state news

Mumbai: Nearly 200 students taken to hospital after girl dies allegedly from medicine poisoning

Reports say the children took ill after being given iron and folic acid tablets but municipal authorities attributed the death to a ‘history of vomiting blood’.

Parents of at least 197 students of a municipal school in Mumbai took them to hospitals on Friday, hours after the death of a 12-year-old girl the previous night. Reports said the children were suspected to have taken ill after taking iron and folic acid tablets administered by the school as part of a central government scheme on Monday.

A statement issued by the health officer at the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation claimed the girl died “after [an] alleged history of vomiting blood”, and other students were taken to hospitals because of a “panic situation by their parents”. The girl’s autopsy report is awaited, the statement said.

The 12-year-old did not attend school on Tuesday, but was present on Wednesday and Thursday, the statement said, adding that she died on Thursday night at home. The child’s previous history of illness is not known.

BMC executive health officer Padmaja Keskar said the tablets given to the students were “tried and tested”. Keskar said the cause of the girl’s death will be known after the postmortem examination, PTI reported.

The BMC statement said the child’s death caused panic among residents around the school in Baiganwadi, after which 161 children were taken to Rajawadi Hospital and 36 children were taken to Shatabdi Govandi Hospital on Friday. Twenty-two children admitted at the Shatabdi Govandi hospital have already been sent home, the statement said.

“Most are complaining of giddiness, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain,” said Dr Vidya Thakur, superintendent at Rajawadi Hospital. They are all in a stable condition, The Indian Express quoted Thakur as saying.

The corporation’s deputy executive health officer Santosh Revankar said vomiting and giddiness could be due to other co-morbid factors in children. “We are only exploring one possibility of whether the tablet had side-effects, which is very rare...say one in 100 lakh cases,” Revankar said. “There could be multiple reasons for why the children fell ill. Until inquiry is over, we cannot comment.”

The Food and Drug Administration has collected samples of the tablets administered for testing.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Decoding the symbolic threads and badges of one of India’s oldest cavalry units

The untold story of The President’s Bodyguard.

The national emblem of India; an open parachute and crossed lances – this triad of symbols representing the nation, excellence in training and valor respectively are held together by an elite title in the Indian army – The President’s Bodyguard (PBG).

The PBG badge is worn by one of the oldest cavalry units in the India army. In 1773, Governor Warren Hastings, former Governor General of India, handpicked 50 troopers. Before independence, this unit was referred to by many titles including Troops of Horse Guards and Governor General’s Body Guards (GGBG). In 1950, the unit was named The President’s Bodyguard and can be seen embroidered in the curved maroon shoulder titles on their current uniforms.

The President’s Bodyguard’s uniform adorns itself with proud colours and symbols of its 245 year-old-legacy. Dating back to 1980, the ceremonial uniform consists of a bright red long coat with gold girdles and white breeches, a blue and gold ceremonial turban with a distinctive fan and Napoleon Boots with spurs. Each member of the mounted unit carries a special 3-meter-long bamboo cavalry lance, decorated by a red and white pennant. A sheathed cavalry sabre is carried in in the side of the saddle of each trooper.

While common perception is that the PBG mainly have ceremonial duties such as that of being the President’s escort during Republic Day parade, the fact is that the members of the PBG are highly trained. Handpicked by the President’s Secretariat from mainstream armored regiments, the unit assigns a task force regularly for Siachen and UN peace keeping operations. Moreover, the cavalry members are trained combat parachutists – thus decorating the PBG uniform with a scarlet Para Wings badge that signifies that these troopers are a part of the airborne battalion of the India Army.

Since their foundation, the President’s Guard has won many battle honors. In 1811, they won their first battle honor ‘Java’. In 1824, they sailed over Kalla Pani for the first Burmese War and earned the second battle honour ‘Ava’. The battle of Maharajapore in 1843 won them their third battle honor. Consequently, the PBG fought in the main battles of the First Sikh War and earned four battle honours. Post-independence, the PBG served the country in the 1962 Indo-China war and the 1965 Indo-Pak war.

The PBG, one of the senior most regiments of the Indian Army, is a unique unit. While the uniform is befitting of its traditional and ceremonial role, the badges that augment those threads, tell the story of its impressive history and victories.

How have they managed to maintain their customs for more than 2 centuries? A National Geographic exclusive captures the PBG’s untold story. The documentary series showcases the discipline that goes into making the ceremonial protectors of the supreme commander of the Indian Armed Forces.


The National Geographic exclusive is a landmark in television and is being celebrated by the #untoldstory contest. The contest will give 5 lucky winners an exclusive pass to the pre-screening of the documentary with the Hon’ble President of India at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. You can also nominate someone you think deserves to be a part of the screening. Follow #UntoldStory on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to participate.

This article was produced by Scroll marketing team on behalf of National Geographic and not by the Scroll editorial team.