Arrest warrants issued against six in Kanksa school death case

District police of Bardhaman have yesterday issued warrants against six persons in connection with the incident of death of a class III student of a residential school in Kanksa near Durgapur. In what appears to be a case of food poisoning, 56 students of the Pandit Raghunath Murmu Memorial School in Kanksa fell ill on 23rd of which one student, Archana Hembram, succumbed to death.

Durgapur sub divisional hospital

The state minister for Backward Classes Welfare department, Dr Upen Biswas, rushed to the school on 24th to ascertain how the girl students fell sick. During his visit to the school, Dr Biswas had ordered a two-fold inquiry headed by the CMOH, Burdwan to ascertain why the Panagarh Block Hospital had released the sick patients and anther by ADM (LA) to ascertain whether the governing committee and the school authority had erred. The sick students were initially taken to the nearby Panagarh Block Hospital, from where they were released after giving some medicines and were not kept under observation.
After a meeting with police and tip-off from senior health department officials, the SP, Burdwan, Mr. S M Meerza, asked to issue the warrant bringing charges of negligence causing death to common persons [under Sections 304 (4), 337 and 34 of the IPC].
The accused are two veteran CPI-M district committee leaders, Mr. Parashnath Tiwari and Mr. Kabilal Maddi, principal of the boarding tribal school Mrs. Susmita Pathak and three cooks engaged by Bikalpa, the NGO that has been running the school since 2004 with the help of Central funds. Mr. Tiwari is the secretary of Bikalpa and Mr. Maddi is the member of the governing body.
Mr. Meerza said: “Charges were fixed after going through the primary inquiry report and having several tip-offs that led us to believe that there was gross negligence and the authority paid no serious heed to this.” One student died and 58 others fell sick after having toxic food at the Pundit Raghunath Murmu Memorial School in the past two days. The state minister for Backward Classes Welfare department, Dr Upen Biswas, rushed to the school yesterday to ascertain how the girl students fell sick.
The DM, Burdwan, Mr. Onkar S Meena, said: “The response of the school authority in the incident is really surprising and it is a matter of concern.” He further said, “The school has good infrastructure and basic facilities. Such illness is not fatal and supply of saline, ORS can prevent dehydration.”
The school has declared six days holiday. “Most students have left the hostel. Twenty-five of them, however, stayed back as no one came to receive them. Fifty-five students were taken to hospital. They are yet to be released,” said Principal Mrs. Pathak.
The Durgapur SD Hospital yesterday released 31 girls. Dr J C Pundit and Mr. Jyotirmoy Ghosh, claimed: “Those released are in perfect health. Sixteen others have been kept under observation.
Meanwhile local Trinamool Congress alleges that the incident had occurred due to the NGO’s negligence, and asking for its removal from running the government-sponsored school. Now it’s to be seen how the cloud over the school decapitates. Will politics win over good sense and logic is something to be seen in this case.

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