School burnt in Delhi riots sealed, owner arrested
New Delhi: The Delhi police have sealed a private school that was torched in the communal violence in north-east Delhi and arrested its owner in connection with the riots that raged through the area in February, killing 53 people and injuring over 400 others.
On February 24, rioters had barged into the building of Rajdhani Public Senior Secondary School, Shiv Vihar, and burnt some classrooms and vandalised property. School principal Sadaf Faisal said a team of Delhi police’s crime branch sealed the school on Friday evening. “Two officials from the crime branch visited our school without any prior notice on Friday evening and sealed 16 rooms and the main gate. We have not even been told on what basis they sealed the school,” she said.
Faisal said that the Delhi police crime branch also arrested her husband and the owner of school, Faisal Farooq, on Saturday evening. “We have no idea why we are being punished? My husband and I have worked in the field of education throughout our lives. We do not know why police are trying to defame us by linking my husband’s name to the violence,” she said.
The school on Monday moved a Delhi court, challenging the sealing and detention of its owner. Shams Khwaja, the lawyer representing the school, said, “The court has sought explanation from the Delhi police on why they have sealed the school. We have also challenged the illegal arrest of the school owner.”
A senior police officer privy to the case said, “We have arrested the owner of Rajdhani Public School, Shiv Vihar, and are probing his role in the riots.”
The sealing of school has triggered panic among students and their parents with many of them visiting the school on Monday. The school was to restart the annual examinations for classes 6 to 9 and 11 from Wednesday. The exams were earlier suspended because of the violence in parts of the north-east Delhi.
“It’s absolutely shocking to know that our daughter’s school has been sealed by the police. She was yet to come out of the shock of her school being destroyed by the rioters, and now the police have sealed the school. We are really worried about her exams that were scheduled to take place from Wednesday,” said Vaishnavi, mother of a class 6 student.
Saima, mother of a class 11 student, said, “We don’t know what we will do if the school shuts down in the middle of the session? We are just hoping that the government helps us and save the future of our children.”
Principal Sadaf said she has received as many as 100 calls from the parents, inquiring about the exam since Monday. The school had on Monday also wrote to the Directorate of Education (DoE), requesting it to contact the Delhi police on the matter. The school authorities said the decision to seal the premises is going to adversely affect around 1,400 students and 55 staff members.
Binay Bhushan, director of the DoE, said they are looking in to the matter. “We have got to know about the incident. We have directed the officials to make alternative arrangement for the exam. We cannot waste the time of students. They have already suffered a lot because of the violence,” he said.