Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.Reuters

A school in Odisha mourned the "death" of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Friday after the headmaster reportedly informed the teachers that the leader has passed away.

Kamlakanta Das, the headmaster of a primary school in Badapokhari panchayat of Balasore district, was attending a training programme at another school in Santaragadia when he allegedly called up the school's Siksha Sahayak, Prafulla Behera, asking to close the school as Vajpayee had passed away, a report said.

Acting on the instruction, school teachers assembled the students for a meeting to mourn the death. They also declared the rest of the day off and sent the students back to their houses, Odisha Sun Times reported.

School committee member Narendra Das who came to know about the incident, called up Kamlakanta Das to ascertain the incident. The headmaster acknowledged to have passed on the message of Vajpayee's demise to his school after being informed by another teacher at Kotagadiya training centre. Later, he apologised for the grave mistake.

Following the incident, DPC Surendra Prasad Sankua, BEO Dharanidhar Patra and CRCC Umashankar Nayak conducted an enquiry at the school. "The teachers admitted to have conducted the meet following the information from the HM, who too apologised for his mistake. I have submitted my report to the Collector holding Das responsible for the entire episode," The New Indian Express quoted Sankhua as saying.

Meanwhile, Balasore collector Sanatan Mallik has assured disciplinary action against the headmaster. "He will be placed under suspension and if required, criminal proceedings will also be initiated against him," he said.

In June this year, Jharkhand Education Minister Neera Yadav had paid floral tributes to former president APJ Abdul Kalam while attending a function at a school. Kalam, who was alive when Yadav committed the mistake, died of a cardiac arrest on 27 July while delivering a lecture at IIM Shillong.