Bengal school vandalism: Christian schools to mark 'black day' Sep 19

Kolkata, Sep 16 : More than 1,000 Christian-run schools will observe Sep 19 as a 'black day' and remain shut in protest against police "inaction" during the vandalism of a West Bengal school following the death of a minor girl student, the archbishop of Calcutta said Monday.

These schools comprised those the purview of the West Bengal Association of Christian Schools (WBACS), the Association of Anglo-Indian schools (more than 700) and those schools affiliated to the Indian Council for Secondary Education (ICSE) board (amounting to near about 300).

"All these schools in English medium and vernacular medium in all the districts of West Bengal to observe Sep 19 Thursday as a 'Black Day' and remain closed," Archbishop Thomas D'Souza told media persons here.

"Schools will remain shut to protest against total police inaction to control the unruly mob, to condemn the rampant vandalism and hooliganism in a girls' school for hours on end causing trauma to the head mistress and so many lady teachers," said D'Souza, who officiates as the president of WBACS.

Oindrila Das, a class 5 student of Christ Church School in Dum Dum, died Sep 11, a week after she was allegedly locked up inside the school toilet by some of her seniors who demanded money from her.

A day later, the 131-year old institution witnessed unprecedented scenes as hundreds of people - mostly parents - ransacked the institution, holed up the principal and other teachers inside a dark room and eventually forced principal Helen Sarkar to resign.

Condoling the death of the student, WBACS demanded the identification and immediate arrest of those responsible for "the criminal act of sabotage, destruction of school property, including valuable documents and the trauma caused by all".

The Association also demanded "immediate and unconditional release" of Sarkar who was arrested Thursday night and subsequently remanded to three days' police custody following protests by parents who blamed her for the death of 10-year-old Oindrila.

"We demand the immediate and unconditional release of Helen Sarkar, the headmistress, who was made to tender her resignation under pressure," said D'Souza.

A court Monday granted bail to the school principal who was booked under several non-bailable charges following a police complaint by the dead girl's family.

--IANS (Posted on 16-09-2013)

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