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Meal tragedy omission in House

Patna, July 26: The 23 Bihar schoolchildren who died last week after having midday meal at school did not figure in customary obituary references read out at the start of the Assembly’s monsoon session today.

The obituaries read by Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary mentioned the July 7 blasts at the Mahabodhi temple in Bodhgaya, in which no one was killed but two monks were wounded, and 10 former MLAs.

Chief minister Nitish Kumar has so far not visited the Saran village where the tragedy occurred.

The school principal has, however, been arrested after eight days on the run.

Leader of the Opposition, the BJP’s Nand Kishore Yadav, pointed out the omission to Chaudhary.

But the Speaker ignored his suggestion and claimed all parties had approved the list.

“The children of Dharmasati-Gandaman (the village), the people who died in the Uttarakhand floods and those killed in the police firing in Bagaha should also be included in the list,” said Yadav, whose party was an ally of the Nitish’s JD(U) till he split last month.

However, the Legislative Council — the upper House of which Nitish is a member — did mourn the deaths of the students and the victims of the Uttarakhand floods. The council’s chairperson is a BJP leader, Awadhesh Narayan Singh.

Singh added later: “The chief minister did not go to the village or Patna Medical College and Hospital (where some of the victims were treated). He said he had a hairline fracture on his foot. But that has not stopped him from coming to the House.”