Rain, confusion proved killers
Had the ground floor rooms of Government Senior Secondary School, Khajuri Khas not got flooded on Thursday morning, the day’s tragic outcome would have been averted, reports Vijaita Singh.Updated: Sep 10, 2009, 23:35 IST
Had the ground floor rooms of Government Senior Secondary School, Khajuri Khas not got flooded on Thursday morning, the day’s tragic outcome would have been averted.
A security guard, who witnessed the tragedy unfold, told HT, “The classrooms meant for boys were flooded with rainwater, so all of them went to the first floor. When the girls turned up for the examination, a teacher announced that they, too, should go upstairs. As the boys were already upstairs, everyone thereafter tried to come down together, resulting in the stampede.”
On Thursday, the children had come to the school to take their mid-term examinations.
The school normally runs in two separate shifts for boys and girls but due to the exams, around 1,200 students were called at 9 am. They were appearing for the social science, English and mathematics exams.
“My daughter had gone to take her exams in the morning. I did not know that an hour later I would be called to the hospital to identify her dead body. The school authorities should be held responsible for her death,” said Shamsiran, mother of Afroz (16), a Class XI student who died in the stampede.
Police, however, claimed the commotion arose due to overcrowding and mismanagement on the part of teachers in the shifting of classes. But teachers blamed defunct phone lines that delayed communication with the police.
Almost all the victims hailed from Shriram Colony, a slum across the road.
Besides Afroz, daughter of a tailor, the four others killed in the stampede were identified as Ayesha Khatun, Mumtaaz, Monica and Anjali. All five girls were aged 12-14 years.
Ruksana Begum, mother of Ayesha Khatun, said her daughter had often complained about the leaking roofs in the classrooms. “We only wanted her to get educated. I would not send my other daughters to this school. We were told that boys misbehaved with her and tore her clothes.”
Khatun’s father Faimuddin works as a mechanic.