Indian Catholic News

Ragging death: school reopens

Guardians heaved a sigh of relief standing outside school gates.

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After remaining closed for a fortnight, Christ Church Girls' High School in Kolkata opened its gates for the students Friday.

Leaving behind ugly memories of campus vandalism, the students made a dash for their classrooms to make up for the lost time.

Their guardians, meanwhile, heaved a sigh of relief standing outside school gates.

Though smiling faces made a happy scene under the watch of a strong police contingent, a pensive mood over the loss of Oindrila Das hung heavy on the overall ambience inside and outside the school.

Class V student Debasmita Mullick, a close friend of Oindrila, was in two moods. "I am so happy that I am going back to school. When Santanu Kaku (Oindrila's father) told me that school will reopen before the Pujas, I could not believe him. But I'm sad that I will not be seeing Oindrila around. I do not know with whom I will share my tiffin now," she rued as she watched the school bus number 4, which the two girls used to take to school, enter the school premises at 9.15am.

Surprisingly, bus number 4 plied empty on Friday.

The guardians did not want to put their children on the bus where memories of Oindrila were so fresh.

"We were not sure how Debasmita would react once she doesn't find her friend Oindrila. I thought it was better to drop her myself on the first day," said Paras Mullick, her grandfather.

"The vandals neither cared about the prestige of this institution nor were they concerned about their daughters' future. When the school reopened on Friday, the only person we are missing is little Oindrila," said Samir Dhar, whose daughter studies in Class IX.

Dhar is one of the leading members of the Guardians' Forum that has played an active role in drumming up support for principal Helen Sircar.

Dhar's daughter Shreya said she felt absolutely safe. "I know there are cops to take care of us now," she said.

Unfortunately, the same cops had remained passive spectators as scores of guardians and outsiders went on the rampage and destroyed school property on September 11.

On Friday, over 500 guardians had lined up on both sides of the road leading to the school with a visible sense of relief on their faces.

Most chose to stay back till school got over, eager to soak in everything that went inside the school under the leadership of acting principal, Semanti Gozalves.

The first day though threw up a lot of positives - school buses arriving packed to capacity and all teachers reporting for duty.

Five guardians - representing the Guardians' Forum - met school authorities at noon to chart out the next course of action.

"It seems I had missed school for ages. I hope the school and the Madhyamik board help us complete all formalities for our board exam," said Riya Ganguly, a Class X student.

Parents though seemed worried over the half-yearly and pre-board exams that are most likely to be rescheduled. Most fear they have to cut short their Puja trips.

"My daughter's viva voce exams were underway when the school had to close down. But now I fear that the exams will be rescheduled right after the Puja vacation. I do not know how I can force her to study during the festive period," said Moon Moon Das, mother of a Class III student.

However, principal Helen Sircar's return to school remained a mystery. While rumors did the rounds that she would join next Monday, sources claimed she would wait till September today when her bail plea expires.

Source: times of India

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