Bihar mid-day meal tragedy: Arrest warrant against absconding principal
An arrest warrant was issued today by a court against the absconding principal of a government school in Bihar's Saran district, six days after 23 children from her school died after eating poisoned midday meal.
The state government, meanwhile, terminated the services of Block Education Extension Officer Satyendra Kumar Singh, who was responsible for monitoring the midday meal scheme at Dharmasati Gandaman primary school in Chhapra.
The Chief Judicial Magistrate Narendra Mohan Jha issued the warrant of arrest for the principal, Meena Devi, after being approached by the Saran police in connection with the midday meal tragedy last Tuesday. An FIR has already been lodged against the principal under IPC sections 302 (murder) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy).
Meena Devi, who has been suspended, is absconding along with her husband after the midday meal tragedy which raised food safety concerns. "Raids are being made at different places based on clues about absconding school principal Meena Devi and her husband Arjun Rai but we have not been able to nab them so far," Saran Superintendent of Police Sujeet Kumar told PTI.
The probe report of Commissioner (Saran) and Deputy Inspector General of Police (Saran range) Binod Kumar submitted to the state government has also blamed the principal for the tragedy.
Confirming the presence of poisonous pesticides in the midday meal, the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) said the contaminated food contained monocrotophos, an organophosphate insecticide, after experts examined samples of oil from the container, food remains on the platter and remains of food items in the utensils.
Saran District Magistrate Abhijit Sinha while announcing the termination of Satyendra Kumar Singh from service said the process of termination of the school principal is also underway. Sinha said that in accordance with government directives, the school was being attached to a nearby middle school.
In the state capital Patna, angry NSUI members held protests before the residence of Education minister P K Shahi demanding his resignation. The protesters wrenched off the minister's nameplate and trampled it on foot and shouted slogans against him for the death of the children.
Superintendent of the Patna Medical College and Hospital Amarkant Jha Amar told PTI that the condition of 24 children and cook Manju Devi was showing signs of improvement. "They have recovered and will be in PMCH for another 2-3 days under observation," he said.