A devastating fire in the early hours of Sunday razed the Khasi Jaintia Presbyterian Girls Higher Secondary School in Shillong, Meghalaya. The school, an invaluable part of the region’s heritage since the late 19th century, was reduced to ashes. The calamity, fortunately, claimed no lives.
The old woodwork frame of the school’s structure facilitated the fire’s rapid spread, starting around 2 am, according to initial police reports. All boarders in an adjacent building were safely evacuated and temporarily relocated to the community hall of the Mission Compound locality.
As the only school for girls in the Northeast over a century ago, the KJP Girls’ Higher Secondary School, established by Welsh missionaries in 1864, marked its 125th anniversary in 2017. It stands as a symbol of the region’s educational history.
Meghalaya’s Chief Minister, Conrad K Sangma, deeply moved by the catastrophe, inspected the site on Sunday morning. “Devastated to see the ruins from the fire incident at Khasi Jaiñtia Presbyterian Girls’ Higher Secondary School… The school has a very special connection with the community and stood tall for over 130 years. This is a very personal loss to the people,” stated CM Sangma.
Reflecting the community’s deep-rooted attachment to the school, CM Sangma announced an allocation of Rs 1 Crore from the Chief Minister’s Special Development Fund to aid in the school’s reconstruction. During his inspection, he interacted with students, community members, and teachers, offering words of reassurance and support.
The unfortunate event has been a significant blow to the community, yet, the promise of funding and commitment to rebuild have offered a glimmer of hope amidst the ruins. As recovery efforts commence, the enduring spirit of the school and its community remain undimmed.