The Geethanjali Global School in Hyderabad's Kompally area has come under fire after allegations emerged that close to 100 of its students had been rushed to Suraksha Hospital on Sunday night with food poisoning.
Activists alleged that 100 children had fallen ill after consuming the Sunday dinner provided by the school. Speaking to TNM, Veera Chary from the NGO, Welltech Foundation, said, "The children had eaten dinner on Sunday night. They were served chicken after which they were rushed to the hospital. The situation was still not normal when I went to visit the kids on Tuesday."
According to Chary, many children were still in pain and experiencing vomiting and other symptoms of diarrhoea.
While the condition of some children was stable, many were still said to be undergoing medical treatment.
When TNM contacted the hospital, an official confirmed that a group of children were brought to the hospital on Sunday night and Monday morning.
"Some of the children were given basic treatment and prescribed some medicines. We admitted children who were in a more serious condition, and later discharged them," the official said.
Though he did not confirm the exact number of students who had been affected, the official said that their number was much lower than 100. However, he did not disclose if the students were diagnosed with food poisoning, or had some other ailment.
Shockingly, parents of some of the children alleged that the school did not even care to inform them about their childrenâ€™s condition.
Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, one of the parents said, "We are shocked at the behaviour of the school management, as they have not informed us even after our kids were admitted in hospital. How will we know about our child's health if the school doesn't inform us? Still many parents are not aware of the incident which is very strange."
Meanwhile, Chary has written a letter to the state's Education Minister, Kadiyam Srihari, over the matter.
"I even called the District Educational Officer (DEO). He said that he is looking into the matter. In fact, we also found out that they have permission only for a day school, but are running a residential one," he alleged.
Chary also alleged that different authorities in the school are providing a contradictory picture on what exactly had happened to the students.
"When confronted, some of them are claiming that it's a seasonal disease. However, that's highly unlikely, as a seasonal outbreak doesn't affect so many children at once, within a span of a few hours," Chary said.
He added: "Others are admitting a partial lapse on their part, and saying that the person who is in charge of the food, has been fired, and a new person has been hired."
"We should be glad that it was brought to our notice. If any of the kids had died, would they maintain the same callous attitude?" asked Chary.
However, when contacted, the school administration vehemently denied the allegations.
Speaking to TNM, the school's Chairman P Sreenivas Rao said, "This is completely false and fabricated news. There is no truth to this."
Rao said that some six or seven students fell ill after eating spicy chicken for dinner.
He denied the allegations that 100 children fell sick, and said that it was only a handful of students.
"As some of them also had fever, we took them to the hospital named in all the media outlets, and got appropriate medical treatment. The DEO and officials from the Food Safety Department have visited the school, and the hospital records also support this," he said.
The Chairman also said that the incident had been exaggerated in media reports to defame the school. "There was an in-charge in our school, who recently quit, and began working with a new school in the area. He is doing this, so that so that parents get scared and admit the local children into the new school," he claimed.
He also added that all the students were healthy at present.