Violence erupted Thursday when dozens of men reportedly attacked one of the base kitchens of the Ekta Shakti Foundation -- a non-governmental organization that supplies lunches to more than 1,200 schools in the Chhapra district of Patna.
The group's vice president, Rajnikant Pathak, told CNN the foundation had already stopped supplying meals to students Wednesday after news of the deaths.
Free meals to tackle malnutrition
A program providing one free hot meal a day to school children has proved incredibly popular as part of India's wider effort to tackle malnutrition. Children ages 6 months to 14 years get take-home rations or are provided with hot cooked food.
The wider $22 billion-a-year welfare scheme aims to sell subsidized wheat and rice to 67% of its 1.2 billion people.
According to the Indian government's figures, nearly half of India's children suffer from malnutrition of some sort.
Since a landmark Supreme Court decision in 2001, all government schools in India have been required to provide free meals to students younger than 13.