Five children died in a rain-driven stampede in a government school in east Delhi, as the city woke to a hard driving rain that flooded most areas and forced the office-hour traffic to a crawl. Thirty-three other children were injured.
About 2,500 students had gathered Thursday morning for a mid-term exam at the Government Boys and Girls Senior Secondary School in Khajuri Khas.
The school runs classes in the morning for girls and in the evening for boys. But for the exam on Thursday, they were asked to show up together despite the fact that the school clearly didn’t have room enough for them all.
The boys were sent upstairs and the girls were kept down in the playground. But because of the pouring rain, the girls too were sent upstairs.
“As more than hundred students tried to take the narrow stairs at the same time, commotion ensued resulting in a stampede,” said area police chief SS Yadav. All the dead and injured were girls.
But Shahab, a class VII student, told Hindustan Times the boys caused the stampede. “We were asked to go upstairs where some boys were already present. They pushed us and misbehaved with us resulting in a stampede.”
“My daughter had gone to take her exams in the morning,” said Shamsiran, mother of Class XI student Afroz.
“I did not know that an hour later I would be called to the hospital to identify her dead body.”
She holds school authorities responsible and wants them punished.
Chief minister Sheila Dikshit has ordered a probe and promised stern action against whoever is found guilty.