|Students of Valley View School, Telco, pray for Bharat Sharma (above) at a condolence gathering on campus on Wednesday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
A Class VI student of Valley View School in Telco choked to death on idlis during a recess scuffle on Wednesday, raising questions on campus discipline and monitoring.
Since the CBSE-affiliated cradle does not have its own canteen, a vendor is allowed on the premises to sell the popular south Indian rice cake. Around 11.25am, 13-year-old Bharat Sharma reportedly bought himself a plate of three. He was about to savour his lunch, when his classmates harried him for a share.
According to some students, there was brief fight over the idlis and Bharat stuffed all three into his mouth one after another. He choked in seconds and collapsed.
His panic-stricken friends called sports teacher Ravinder Kumar, who tried first aid.
“I saw his mouth was full of food and he was unable to breathe. We stroked his back and tried to make him vomit it out, but in vain. Instead of wasting more time, we rushed him to hospital,” the teacher said.
But, doctors at Tata Motors Hospital, which is 4km from the school, declared Bharat brought dead.
“It appears the child choked on idlis. His windpipe got blocked because he tried to eat a lot of food at once. However, the exact reason behind the death can be confirmed only after a post-mortem is done,” said D.K. Singh, the administrator of the hospital.
Having lost their only child, Bharat’s parents at their Telco Colony home were too traumatised to talk.
But, some members of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha trooped to the school after class hours and alleged negligence.
Principal of Valley View School Alka Arvind Kumar was not on campus at the time of the incident, but visited the Road No. 2 quarters in Telco to offer moral support to the bereaved family.
“We never imagined we will have to lose a child like this. The school does not have a canteen and so, this idli seller has been part of the campus for the past many years. Both teachers and students buy from him. Today’s incident is unfortunate. I don’t really know why he (Bharat) stuffed all the idlis together. Such an incident has never ever happened in our school. We will support Bharat’s parents in every way possible,” she said.
Telco police visited the campus around 3pm, but by then the school staff had left. They called the vendor, whose number was displayed on a board.
“But, he claimed the boy did not buy idlis and took it from friends. We are probing the matter and will visit the campus again tomorrow. We will also have to wait for the post-mortem,” sub-inspector Ramendra Kumar said, adding that a case was yet to be lodged.