“Welcome to a very happy school” reads a half-charred board at a private school in Brijpuri area of Northeast Delhi which is now home to broken desks and burnt books after it was vandalised during the violence.
Arun Modern Senior Secondary School, which is over 32-years-old, looks no less than a cemetery, say officials who claim the damage is estimated to be over ₹70 lakh.
“While I am yet to recover from what has happened at the school, my biggest relief is that children were not in the premises when this happened. I do not even want to imagine what would have happened if that was the case,” school principal Jyoti Rani told PTI.
“Our security guard was there on Tuesday evening when a mob entered the premises. Scared by the happenings, he rushed outside to save his life. Only two days later, we could gather the courage to go to the school and all I could see was vandalised desks, burnt books in the library and a mess everywhere. It looks no less than a cemetery now,” she added.
Bhisham Sharma, the owner of the school, said the rioters burnt books worth ₹70 lakh.
“The school has been running since 1987. The incident happened around 5 pm on Tuesday. They came and burnt down everything. We have lost records of 30 years. The only thing we are thankful is that there were no children at that time in the school, otherwise the loss would have been huge,” he said.
Shaheen, parent of a class 7 student of the school said, “Why did the rioters have to burn down a school which educates students? They are burning everything else and could have spared schools. What about the children who are awaiting their final exams? Their year-long effort will go waste.”
At Rajdhani Public School in Shiv Vihar, few student bags, crayons were strewn over, half-burnt models that were part of a recently held exhibition and cut-outs from the Republic Day celebrations last month, are among the remains while the entire library has been burnt.
Security guard Pawan Susheel said, “Kindergarten students at times leave their bags in schools. No student has been hurt. This (the violence) did not happen in school hours. I came today only.”
Similar heart-wrenching scenes can be witnessed in DPR School in the same area. Nobody was present in the premises. The main gate of the school has been damaged making it easy for anybody to enter inside.
Schools have been closed in Northeast Delhi and East Delhi for three consecutive days, while the CBSE has postponed board exams in the area scheduled till February 29.
The communal violence over the amended citizenship law in northeast Delhi has claimed 34 lives so far and left over 200 people injured. Frenzied mobs torched houses, shops, vehicles, a petrol pump and pelted stones at locals and police personnel.
Jaffrabad, Maujpur, Babarpur, Yamuna Vihar, Bhajanpura, Chand Bagh and Shiv Vihar are among the areas mainly affected by the riots.