Dozens Of Children, Aged 5-12, Die In India After Eating Insecticide-Laced School Meal

The food was laced with insecticides. At least 25 have died.

The Associated Press / AP

A free school meal was fatal for 25 children in the Indian state of Bihar. Dozens more are still being treated in the hospital after they ate food that was laced with insecticide.

When the kids ate the rice, beans and potato curry provided by a government program, they started vomiting and suffered from severe diarrhea. As soon as the children fell sick, the school officials fled the scene to avoid arrests.

Krishna Murari Kishan / Reuters

It is unclear how the food contained deadly phosphorous. Either the vegetables were not washed properly, or the food was contaminated while being cooked.

Villagers began violent protests, setting police cars on fire and shutting shops near the school. Authorities have offered the victims’ families $3,370 as compensation.

India’s school lunch program, offering free meals to 120 million children, is the largest of its kind in the world. It was started to reduce rampant malnutrition among children.

Due to corruption and apathy, there have been several complaints regarding the lack of quality and hygiene. However, this is the first time it has caused a tragedy of this proportion.

The Associated Press / AP

6. Indians took to Twitter to express their outrage against politicians and local authorities.

Yet another horrific midday meal incident in Bihar exposes the deadly nexus of corrupt officials and contractors which exists nationwide

— dranandtripathi (@Anand Tripathi)

Shocked and saddened to see callous state of affairs which have resulted in the deaths of 20 school kids in Bihar due to food poisoning

— rubenmasc (@Ruben Mascarenhas)

NO ONE ACCOUNTABLE. RT @dna Women who cooked mid-day meal dead, 12 children buried near school #MidDayMealsTragedy

— HoeZaay (@Jos�e9 Covaco)

Make it mandatory for the school teachers and heads to eat mid-day meal with the children #bihar #MidDayMeal

— NishkaK (@Nishka Krishna)

Can't believe school Head can conspire to kill her own ward for petty political gains. But then anything is possible in #Bihar. #middaymeal

— kk_ind (@KK)

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Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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