Passing through Gandamal village, where 22 children died after eating their mid-day meal on July 16, one cannot miss the wails coming from homes.
Sanju Devi and Raju Shah have lost their only son. “Both my son and my daughter had gone to school but the daughter did not eat anything because she noticed that the food seemed to be blackish.
As soon as my son reached home, he started vomiting and had an upset stomach. I took him to a referral hospital and then to the Sadar Hospital, Chapra, where he died,” said Shah, with Sanju Devi fainting twice while he spoke.
Sanju Devi said: “What was our fault? They have poisoned my four-year-old. Books were supposed to be distributed in school. Had it not been so, I would not have sent Shiva (son) to school that day.”
At Vakeel Rai’s house, three women are on drip. Renu Devi was unconscious. She lost her daughter Khusboo and son Anshu. Mangrawati Devi, whose daughter Roshini is battling for life at the Patna Medical College Hospital, is under medication.
Rameshwar Mahto, who lost two grandsons and a granddaughter, was angry.
“I was in the village when I saw a girl going home with her young brother, who was pressing his stomach. I asked what had happened. She said he was in pain. At that time, I did not suspect anything. But soon, there was a call from home that my three grandchildren were ill. I immediately took them to hospital in Chapra,” he said, blaming the school authorities.
In the meantime, political heavyweights such as Lok Janashakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan; MP Prabhunath Singh and Ram Kripal Yadav, both of the Rashtriya Janata Dal; and Saleem Parvez of the ruling JD(U), among others, visited the village on Thursday.