A 10-year-old girl died in northern Kerala's Wayanad district 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.
Shehala Sherin, a Class 5 student, was in her classroom at a government 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. "We asked the teacher on the spot when this happened why she could not be taken to a doctor," one of the students told reporters.
"After almost an hour, we saw her feet turn into a blue colour. It was only after that that her father reached the school and took her to the hospital," another student said as a group of her schoolmates spoke to regional channels.
A teacher has been suspended for alleged lapses and a probe has been ordered. The girl was taken to three hospitals before she was declared brought dead at the last hospital.
"She herself kept telling teachers that she has been bitten by a snake," another student said.
As Shehala's father reached the school, he saw her sitting in class with a bandage on her foot. While she was being taken to the Kozhikode Medical College, her condition worsened and was taken to a private hospital at Vythiri, where she was declared brought dead.
Kerala Education Minister Proferssor C Raveendranath said strict action will be taken if the allegations are found true.
Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, meanwhile, has urged the Kerala government to pay 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".