Bihar mid-day meal tragedy: Parents raise question on role of principal, husband

Bihar TragedyA doctor checks a school child who fell ill after consuming contaminated mid-day meal, at Patna Medical College & Hospital in Patna. (PTI)

Parents of children who died after eating midday meal at the Gandaman primary school have questioned the role of Principal Mina Devi and her husband Arjun Prasad Yadav. They say that a day before the tragedy, the school authorities sent a message to the guardians asking them to definitely send their wards to school on Tuesday. They add that Devi and Yadav also visited some of them to ensure that students attend school the next day. Related: Cook who lost 8 children from family fights for life

Raju Sah, who lost his seven-year-old son Shiva, said, "On Monday, Yadav came to my house, requesting me to send Shiva to school on Tuesday as books would be distributed. This was the first time that the Principal's husband made such a request." Raju and his wife Sanju Devi are now determined not to allow their daughter Laxmi eat midday meal. "We are thinking of shifting her to a private school. It is better our child remains illiterate than attend a government school and eat poisoned food," they said. The couple said that midday meal was never a motivation for them to send children to school. "As there is no school nearby, I had to enrol my children in a government school," Raju said.

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Prabhabati Devi, who lost her nephew and niece in the tragedy, said, "The Principal sent a message to send children to school on Tuesday as some textbooks were to be distributed. If her conscience is clear, why is Devi absconding?"

Police do not rule out conspiracy. DGP Abhayanand said, "We are probing all the angles. We will talk to victims' families. We have spoken to the cook who claimed to have alerted the principal about the colour of the oil but was told to use it nevertheless. We are looking for the principal."

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