Congress MP Rahul Gandhi has urged the Kerala government to pay compensation to the family of a 10-year-old girl who reportedly died of snakebite in her classroom at a school in Wayanad, his parliamentary constituency. 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".
"I would like to draw your attention to the untimely demise of Shehla Sherin, a Class 5 student of Sarvajana Higher Secondary School in Sulthan Bathery due to snakebite. The incident occurred when a snake hidden in the burrow of her classroom wall bit her. A promising life was tragically cut short at a place of learning.
"The absence of a conducive learning environment demoralizes students and parents alike. Given that the State of Kerala has been a pioneer in establishing quality public schools, I request the state government and the general education department to conduct an infrastructure audit of public schools in Wayanad parliamentary constituency," he said.
"I also urge the Government to formulate a time bound action plan for infrastructure upgradation of Sarvajana HSS, and other public schools in Wayanad," he added.
Her classmates say their teachers initially told them it was 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.