Charred classrooms, burnt books and scattered files are all that remain of a school set on fire by a mob in the violence that engulfed the densely-populated northeastern neighborhoods of Delhi since Sunday. Over 30 people have died and over 200 injured after four straight days of violence that saw vandalism, arson and stone-throwing.
On Tuesday, the senior secondary school, where 3,000 children studied, had been in flames for four hours before the firemen came. There were no students as they had left after exams in the morning.
Hundreds of text books, notebooks, examination papers and documents were reduced to ashes. Luckily, the mob arrived at the school when the students were long gone.
The lone security guard on the premises managed to escape unhurt.
"Around 250 to 300 people came from all sides. The watchman didn't know what to do. He escaped from the back gate. The flames that rose up could be seen by everyone," Neetu Chaudhary, the cashier of Arun Modern Senior Secondary School, told NDTV.
The school official said firefighters showed up at 8 pm. The school was set on fire at 4 pm.
"We kept calling the police and the fire department but no one could reach here at that time because there was unrest everywhere," she said.
The rampaging mob ransacked the teachers' lockers and threw all their files and books on the floor.
Three days on, parts of the school complex were still smouldering as staff members tried to pick up the few items that were saved.
While a charred school bus stood parked outside, burnt monitors and CPUs were seen piled up in the computer room of the school.
Classrooms and the school canteen too were not spared by the mob. We spotted packets of Kurkure and Lay's potato chips strewn on the floor of the canteen.
With blackened walls and burnt items lying all over the floor, the rooms where the school principal and the cashier sat were beyond recognition. "Today, as you can see, there's nothing left," Ms Chaudhary said as she showed us the office where she worked for 18 years.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has announced financial compensation for schoolchildren who have lost their books and uniforms in the violence.
The unprecedented violence, that has left several other neighbourhoods looking like war zones, led to the postponement of CBSE board exams in northeast Delhi.