New Delhi: In a bizarre incident, a four-year-old girl from Uttar Pradesh accidentally died after she fell into a boiling utensil, cooking vegetables for school’s mid-day meal.
As per reports, the deceased girl, identified as Anchal, was studying in an Anganwadi centre adjacent to the government primary school at Uttar Pradesh’s Mirzapur district.
Sources reveal that Anchal fell into the boiling utensil after the school cook, Lilawati Devi, failed to hear to other children’s cries for help as she was busy listening to music putting on earphones. Upon noticing the dreadful condition of Anchal, Lilawati allegedly kept looking for a ladle to pick her up from the boiling utensil. However, after a few minutes, an assistant teacher from the school, NK Verma, rushed to the spot and rescued Anchal by wrapping his hands in a cloth.
Unfortunately, Anchal sustained nearly 80 per cent burn injuries till her rescue from the boiling cordon and later gave up her breathe in a local hospital.
Immediately after the incident was reported, Uttar Pradesh’s education department suspended the acting headmaster of the school in Rampur Atari village, SK Yadav. On the other hand, local police personnel arrested all the four cooks of the school for their alleged negligence in duties.
Speaking on the incident, Mirzapur district magistrate, Sushil Kumar Patel, informed that the authorities have suspended the (acting) headmaster and asked education department officials to register a case against the cook, who was busy somewhere in the kitchen area while enjoying music on earphones.
“She did not hear the other students who kept shouting to alert her about the child falling into the pot,” he added.
Bringing in light to the school authority’s mismanagement, Patel further revealed that vegetable broth for 126 students was being cooked in the utensil and the attendance on the incident day was just 50% of the actual numbers.
Block education officer of Mirzapur Ram Milan Yadav said, “The child stumbled over the edge of the platform of the area where the meal was being cooked and fell into the utensil. The school staff took her to the local primary health centre and from there to the divisional hospital in Mirzapur city, where she died.”
Expressing grief on his child’s demise, Anchal’s father, Bhagirath Kol, said that his sons Himanshu and Ganesh studied in Class V and Class I, respectively, while his daughter was enrolled in the adjoining Anganwadi centre of the high school.
“The Anganwadi centre is attached to the school and children from there come to the school to have midday meal”, said a peon employed to a nationalised bank nearby.
Interestingly, students from the school revealed that there were four cooks at the school while none of them, Lilawati Devi, Kamlawati Devi, Sona Devi and Rita Devi, were present near the utensils when the accident happened.