Locals claim he was electrocuted by live wire; school denies this

Over a hundred residents of Minjur, gathered on Minjur Main Road on Wednesday, protesting the death of a schoolboy. An hour later, they dispersed peacefully, after the arrival of a large contingent of police personnel.

Grief and outrage has rocked this small town in Thiruvallur district, after 12-year-old B. Lokesh, a class V student, died under mysterious circumstances on Tuesday evening.

According to local residents, Lokesh, a student of Venkateswara Vidyalaya Matriculation School in Nandiambakkam village, was at a tuition class along with a group of his classmates, when he came into contact with a live wire from an open electricity circuit box. The class was being held in the school’s open auditorium, and the circuit box was attached to a side wall in it. Lokesh was electrocuted and fell on the ground.

A few of his classmates, teachers and some parents rushed the boy to a private hospital about 2 km away in Minjur, the closest hospital to the school. However, Lokesh was declared brought dead.

Lokesh’s parents and relatives immediately informed Minjur police about the incident. Later on Tuesday evening, the boy’s body was taken to the Government General Hospital in Ponneri, about 6 km from Minjur, for a post-mortem examination.

However, the duty doctor at the hospital, Dr. Ranjit, asked for the body to be shifted to the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital in Chennai, saying the Ponneri hospital had no facilities to conduct an autopsy.

Meanwhile, school authorities claimed that Lokesh had fallen from the auditorium’s stage to the ground, and that this had resulted in his death.

A police officer with the Minjur station however, said, this did not seem likely. “The height between the auditorium’s stage and the ground is barely two feet. A fall from there could not have resulted in the boy’s death. But the exact cause of death will only be known after the post mortem,” he said.

S. Ramesh, a school student who was in the class, said, “Lokesh was trying to look at some lizard eggs that were on an electricity box, when he suddenly fell to the ground.”

On Wednesday, the school, a two-storey building with about 400 students, was deserted. A blackboard at its entrance proudly displays the 100 per cent pass scores of its class X students over the last six years. But with the anxiety that has gripped the village, the school, which was to begin its half-yearly examinations on Wednesday, has shut down for the week.

“Such an incident has never occurred, since this school opened 12 years ago. After this, we are a worried about our children’s safety. But with only a few months were left for the end of academic year, we have no option than to send our wards there,” said C Kathirravan, a parent.  

Interestingly, police said that the usual two-hour power cut, which in this locality is between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., did not take place on Tuesday. The school and other nearby buildings had electricity when the incident took place. “Heavy rains over the past few days have also damaged several open electricity points, making them hazardous,” said a police official.