By Matters India Reporter
Bettiah: Tension has gripped Bettiah, a town in Bihar’s West Champaran district, as radical groups protested the death of a student of a Catholic school in an accident.
The administration has sealed the school managed by the diocese of Bettiah and brought the situation under control. “However, some vested interests seem to manipulate the situation,” Father Selvin Xavier, socius to the Jesuit provincial, told Matters India on September 28.
A six-year-boy died and seven other children were wounded on September 25 when chunks of ceiling plaster of the Catholic school fell on first graders.
Father Xavier said the school building was more than 50 years old. Bettiah is some 200 km northwest of Patna, Bihar state capital.
Some 30 children were in the class at the time of the accident, said Superintendent of Police Jayant Kant.
The injured school children were rushed to M J K Medical College where one of them succumbed to his injuries during the treatment, Kant said.
The deceased child was identified as Vaibhav Kumar Raj.
District Magistrate Nilesh Ramchandra Devre, Sub Divisional Magistrate Vidyanath Paswan, Sub Divisional Police Officer Pankaj Kumar Rawat, besides the SP inspected the spot and visited the hospital.
Parents of the children and their relatives along with the locals blocked the road on which the school is situated in protest against the incident. Police resorted to baton charge to control the situation and clear the blockade when the protestors started throwing stones.
Father Xavier said the administration has posted police personnel inside the school premises as parents and relatives of the injured children joined by the locals organized a sit-in protest in. They reported threw stones and the police resorted to caning to get hold of the situation.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar expressed his grief over the death and directed officials to provide relief in form of ex-gratia to the aggrieved family immediately.
He also urged the officials to make sure that the injured children receive proper treatment. The District Magistrate, Sub Divisional Magistrate, Sub Divisional Police Officer and the Superintendent – reached the spot for inspection and also visited the hospital.