Delhi riots leave burnt books, broken benches in school

New Delhi: Communal violence that has gripped centrally governed national capital Delhi witnessed loss of lives, property, vandalism of prayer sites, adding to all the educational institutes were not spared too.

Broken benches, burnt books, charred school bus- the aftermath of the arson attack on a school that has been peacefully running for the past 34 years in East Delhi’s New Mustafabad an area home to Majority Muslims.

Recalling the horror of the communal riot, Abhishek Sharma owner of Arun Modern Public School affiliated to CBSE said what has happened was beyond his imagination as such violence was never witnessed before.

Fortunately, the school was empty at the time of arson attack except a security guard who managed to escape from the school’s back gate at the nick of the time before the arson started.

“At around 4 pm on Tuesday, mobs entered the premises of the school and started torching classrooms,” said the school’s principal Asha Rani.

Attended by both the communities, Hindu as well as Muslim students from the vicinity as well as other parts of East Delhi, Sharma said: “Something like this has never happened before. We have always been a peaceful neighbourhood with both Hindus and Muslims” Sharma said.

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Sharma estimated the property loss between Rs 1.5-2 crore adding, “They either burnt or took away the printers, computers, even the tank. They even vandalised the bathrooms”.

Records, School bus burnt

None of the school records, documents remained after the riots said Rani adding, “We don’t know where to start rebuilding from”.

Hundreds of discarded toothpaste boxes lay strewn in the school’s courtyard as the rioters mixed toothpaste with petrol in alcohol bottles and threw them inside the school.

Neetu Chuadhary, the cashier of the school says the fire department took at least five hours to arrive.

“I could see the flames rising from my own home from 4 pm onwards, that’s how big the fire was,” she said.

“However, no fire department authorities or police arrived till 8 pm. There was no assistance,” she continued.

Since the school is close to Faruquiya Jama Masjid on the nearby Brijpuri crossing that was also torched by violent mobs some two hours later, nearly 40 Madrasa students were inside the seminary when the attack took place.

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According to locals, Police response in the violence matter was almost nil. “They went inside the records room, broke the cupboards and purposefully burnt all documents. Why would anyone do that?” Chaudhary said.

The school which has nearly thousand students with a 70 member school staff, all records are burnt, the school administration is now trying to contact the parents and students whose admits cards are still with the school.

“The area has been tense since Sunday night so many class 10 and 12 students did not come to collect their admit cards. We want to have it sent to them in some way so that they don’t miss their examinations,” the school’s principal said.

The Central Secondary board of Education postponed the examinations of  Class 10 and Class 12 in East Delhi following an order by the Delhi High Court while the school has managed to file an FIR on Thursday.

“The school has been around for decades and was a pillar of our harmonious community. It is unthinkable why rioters would destroy an education institution,” said another resident.

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