Students from riot-hit north-east Delhi shine in CBSE class 12 exams

When communal riots broke out in north-east Delhi on February 24, Roopshikha was appearing in her CBSE Class 12 exam at a school in Yamuna Vihar. On her way back home, she saw burnt buses, shops and houses. The image still haunts her. However, she didn’t allow violence to take her focus away from studies and scored 98.4% marks with a perfect 100 in Political Science.

“It was so scary out there. Many shops and houses got burnt and destroyed in our lane as well. I saw a group of rioters setting a car on fire. I did not expect to even appear for exams at that time,” said the 17-year-old, recalling the incidents in February.

Roopshikha, like hundreds of others from north-east Delhi couldn’t write all the exams. The Humanities student from government girls senior secondary school in Yamuna Vihar-B block appeared in exams of three subjects--- Political Science, History and Physical Education. Three papers were cancelled due to riots. “I wrote my History and Political Science papers on March 3 and 6, respectively. But Geography, English and Hindi papers were cancelled,” she said.

Roopshikha’s father is a businessman who runs a unit in Bawana Industrial area. She said she wants to pursue BA (Hons) in Geography from Delhi University. “I want to study Geography in a top Delhi University college, and then prepare for the Civil Services,” she said.

Due to the communal violence in various northeast Delhi in February, the CBSE had to postpone the exams of four subjects. Some students could not appear when the board resumed examinations on March 3. A revised schedule for remaining exams was also announced later but the board was unable to conduct the exams due to the nationwide lockdown in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. This year, the students have been evaluated on the basis of the average of marks in exams they took before the lockdown came into effect on March 25.

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Despite all odds, many students from the riot-hit district of the national capital have performed well in the exams. Moni (who goes by a single name), 17, another Delhi government school student and a resident of Chand Bagh -- which had witnessed rampant violence -- has scored 96.4% marks.

Daughter of a vegetable vendor, Moni could write only three exams -- Economics, Political Science and Physical Education --- before the Sars-CoV-2 pathogen began spreading in the country and the CBSE cancelled exams. She was writing her exam when riots broke out in her neighbourhood. “I saw a petrol pump burning while returning home. It was scary. I could not concentrate on anything for so many days. But I wanted to perform well in exams,” said Moni, a Humanities student.

Geeta, Moni’s mother, said she and her husband want their daughter to become an achiever. “I could not study beyond Class 5 and my husband also studied only till Class 10 due to financial problems. But we want our children -- 2 daughters and three sons-- to study well. Moni wants to become a teacher. I am so proud of her,” she said.

Kaniz Sakina, 18, a resident of Noor-e-Ilahi, has scored 95% marks in Humanities. She had appeared in three exams- political science, history and physical education. “I was really shaken after the communal riots. There is a clinic right in front of our house. One day, I saw a man with a bullet wound there. His shirt was covered with blood. I can never forget that scene. It took me some time to resume studies after that. But I was determined. I appeared in two exams after the riots,” she said. She wants to pursue BA (Hons) in History from DU’s Hansraj College.

Mujibur Rahman, 17, a student from Zeenat Mahal Senior Secondary School (evening) in Jafrabad, has scored 95.2% marks in Humanities. Son of a barber, Rahman wants to become a teacher. “I was really scared when the riots had happened. Our safety had become a priority. I had to push hard to study for the two exams held in March first week,” he said.

Ganpath Raj, principal of Mujeeb’s school in Jafrabad,, said, “Our students were taking exams when the communal riots broke out just outside our school. We escorted them out from the back gate. We had to convince parents to send their children for exams when CBSE resumed exams. We are so proud of our students. They performed so well in all the exams.”

Meanwhile, some schools said that communal riots affected the performance of their students. Om Prakash, manager at MRL senior secondary school in Karawal Nagar, said, “Last year the highest score in our school was 97%. It has dropped to 96% this year even though we were expecting better results. Communal violence has definitely affected the performance of students.”

At least 53 persons died while around 400 were injured in the riots that broke out in parts of North East Delhi. Delhi Police has filed at least 111 charge sheets so far in connection with the riots, in which they have named 650 people.