Chhapra (Bihar), July 17 (ANI): Police booths and buses were damaged in parts of Bihar on Wednesday following the deaths of 20 people,including children after they had consumed spurious meals provided by a government-aided school under a mid-day meal scheme.
Reportedly, over 50 children, below 12 years of age, fell sick after consuming meals in a government school in Masrakh village of Bihar's Saran District on Tuesday.
The children were rushed to a government hospital in the nearby Chhapra town.
Some media reports said that the death toll has now risen to 20.
In Chhapra town, children smashed police booths and pelted stones at a police bus following the incident.
Some children with more serious condition were transferred to a hospital in Patna, where officials confirmed that nine of them were still in a critical state.
"We are currently treating 27 children here. Of them nine are in serious condition, 18 are stable. Let's see what happens now," said the medical superintendent of the children hospital, Dr. R. K. Singh.
Distraught parents and relatives of the ill children waited outside the hospital, while some criticized the hospital authorities for negligence."
"The situation inside is very bad. The doctors here and the situation here is terrible. There is no support from the government," said Abhinav, the relative of one of the victims.
The mid-day meal scheme is an initiative of India's federal government under which lunch is provided to students free of cost. The programme hopes to increase enrolment and attendance in government-aided schools.
According to the Ministry of Human Resource Development, the scheme reaches out to about 12 million children and provides them with a nutritious diet in various schools across the country. (ANI)