Five girls killed, 30 injured in Delhi school stampede (Second Lead)

September 10th, 2009 - 2:55 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 10 (IANS) Five girl students were killed and at least 30 injured Thursday morning in a stampede in a school in the capital sparked by rumours that electric current had leaked into the water that had flooded the school following heavy overnight rain, police said.
The incident took place in the Government Senior Secondary School (Class 6-12) in Khajoori Khas in northeast Delhi in the morning. The victims were from classes 7, 8 and 10, who had come to the school in pouring rain for their half-yearly examinations.

Heavy overnight rains had left the school premises, like much of Delhi, flooded and when the children were inside a rumour went around that the ankle-deep water on the ground floor was charged with electricity. The children panicked and started running helter skelter, leading to a stampede on a staircase, a police official said.

Confirming the number of dead and injured, Joint Commissioner of Police Dharmendra Kumar said the injured have been admitted to the Guru Tegh Bahadur (GTB) Hospital. The condition of five students is reported to be serious.

“There are reports that some boys were teasing the girls, which led to the stampede. However, it is not confirmed. We are investigating and trying to find out the exact reason behind the stampede,” the senior police official added.

Hospital authorities said at least five of the injured students are in a “serious condition”.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit visited the hospital and expressed regret over the tragedy.

“An enquiry will be held and action taken against those responsible,” she told reporters. The enquiry will be held by the local deputy commissioner.

She also announced payment of Rs.100,000 each to the next-of-kin of those killed and Rs.50,000 to those seriously injured.

The police have tightened security and have deployed heavy police force outside the school and at GTB Hospital.

“The area around the school has been cordoned off to avoid any law and order problem in the area,” the police official further said.

Parents of the injured children reached the hospital. But they were not allowed to go inside.

“I have the identity card of my daughter who studies in this school but the police are not letting me in. What should I do, I don’t have any news about her well being,” said a grieving father, standing outside the hospital.

No official from the school administration was available for comment. Relatives of the students and local residents gathered in front of the school to protest the “negligence on the part of the administration”.

They threw stones, shouted slogans and tried to block the road in front of the school.

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