NEW DELHI: Five girls were killed on Thursday and 27 other students injured, five of them critically, in a stampede triggered by rumours of a short circuit in a government school flooded with rain water in North East Delhi. Students rushed out of their classrooms in the Government Senior Secondary School in Khajuri Khas at around 9 am following the rumours.
"Five girl students were killed in the incident while 27 others were injured," Joint Commissioner (New Delhi) Dharmendra Kumar said. Out of the 27 injured, he said, 26 are girls.
The injured have been taken to the nearby Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital. GTB Medical Superintendent O P Kalra said, "Out of the injured, five students are very critical. They are on life support system. Others are relatively stable and conscious. They are being attended by neuro-surgeons, orthopaedic surgeons and anaesthetics".
Kumar said, "There was a stampede when some of the children on the first floor were asked to come down. Apparently the staircase was very narrow. Most of the children got stuck there".
The overnight heavy rains had flooded the premises and once the rumour spread, students started running out of their classrooms, leading to a stampede, another senior police official said.
Police said at the time of the incident, there were around 1,300 students inside the school and all of them were evacuated. Some of the students were giving their terminal examinations.
Delhi Government has ordered a high-level inquiry into the incident. The inquiry team would be headed by Deputy Commissioner of North East Delhi.
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit expressed shock at the incident. She along with Education Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely visited the Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital where the injured are being treated.
"It is an extremely sad incident," she said and announced an ex-gratia of Rs one lakh to the next of kin of those killed and Rs 15,000 for those injured.
A large number of angry locals, including parents, gathered at the site and tried to enter the school premises but police did not allow them. Police have cordoned off the area.
Parents alleged that the school authorities did not take proper care of their children.