About 23 Indian school children from the village of Dharmasati Gandawan in the eastern Bihar state of India were laid to rest from the result of being poisoned from a school lunch. The fatal poisoning is said to have been caused by the presence of organophosphate-based pesticide in the food.
Samples were taken from the contaminated meal to get more accurate tests. About 50 to 60 children were present when the lunch was served, that consisted of rice, lentils, soy beans and potato curry. The ages of the children ranged from ages four to 12 and reports stated the children died after vomiting and convulsing from stomach cramps.
Police said many questions surrounding the incident revolve around the headmistress of the school, who fled along with her family after the mass food poisoning. Authorities believe she can answer questions relating to the quality of the food and the supplier. Parents also stated that ingredients for the lunches, like rice, lentils, salt and oil were stored at the headmistress’s house and brought to school each day because there was no storage space at the school.
About 24 students and the school cook remain hospitalized and many families decided to bury their children in the school grounds or in nearby paddy fields in protest. Bihar is one of India’s poorest states and officials are calling for action to be taken against anyone responsible for the children’s death.
Sources: Bloomberg -Reuters