UK & World News
India School Meal Deaths: Principal Charged
Police in India have charged a school principal and her husband with murder after 23 children died from eating their school meal.
The children, aged between four and 12, fell ill on July 16 after their midday meal was contaminated with pesticide.
Police believe the poisoning was intentional and say the couple bought the substance two days before the tragedy.
Headteacher Meena Devi and husband Arjun Rai face at least five charges, including murder and attempted murder, said local police superintendent Varun Kumar Sinha.
The poisoning took place at a village primary school in the Saran district of northeastern Bihar state.
The two suspects went on the run after the deaths, leading to attacks on their house, but handed themselves in just over a week later.
Children at the school had begun vomiting and suffering stomach cramps within minutes of eating the meal, which contained lentils, potatoes and rice.
A forensic report later showed the oil the food was cooked in contained the pesticide monocrotophos at very high levels.
The World Health Organisation said it had asked India to ban the toxic substance as far back as 2009.
The tragedy sparked local protests and started a national debate about the world's largest school meals programme, where preparation is often unhygienic.
Despite concerns, the lunches are hugely popular with poor families and authorities see them as a way of increasing school attendance and fighting malnourishment.