Probe Oindrila death, punish the guilty: Father

Kolkata, Sep 18 : Santanu Das, father of the girl who died in a West Bengal school following ragging by her seniors, Wednesday demanded a probe into the death and action against those who caused it.

Oindrila Das, a Class 5 student at the Christ Church School in Dum Dum of North 24-Parganas district, died Sep 11, a week after she was allegedly locked inside a school toilet by some of her seniors who demanded money from her as part of ragging.

"No one is taught to bully or rag... it is very unfortunate that it happened. I want the three students to be identified and marked for this behaviour. The governing bodies and committees should probe the matter," grieving father of Oindrila told IANS.

A day after her death, hundreds of people - mostly parents and guardians - ransacked the 131-year-old school, confined the principal and other teachers inside a dark room, and eventually forced principal Helen Sircar to resign. Hours later, she was arrested.

Now free on bail, Sircar condoled Oindrila's demise and said she would visit the girl's bereaved parents "when the time is right".

Das welcomed Sircar's proposition to visit the family but stressed on vigilance on her part to prevent such episodes from recurring.

"She is always welcome. But I request she should be alert... out of 100 students not all are bad... only some may go off-track... so one has to be careful," Das said as he broke down.

Yet to come to terms with Oindrila's death, Das and his family fervently hoped teachers develop an understanding of the students they mentor.

Das fondly recalled Oindrila's affinity towards her teachers.

He said, "I hope teachers will try to attempt to understand a child's mind and ensure they have ample space to spread their wings within the realms of discipline."

He added, "... My daughter was very fond of her teachers ... she had bought gifts for them to distribute in the upcoming pujas."

The Calcutta Diocese of the Church of North India (CNI), which runs the school, has announced that over 1,000 Christian-run schools will observe Sep 19 as a "black day" and remain shut.

The West Bengal Association of Christian Schools has set up an independent inquiry committee to look into all the allegations and find out the truth.

However, Das refused to comment on whether the pressing issue of his daughter's death due to alleged ragging was being pushed on the backburner with the involvement of the CNI.

He said, "At this moment I can't say anything about this. She is gone and we need time to overcome that first... this pain is unbearable."

"The only thing I can say is that it has brought bullying and ragging in school to people's notice. Hope the awareness spreads among parents, teachers and children," he added.

--IANS (Posted on 18-09-2013)

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