JORHAT, March 4 - In an extreme case of security lapse, at least 11,000 HSLC answer-scripts were gutted in a fire at the Sankardev Seminary School here this morning. According to district-level officials of the State Education Department, 58,738 answer-scripts of various districts, excluding Jorhat, were stored at that school for evaluation and 20 percent of those copies were completely charred in the incident.
After making an initial on-the-spot investigation into the incident, Jorhat Deputy Commissioner Solanki Vishal Vasant claimed that miscreants have intentionally set fire to the sealed room where the packets of answer-scripts were stored. There is no sign of electrical short circuit or any other cause of fire in the room, he added.
�We have shifted the remaining 80 percent answer scripts to a safer place. From initial investigation I can say that it is a case of sabotage,� said Solanki. He, however, also did not rule out negligence on the part of the officials entrusted with the task of ensuring security of the storeroom.
The Inspector of Schools and the headmistress of the school, who have the responsibility of ensuring security of the answer-scripts, claimed that two watchmen were engaged for the security of the room.
Meanwhile, representatives of various student organisations, including AASU, SFI, AJYCP and also BJP party workers staged a protest in front of the school, demanding immediate arrest of the culprits involved and disciplinary action against the government officials for being negligent in their responsibilities.
The Jorhat district AJYCP unit lodged a complaint with the police against the alleged negligence on the part of SEBA officials, Inspector of Schools and the headmistress of the school in ensuring safety of the answer scripts.