It was just fear of insult by the family and schoolmates that drove three minor girls to consume poison leading to their death in Nalanda on Wednesday.
The girls — all students of Budhaul middle school in Noorsarai block of Nalanda district — died within a few hours of swallowing a pesticide used to kill mice. The incident caused panic among the school children after they saw the three girls vomiting and struggling to breathe.
On getting information, Nalanda DM Sanjay Kumar Agarwal, SP Nishant Kumar Tiwari and SDO Amresh Kumar Amar immediately rushed to the hospital and enquired into the incident. Tiwary said the tragic incident came to light when the headmaster of the school informed the family members of the victims that their wards were found unconscious and had been rushed to sadar hospital for treatment.
One of the students Julie, daughter of Sanjay Yadav of Neusra village, died during treatment at Nalanda while two others — Mamta, daughter of Arun Yadav, and Priti Kumari, daughter of Shivnarayan Yadav — died on way to the Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) for better treatment.
District magistrate Agarwal confirmed that the students who consumed poison were labouring under the fear that 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 lodge a complaint with their families.
The cause of the incident came to light after one of the girls, Pooja, revealed that she had refused to consume the poison with them. Describing the incident as tragic, the SP said the shop that had provided the poison to the minors had been sealed and an inquiry had been taken up.