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Mourning, tears for victims of Delhi stampede

Last updated on: September 11, 2009 

5 girls killed in Delhi school stampede

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Tragedy struck a government secondary school in New Delhi on Thursday when five girls were killed and 27 other students injured, six of them critically, in a stampede.
   
The incident occurred when students were trying to make their way up and down a narrow staircase after being asked
to shift classrooms during an examination at 9am in the Khajuri Khas Senior Secondary School, officials said.
   
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said a high-level enquiry had been ordered and action would be taken against the guilty.
The government announced compensation of Rs 1 lakh and Rs 50,000 each respectively to the next of kin of the deceased and the injured.
   
Some students said they were asked to shift classes as certain classrooms were water logged due to incessant rains since last night. One the of the girls, going down the staircase, fell leading to the stampede.

Text: PTI


Image: A hospital worker and relatives bring out the body of Lalita, a schoolgirl who died in the stampede
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters
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'Rumours sparked the stampede'

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Police said local residents told them that some boys allegedly barged into a classroom for girls and might have resorted to eve-teasing. Earlier reports indicated a rumour about electric charge in water led to the stampede but locals refuted it saying that the area had no power supply at the time of the incident.
   
"Some students were rushing up while some were running down the stair case to reach their classes as a result of which the stampede took place," Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit told mediapersons.
   
According to some students, the principal asked boys to move into a first-floor classroom for Class XI students as their own class was flooded.

Joint Commissioner (New Delhi) Dharmendra Kumar said all but one of the 27 injured students were girls. Kumar said,"There was a stampede when some children on the first floor were asked to come down while others were going upstairs. Apparently the staircase was very narrow. Most children got stuck there".


Image: Nawab Singh Nagar (centre), Lalita's father, is consoled by relatives
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters
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1,300 students on campus at the time on the stampede

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The injured have been admitted to the Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital.

"Among the injured, the condition of five students is critical. They are on lifesupport system. Others are relatively stable and conscious. They are being attended by neuro-surgeons and orthopaedic surgeons," medical superintendent O P Kalra said.
   
Hospital authorities said most victims died due to suffocation and head injuries. The five girls who lost lives were studying in Class VII to XI and identified as Lalita Nagar, Mamta, Ayesha, Asha and Afroz.

Police said at least 1,300 students were on the campus when the incident took place.   


Image: Masoom Ali, father of Mumtaz, another victim, waits outside the mortuary.
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters
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A high-level inquiry has been ordered

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The Delhi government has ordered a high-level inquiry headed by deputy commissioner of North East Delhi. Some parents alleged the school authorities did not take proper care of children.

Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal said such "shameful" incidents were "unacceptable" and advocated the need for a system to ensure that they did not reoccur.

"The incident is very unfortunate. Such accidents in schools are unacceptable. This is shameful. We should have a system that such accidents should not occur," Sibal said.


Image: Relatives console Shamsiran Begum (centre), mother of Afroz, a school girl killed in the stampede.
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters
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