The mishap started taking a communal colour after accusations flew that the male students from a particular community had misbehaved with the girls.
Police teams had to be called in as the residents hurled stones at the school building.
The two communities live opposite each other in the Sri Ram Colony area.
“They keep on getting into fights with us. We believe that the boys wanted to take revenge upon us by hurting our daughters,” said Masoom Ali, father of one of the girls who was injured in the stampede.
Not loud enough
Thursday’s stampede could have been averted entirely had the public address system in the school worked properly.
According to a few schoolteachers, the PA system being old any announcement would be hardly audible.
“Announcements were made to make the boys come downstairs and let the girls sit on the first floor. But the PA system is so obsolete that no one was able to hear anything. So, when the girls rushed to the first floor, the situation turned chaotic,” said a teacher on condition of anonymity, for fear of losing her job.
The police, after a preliminary investigation, also said there was negligence on the part of the school.
“There was total mismanagement on the school’s part. Not a single teacher tried to do anything. They did not have any proper arrangements when they came to know the ground floor rooms were flooded. The very idea of accommodating around 1,450 students in seven rooms is absurd,” said a senior police officer on condition of anonymity.
Relief for victims
CM Sheila Dikshit, after visited the injured at Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital, announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs. 1 lakh for the families of the girls killed in the incident and a relief payment of Rs. 50,000 for the injured.