A stampede at the Government Senior Secondary School at Khajuri Khas in the trans-Yamuna area on Thursday morning left five girls dead and 35 students injured. Six of the victims are in the Intensive Care Unit of the Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital in a critical condition.
The Delhi government has ordered an inquiry by the area Deputy Commissioner and announced an ex gratia of Rs.1 lakh to the families of each of the deceased and Rs.50,000 to each injured.
Tragedy struck around 9.15 a.m. when students of Classes VII, X, XI and XII were in the school to take the first term examination.
"There was a lot of confusion about the seating arrangement because of rain. Then there was an announcement asking the boys to go to the first floor," said a Class X girl student.
She said a large number of girls were in the corridor and the classrooms on the first floor. When the boys reached there, some of them allegedly started misbehaving with the girls. This apparently triggered panic and the girls ran towards a narrow staircase, resulting in the stampede.
A Class X student, Jyoti, said some of the injured girls fell unconscious.
While 33 of those injured were rushed to the GTB Hospital in ambulances and police vans, the others were taken to another nearby hospital. Doctors at the GTB Hospital tried to revive five of the victims, but finally declared them brought dead. They were identified as Lalita, Mumtaz, Ayesha, Monika and Afroz. Most of the deaths were due to head injuries.
As news about the stampede spread, local residents gathered outside the school in large numbers demanding action against the administration.
They damaged a chartered bus and blocked traffic for some time. Girl students alleged that eve-teasing by outsiders was common in the school, which conducted separate classes for girls and boys. The police later barricaded the lane leading up to the school.
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit visited the injured at the GTB Hospital in the afternoon. She said an inquiry had been ordered and the guilty would be punished.
The police have registered a case of causing death due to negligence and are waiting to record the statements of those injured.
The Hindu / Sep 11, 2009
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