School stampede: Mob torches bus to demand more compensation (Lead)

September 29th, 2009 - 9:33 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 29 (IANS) Families of the five girls killed in a school stampede three weeks ago and other protesters threw stones at vehicles and torched a Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) bus here Tuesday to demand more compensation and a CBI probe.
The protest was held as the Government Girls Senior Secondary School in Khajuri Khas in northeast Delhi reopened Tuesday after the Sep 10 tragedy.

The families of the victims and others gathered outside the government school at around 7.30 a.m. even as girl students brought out a protest march, carrying black flags and placards with messages reading “the girls did not die, they were murdered”.

They demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the tragic incident and a compensation of Rs.500,000. The Delhi government has offered compensation of Rs.200,000.

“The unruly mob suddenly went berserk. They started pelting stones at vehicles passing by and set a low-floor DTC bus on fire and blocked traffic on the Delhi-Ghaziabad highway,” said a police official.

“We used batons to disperse the crowd,” the officer said. As the police chased the protesters with their batons, three people are said to have suffer minor injuries.

Five girl students were killed and at least 30 others injured in the stampede in the school after rumours that electric current had “leaked” into the water that had flooded the building during the heavy rains.

The state government said it would take some more days to pay compensation to the victims’ families.

“Compensation has not been given to anyone as yet. The process will start in next 2-3 days,” Deputy Commissioner of northeast Delhi T.C. Nakh, who conducted the inquiry into the incident, told IANS.

The protesters alleged that it was a “shoddy” and “incomplete inquiry”.

“They did not include all the facts and statements into the account while conducting the inquiry. The CBI should investigate the case,” said one of the protesters.

Police said the situation was under control and extra policemen along with riot control cell personnel and water canons were deployed to prevent matters getting worse.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Northeast Delhi) S.S. Yadav said they registered a case of rioting and detained 30 people.

“We will be arresting people as per the evidence against them,” he said.

Meanwhile, the civil rights group Social jurist Tuesday wrote to the Delhi chief secretary requesting him to make the inquiry report public.

“We have come to know through newspaper reports that T.C. Nakh submitted his report to the Delhi government on Sep 22. However, the said report has not yet been made public. The news of the stampede which took the lives of innocent school students shook the nation and the people of this country are entitled to know the details of the said report,” Advocate Ashok Agarwal of Social Jurist said in the letter.

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