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Principal arrested after student's death

Kolkata, Sep 12, 2013, DHNS: 2:25 IST

Parents attribute Kolkata girl's death to trauma and ragging by

Agitated by the death of a schoolgirl, parents protest at the Christ Church school building in the Dumdum area of North 24 Parganas district, West Bengal on Thursday. PTI
The principal of Christ Church Girls’ School was on Thursday arrested in connection with the death of Oindrilla Das (11), a class V student, which triggered violent agitation by angry guardians and locals who ransacked the institution.

The agitation continued for almost eight hours, culminating in the resignation of the principal, Helen Sarkar. She was arrested for negligence of duty. An irate mob ransacked the school after news of the girl’s death spread.

While agitators demanded punitive action against those responsible for Oindrilla’s death, her parents alleged that she was ragged by some class IX students. Family members said Oindrilla was traumatised after some seniors locked her in a toilet after school hours, demanding money, last week.

After a sweeper rescued her, Oindrilla went into a state of shock. She was admitted to a nursing home where she died late on Wednesday.

The situation took a turn for the worse when the principal refused to meet the guardians on Thursday and denied any knowledge of the incident.

Some teachers, however, said Sarkar did not pay any heed to the incident despite being informed. Her public apology on Thursday failed to assuage the agitators. “We are really sorry for the child’s death. We will take necessary action,” she spoke into a megaphone, reportedly under instructions from the police. She was arrested later.

The agitating guardians raised a host of complaints against school authorities. State Education Minister Bratya Basu, who ordered an investigation into the incident, said: “We don’t want to interfere because it’s a private school, the law will take its own course.” Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called up Oindrilla’s mother Rekha.

“I spoke to her. She promised to look into the matter,” Rekha said. The girl’s father, Jayanta, said: “My daughter has died, but hopefully this tragedy will ensure that thousands of children are spared of such torture in the future.”

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