School Principal Gets 17 Years in Mid-day Meal Poisoning of 2013

2013 picture of sick children being treated at the PMCH after consuming poisoned mid-day meal in a Saran primary school.

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Patna: Three years after the state's worst ever mid-day meal tragedy in Bihar, a civil court in Chhapra on Monday awarded 17 years of imprisonment to Meena Devi, the headmistress of a primary school in Saran district, in the poisoning death of 23 children who perished after eating school lunch.

The same court on August 24 had held Meena Devi guilty in the mid-day meal tragedy.

Vijay Anand Tiwari, the Additional District and Sessions Judge in Saran, read his decision on the quantum of punishment after hearing a last minute appeal by Meena Devi's lawyers.

The court gave Meena Devi ten years under Section 304 of the Indian Penal Code that entails culpable homicide and another seven years under Section 308 (attempted culpable homicide).

With more than 60 witnesses in the case including two cooks and nine doctors, the court, however, acquitted Meena Devi's husband Arjun Rai, a Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) operative.

As recalled, the incident occurred on July 16, 2013 when dozens of children at the primary school in Saran fell sick shortly after consuming the lunch prepared and offered by the school.

Interestingly, both Lalu Prasad Yadav, the President of RJD, and Ashok Chowdhary, the President of the Congress Party in Bihar, had called for the resignation of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar saying ultimately it was he who was responsible for the deaths of 23 children.

Both RJD and Congress are now political partners of Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal – U.


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