Fearing humiliation from parents and schoolmates, three minor schoolgirls poisoned themselves to death after they were caught stealing from a village shop, in Nalanda district of south-central Bihar.
The three girls, all students of Budhaul middle school in Noorsarai block of Nalanda district, died within hours after they swallowed rat poison.
Panic set in among the students in school on Wednesday when they saw the girls vomitting and struggling to breathe.
Soon after getting information, Nalanda district magistrate Sanjay Kumar Agarwal, superintendent of police Nishant Kumar Tiwari and sub-divisional officer Amresh Kumar Amar rushed to the hospital where the girls were taken.
Agarwal confirmed the three girls, residents of Neusra village, feared they would be insulted and humiliated by their parents for allegedly stealing some minor items from a village shop.
The shopkeeper had warned the girls that he would report the theft to their families.
The cause of the incident came to light only after another girl, Pooja, revealed that she had refused to consume poison with her schoolmates, who died. The SP said the shop that had sold poison to the minors had been sealed and an inquiry had been instituted in the matter.
Julie died during treatment at the Nalanda hospital while Mamta and Priti Kumari died on their way to the Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH), where they were being taken to for better treatment.