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Parents ransack Kolkata school after student dies

Even as angry parents on Thursday ransacked a West Bengal school following the death of a Std V student after she was allegedly ragged, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee assured the victim’s family of action in the matter.

Oindrila Das (10), a Std V student of Christ Church School in Dum Dum on the outskirts of the capital, died on Wednesday a week after she was allegedly locked up inside the school toilet by some of her seniors who demanded money from her. Parents and relatives say the girl was killed by the trauma she suffered while being ragged in school. “The chief minister, today, called up Oindrila’s mother and expressed shock and grief, and assured proper action,” the victim’s uncle Alokesh Das said.

Meanwhile, a huge contingent of policemen had to be deployed near the school after irate parents and guardians ransacked it, demanding the arrest of the principal, alleging that she did nothing to save the girl. Several parents and other protesters barged into the school and ransacked the premises, breaking windows, computers and furniture while the principal hid under a table in her room and over a dozen teachers locked themselves in a staff room. The teachers had to be escorted to a different floor after the protesters wrenched open the windows of their hiding place and threw stones at them.

Claiming that similar incidents have happened with other junior girls in the school, the parents and guardians accused the principal of inaction, despite full knowledge of the incidents. Those who laid siege to the school demanded that the principal be arrested, and that she be removed from the school.

“The principal is responsible for her death. She should be arrested,” one of the parents said, as others laid siege to the schoolpremises.

Principal Helen Sarkar later issued an apology.“Whatever happened is shocking and we have ordered a probe into the circumstances which caused the unfortunate incident,” said education minister Bratya Basu said.

Meanwhile, Oindrila’s parents have demanded strict action against the girls who had locked up their daughter and also rubbished the school’s claim that the victim did not inform school authorities about the incident.

“The girls responsible for ragging her should be identified and strict action should be taken against them,” the parents said. “I have lost my daughter. But at least, her death has created awareness which will help save many little girls from the menace of ragging,” the victim’s father Santanu Das said.  

Bengal second- worst in ragging
Following Uttar Pradesh, Bengal ranks second in the cases of ragging. Between 2009 and June 2013, the state recorded 233 cases while UP had 398.

Anti-ragging portal for victims
After the death of Aman Kachroo, who was ragged to death by four of his seniors in a medical college in Himachal Pradesh, his father Rajendra Kachroo launched the portal. Complaints can be lodged at the helpline number 18001805522, or on websites www.antiragging.in, www.amanmovement.org. 

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