliminary investigation revealed that traces of organophosphate (an insecticide used on wheat and rice crops) was found and hence, the rice wasn't washed properly; Patna Medical College hospital superintendent informed that the post-mortem report indicated that the insecticide was in the cooking oil or food while villagers alleged that it was in a side dish, which some children had not partaken.
School principal Meena Devi was charged with culpable homicide and sentenced to 17 years of imprisonment and her husband was acquitted of all charges.