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22 children die after eating poisoned school lunch

By Mason White 9:31 AM July 18, 2013
The sick children at the hospital 

By: David Ross
(Scroll down for video) At least twenty-two children died after eating lunch at school, according to hospital officials in India.

India Police said that besides those children who died, more than two dozen others became ill after eating a free school lunch that was contaminated with insecticide.

One official said that the food may have been washed improperly before cooking.

The children, aged between 5 and 12, suddenly fell ill Tuesday after eating lunch in the village of Gandamal located in Masrakh, which is 50 miles north of the state capital of Patna.

School officials immediately stopped serving the poisoned food once the children began to vomit. The lunch consisted of rice, lentils, soybeans and potatoes.
Savita, 12, said he had a stomach ache after eating soy and potatoes and began to vomit.

“I do not know what happened after that,” he said while being treated at the Patna Medical College Hospital.
The lunch, which is part of a popular national campaign to give at least one hot meal every day to children from poor families, is cooked in the school kitchen.

The children were taken to a local hospital and then to Patna for treatment, state official Abhijit Sinha said.
In addition to the 22 children who died, 25 other children and the school cook were in the hospital for treatment, PK Sahi, the state education minister, said. Three children were still in serious condition.

Authorities suspended an official in charge of the free lunch program at school and launched a criminal negligence case against the school principal, who fled, as the children became ill.

Angry villagers, joined by members of the local opposition parties, closed shops and businesses near the school in protest of the incident. They also overturned and torched four police vehicles.