This is a bizarre case of a 140-year-old school that went missing, almost in a night.
When teachers and students of this school in Lucknow's Golaganj locality returned after vacation on Thursday, July 7, a rude shock awaited them.
Their historical school, Centennial Higher Secondary School and College, was gone, and in its place stood a new private school.
The hoardings and the nameplate of the school had been changed and students and teachers were denied entry to the campus.
After this, nearly 360 students sat outside the gate and the teachers took classes on the road.
A complaint was lodged by principal Rajiv David Dayal with basic education officer Vijay Pratap Singh and district inspector of schools Rakesh Kumar.
Officials came to inspect the school late Thursday afternoon.
The principal told reporters: "Around 10 permanent teachers and 360 students of classes 6 to 12 are enrolled in the school. When we reached the school, the name had been changed and we were denied entry. The furniture had been moved out and we were told that the school had been shifted to the "playground under the tin shade."
He said that he immediately lodged a complaint with officials of the education department who took cognizance and ensured to look into the matter.
"It was traumatizing for us. Imagine that you go to school with the zeal to study after the summer break and you find that your school no more exists. It is mental harassment of students," said a teacher.
The school was founded in 1862 as a small school in Husainabad, Old City, and has a long and proud history. It was established by Rev JH Messmore, a pioneer educationist missionary in Lucknow.
Meanwhile, District Magistrate Suryapal Gangwar said on Friday that classes at Centennial Higher Secondary School and College will be held on the campus as before and a police force will be deputed outside the school to ensure law and order from Friday. He issued the directive after DIOS Rakesh Kumar submitted a report to him. He had inspected the school along with BSA and other officials on the complaint of principal Dayal that a private school has been opened on the premises due to a dispute in the school management. The matter related to the management is sub-judice.
The DIOS said that since the school is a government-aided one, no private school can run on its premises. He further added that such a private school on the campus of a government-aided one will not be granted affiliation by the Basic Education Council.