Black soot hangs thick in place of blackboards inside half-a-dozen schools, a grim reminder of the violence and arson during the Jat stir for reservation in education and jobs.
Some the extensively damaged schools, where students are to write their high school board exams, cannot say how they will get things ready for the test as well as prepare simultaneously for the next academic session.
Sagar Bajaj, a 21-year-old former student of Pathania Public School, one of the oldest and most popular institutes in Rohtak, couldn’t arrest his emotions on Wednesday when he saw his alma mater reduced to ashes.
“I came here to make sure things were okay. I don’t think I have the strength to go inside,” he said.
At Shiksha Bharti School on Gohana Road, the mob burnt down classrooms, offices, auditoriums and labs. Besides, nine school buses and two vans were set ablaze.
Principal Sanjay Soni said records of more than 850 students were perhaps lost. His school is one of the centres for the board exam. Soni said he would do everything to ensure students write their exams peacefully and comfortably.
“It is unfortunate to see a school which gave our country soldiers like Kirti Chakra winner Captain Deepak Sharma in such a condition.”
For Varsha Pathania, principal of Pathania Public School, the arson was a double shock because she had lost her husband in December.
Besides burning nine buses, the mob torched offices, smart boards, computer lab and student records. CCTV cameras and computers where the footage is stored are damaged too.
Kishore Chawla, the director general of Shri Ram Global School on Gohana Road, saw his dreams shatter before his eyes. The newly-furnished building was attacked by around 3,000 people. “Everything was prepared … 31 teachers were hired. Equipment were bought. But we are afraid this building would collapse anytime now,” Chawla said.
Haryana finance minister Captain Abhimanyu’s Indus Public School also became a victim of politics as a mob ravaged. Its modern state-of-the art furniture, including the air-conditioned auditorium and spacious library containing more than 12,000 books, now look black as the mob set the school ablaze and damaged the building.