Mesra student death triggers food slur


A first-year polytechnic student of BIT-Mesra, Nishant, died while being shifted from one hospital to another here on Saturday night, spurring some 50 of his classmates to block NH-33 near the campus around 11pm and hold the “substandard hostel food” responsible for the death.

The institute authorities, however, have denied the students’ allegation that hostel meals led to Nishant’s death by food poisoning.

A polytechnic student of computer science, Nishant, who hailed from Ramgarh district’s Giddi, came down with high fever in BIT-Mesra around 10 days ago. He was initially treated at the institute’s dispensary, said polytechnic director Sandeep Singh Solanki.

Solanki said they also informed Nishant’s parents, who came around eight days back and took him home.

“They kept him at home for two days,” Solanki said. “Later they shifted Nishant to a private hospital in Ramgarh named Hope Hospital, where his condition took a turn for the worse. The boy was referred to Ranchi. His father told us that Nishant was shifted to Bhagwan Mahavir Medica Superspecialty Hospital in Ranchi on Friday evening, where he stayed in the ICU for around 10 to 14 hours. As his father could not afford the expenses at Medica, and there was no sign of improvement, the family decided to shift Nishant to (state-owned) RIMS. Unfortunately, he was declared dead on arrival at RIMS on Saturday night.”

Solanki added he had no idea why a section of students were alleging that hostel food was so substandard that Nishant died of food poisoning.

“Can you believe contaminated food and drinking water will fatally affect only one student?” Solanki said.

“The rest of the students have no health complications. I don’t know why some students have made such a misleading statement. Even some newspapers carried the misleading report that painted our institute in bad light. We don’t compromise with health and education of students,” said Solanki.

Nishant’s parents were unwilling to have an autopsy performed on their son’s body, said DSP Sadar Deepak Kumar Pandey.

The DSP added that they learnt that Nishant frequently had high fever. “The theory of food poisoning doesn’t seem to be genuine under the circumstances. It may be possible that some students had a problem with the hostel canteen and food so they made it a point during the protest,” the policeman said.

He said the highway blockade lasted for some 20 minutes. “Then, students withdrew the blockade on our persuasion. We decided not to file any FIR in connection with the blockade,” the DSP said.

Asked about Nishant’s death, RIMS superintendent Dr Vivek Kashyap said: “I am not aware of the case and medical history of the boy.”

Kashyap added that post-mortem was done under certain circumstances, including when the relatives of the deceased suspect foul play and file a complaint and when the police demand autopsy, but here it did not seem to be the case.