PATNA, India — Soon after they served the daily free lunch they had prepared for dozens of children at a rural Indian school, the two cooks realized something was very wrong. The students started fainting. Within hours, they began dying.
By Thursday afternoon, 23 children between the ages of 5 and 12 had died from eating food laced with insecticide and many others had fallen ill.
Authorities discovered a container of insecticide in the school’s cooking area next to the vegetable cooking oil and mustard oil, but it wasn’t yet known if that container was the source, according to Amarjeet Sinha, a top official in the state of Bihar, where the tragedy took place.