Says she had no information about the alleged “ragging” of the student

Six days after she was arrested and forced to resign following the death of a class V student, principal of Christ Church Girls’ High School Helen Sircar in the Dum Dum area in the northern parts of the city said here on Wednesday that she was “forced to resign” by the police who were acting “under instructions from the mob.”

“I was forced to court arrest by the police and the mob. Given the circumstances and considering the safety of my teaching and non-teaching staff, I gave in. I did not resign voluntarily. The police under instructions from the mob forced me to resign,” she told journalists at a press conference.

The death of Oindrilla Das on September 11, seven days after alleged ragging by senior students, was followed by vandalism at the school the following day, forcing Ms. Sircar and other teachers to take refuge on the floor of a room in the school.

The West Bengal Human Rights Commission took suo motu cognisance of the developments at the school over the past one week and asked the State’s Home Secretary to conduct a probe into the incident by an officer not below the rank of Additional Director General of Police.

“A full bench of the Commission expressed its serious concern over the developments at the school that include the death of a student, vandalism by guardians and a section of outsiders, inaction of the police and the arrest of the principal,” a senior official of the WBHRC told The Hindu.

Earlier at the press conference, Ms. Sircar, when asked how she felt when the mob had attacked the school, said: “Every moment I felt like I could be lynched.”

On resuming her responsibilities as the principal of the institution, she said students and guardians “have vocally said they want me back.”

Ms. Sircar said she was very sorry over the death of the student and will visit her family members when the “time is right.”

Granted bail on Monday after being booked under charges of abetment to suicide and extortion, she said she had no information about the alleged “ragging” of the student.

Representatives of the Calcutta Diocese of the Church of North India, which runs the school, said resignation of Ms. Sircar has not been accepted so far. “We are taking every step on behalf of the managing committee and the diocese to reopen the school as early as possible,” said Abir Adhikari, secretary of the Calcutta Diocese of the CNI.

Meanwhile, over 700 schools run by the diocese and other Christian organisations in the State will remain closed on Thursday in protest against the vandalism and police inaction.