Protests over the death of a 10-year-old girl who was bitten by a snake in Kerala's Wayanad two days ago turned violent after the student wing of the state's ruling Left and the police clashed.
Police personnel lathi-charged the protesting students after Students' Federation of India members broke through a barricade and open entered the civil station in Wayanad where the District Collector's office is.The students also tried to enter the Collector's office.
Shehala Sherin, a Class 5 student at a government school in northern Kerala's Wayanad on Wednesday after she was reportedly bitten by a snake bite in her classroom. The child's classmates and family have accused the school of negligence. Thr school's principal and vice-principal have been suspended and an enquiry is pending against them.
A teacher and a doctor at a government hospital have also been suspended. The government suspended a casualty medical officer of the Bathery taluk hospital for not administering anti-venom to the child.
The child was in her classroom at her school in Sulthan Bathery when the incident took place. There was a hole in the concrete floor of the classroom, and the snake reportedly bit her through that hole.
Her classmates allege that the teachers initially told them that it is an injury caused either due to a nail, stone or a similar object. The girl was taken to three hospitals before she was declared brought dead at the last hospital.
Shehala Sherin's schoolmates too took out a protest march demanding stern action against their teachers over her death. Raising slogans and holding placards, the students in their uniforms, took out the march through Sulthan Bathery town and converged in front of the government vocational higher secondary school. "We want justice for Shehala. Stern action should be taken against the Parents Teachers Association (PTA), the teachers who refused to rush the student to hospital and the doctors who refused to treat her," a student said.
A boy student, with a plastic snake wrapped around his neck, said there is not even a first aid box in the school where there are snakes slithering everywhere on the playground and in classrooms.
The Congress's Rahul Gandhi, who is the MP from Wayanad, on Thursday urged the Kerala government to pay a compensation to the family of the student. In a letter to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Mr Gandhi condoled the student's death and said "a promising life was tragically cut short at a place of learning".
"The teachers are supposed to educate the children on how to react in such situations. But in this case, the teachers, despite repeated requests from students failed to take the child to hospital," Chief Minister Vijayan said.
The judge of a local court in Wayanad visited the school on Friday morning and saw the sorry state of the school and its premises and said it was unfortunate. "We are taking the situation seriously," Judge A Harris told reporters.
The District Child Welfare Committee has registered their own case based on media reports and has sought a report from the education department and District Medical Officer.
(With inputs from PTI)