Patna, July 17: The death toll of children who fell ill after having mid-day meal at a state-run primary school in Bihar's Saran district rose to 22, on Wednesday.
According to an agency, the devastated parents buried the dead bodies of at least 12 children just a few feet from the school they attended. Two of them were reportedly buried in front of the school building.
The unfortunate incident took place yesterday in Dharamsati primary school in Masrakh in Saran. Over 50 children, belonging to the age group of 8 to 12 years, were served khichdi as part of the midday meal scheme.
Soon after consuming the meal, kids started vomiting and their condition deteriorated due to food poisoning.
Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) government has ordered a probe into the incident.
While expressing shock over the incident, Kumar has announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each to the family of children who died.
Angry over the deaths, hundreds of people took to the streets in protest and surrounded the local police station demanding action against school teachers and officials responsible.
Many children who had the meal are still being treated at nearby government hospitals.
Two teachers belonging to the Dharamsati primary school are absconding since the incident.
In past, dead lizards, frogs, insects and a rat were found in the food cooked for the mid-day meal, angering students and parents.
A case has been registered against the school's headmistress Meena Devi and other teachers.
Principal Secretary, education, Amarjeet Sinha said that he suspected the deaths occurred by organo phosphorous poisoning caused due to traces of insecticides.
Three police vehicles were also damaged by agitators during bandh call in Saran district today, police said.
"It looks like contaminated food...but we are awaiting the forensic report, which will be out later today (Wednesday) and we will know the reason then why the food was contaminated,"said Minister for Human Resource Development MM Pallam Raju here.
(With Agency inputs)