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1,000 schools in West Bengal shut in protest

1,000 schools in Bengal shut in protest
Around 1,000 Christian-run schools remained closed across West Bengal Thursday in protest against police inaction and vandalism of a school following a minor girl student's death Sep 11 allegedly due to ragging. Observing a 'Black Day', Calcutta Diocese of the Church of North India (CNI) directed the schools to remain shut for the day.

"They (the schools) will reopen Friday according to regular schedule," Rev. Abir Adhikari told IANS. Oindrila Das, a Class 5 student at Christ Church school in Dum Dum in North 24-Parganas district, died a week after she was allegedly locked up inside the school toilet by some of her seniors who demanded money from her as part of ragging.

A day after her death, hundreds of angry parents and guardians ransacked the 131-year-old school and forced principal Helen Sircar to resign. She was arrested and later released on bail.

Sircar virtually accused police and the mob of colluding during the vandalism. As per CNI's directive, 700 institutions under the West Bengal Association of Christian Schools and the Association of Anglo-Indian Schools, and about 300 schools affiliated to the Indian Council for Secondary Education (ICSE) remained closed Thursday.

Several teachers of schools under the ICSE board did not hold routine classes and observed a prayer service in Oindrila's memory and seminars on teacher-student relationship.

Over a dozen people have been arrested so far for the vandalism that resulted in the loss of valuable documents, including those submitted by class 10 and class 12 students for their upcoming board exams.

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