A Class 5 student of a private school in northeast Delhi’s Harsh Vihar died on Tuesday after she allegedly consumed toilet cleaning acid, which another student had brought in a green soft drink plastic bottle after mistaking it for her regular water bottle.
Police said the incident took place during the lunch break hour when the two girls were eating together in the classroom.
Deputy commissioner of police (northeast) Atul Kumar Thakur said a case of death by negligence under Section 304A of the Indian Penal Code was registered at the Harsh Vihar police station against unknown persons.
“We are probing the case to fix the responsibility on the person whose negligence claimed the life of 11-year-old Sanjana (single name). The liquid that the girl consumed has been sent to the forensic laboratory along with the plastic bottle to ascertain the nature of acid,” Thakur said.
Sanjana, who succumbed to internal injuries during treatment at a government hospital, lived with her parents and brother in Harsh Vihar near Loni in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh. The girl was a Class 5 student at Deep Bharti Public School located in the same neighbourhood where she lived.
A police officer, associated with the case, said on Tuesday, the students of classes 4 and 5 were made to sit together as the class teacher of class 4 was on leave. Sanjana was made to sit with a class 4 student, whose name police have withheld.
During the lunch break, the officer said, Sanjana and the class 4 student had their lunch together. Sanjana felt thirsty and asked the other girl if she could drink from her bottle. The girl gave Sanjana her plastic bottle.
“When Sanjana consumed the liquid, she felt a burning sensation in her throat and started screaming. By the time the school staffers rushed to the classroom, Sanjana began throwing up and fell unconscious. The school administration informed Sanjana’s parents and rushed her to Guru Teg Bahadur hospital. She succumbed to internal injuries in the evening,” the officer said.
According to the officer, they spoke to the class 4 student and her family members and learnt that she took the wrong bottle to school. “The girl’s mother told us that she had kept toilet cleaning acid in a similar bottle and had kept it in the room. The girl mistook it for her water bottle,” the officer said.
Police said they have asked the school administration to explain why police were not informed about the incident immediately.
The school officials could not be reached for comment and calls made to the number available on the school’s website went unanswered. Sanjay Goel, director of education, said the department did not receive any information about the incident till Wednesday evening. On Wednesday, the family members and relatives of the girl gathered outside the school and demanded justice for their daughter and action against the family members of the class 4 student.