A near complete shutdown was observed in Madhya Pradesh’s Chhindwara town on Saturday after the mysterious death of two children in the hostel of a school run by spiritual leader Asaram Bapu’s ashram.
“There is anger among people over the death of two children in the town. Most people have kept their establishments closed following a call given by the Gondwana Republican Party and the Samajwadi Party,” a police officer said.
According to the police, Vedant Kumar was found unconscious in the bathroom of the gurukul (traditional school) in the Parasia Road neighbourhood in Chhindwara – the second death of a student in the school in the past three days.
On Tuesday evening, another five-year-old, Ramkrishna Mohan Yadav, was found dead in similar conditions in the gurukul.
“The hostel management says that the boys died because of a fall in the toilet but the people suspect some foul play. We are, however, investigating the matter. Security all over the town, mainly around the ashram and the hostel run by it, has been beefed up to avoid any untoward incident,” Chhindwara Police Superintendant RK Shivhare told IANS.
“Only the parents and the guardians interested to see their children or who want to take them back are being allowed entry inside the premises. No untoward incident has been reported since morning,” he said.
The ashram was attacked by some people on Friday and police had to use force to disperse them.
A case of negligence was registered against the school management on Friday.
A probe was ordered into the incident by Chhindwara’s additional district magistrate Chandrashekhar Neelkanth and a special medical team from Bhopal was sent to Chhindwara to look into the medico-legal aspects of the child’s mysterious death. The team was yet to come out with its report.
On Friday, many parents came to see their children studying in the school and a few took them back home.
Two students – Deepesh Vaghela, 10, and his cousin Abhishek Vaghela, 11 – of a gurukul run by Asaram Bapu’s ashram went missing July 4 in Ahmedabad. Their bodies were found from the nearby Sabarmati riverbed July 6. Allegations of shoddy police probe led to widespread protests and clashes in the city.