Four days after she was arrested for the death of a Class 5 student, the principal of Christ Church Girls School in Kolkata, Helen Sircar, was released on bail today - a move welcomed by several students and their parents who are hoping she would be back to school soon.
The Church of North India or CNI, which runs the school, is yet to accept the resignation she was forced to submit on by an unruly mob last Thursday. The CNI has also called upon the 700 schools it runs in West Bengal to observe black day on September 19 to protest the vandalism at Christ Church.
The mob had gheraoed the principal on Thursday, forced her to apologise and then resign, blaming her for the death of Oindrilla Das, who died last Wednesday, eight days after being locked up in a school bathroom for several hours. The seniors had demanded Rs 100 from Oindrilla which she had been unable to produce.
After she resigned, the police arrested Helen Sircar.
Free at last after getting bail this afternoon, Ms Sircar first went to a temple and then home to her 12-year-old daughter.
Outside the school, students and parents put up posters to welcome her back. Parents also met the education minister to demand the school be reopened at the earliest.
"I am so happy for this. She has got bail. This is like sunshine, the only silver lining we have got in the last few days," said a class X student of the school.
Parent Konkona Das said, "We are very happy. The way our principal was arrested, it was completely wrong. We want her back and look after our daughters."
"The mob was forcing the police. So police had no other way than to tell the principal to tender her resignation. But that is unacceptable because that was done under duress," said a CNI official.
14 people - 4 parents and 10 outsiders - have been arrested so far for the vandalism at the school.