Calcutta, Sept. 14: The remote control has been taken away from her and it has been only Chhota Bheem on TV for the 11-year-old girl who still doesn’t know her mother has been arrested.
The Class VI girl, who has been staying with her uncle in south Calcutta, has been prescribed her favourite cartoon show and a new drawing book and pastel colours by her relatives so that she keeps herself busy and does not miss her mother too much.
However, she is not given the remote control or access to any newspaper in order to ensure that she does not come to know about her mother’s present location — Barrackpore police station.
A cousin of Helen Sircar, the arrested principal of Christ Church Girls’ High School in Dum Dum, said: “She had asked us repeatedly not to let her daughter know about her arrest. She said she would be unable to face her daughter if the little girl came to know that she had been in jail.”
He added that the girl was not being allowed to meet people other than her close relatives to make sure that no one told her anything about her mother.
At Barrackpore police station, Sircar has been kept in a room on the ground floor, not in the lock-up.
According to sources, the 8ft/12ft computer room had two computers. The second officer of the police station has his office in the room. Since Sircar was brought to the police station on Thursday night, the second officer’s belongings have been shifted to the investigating officers’ room.
“We are not treating her as a criminal. We are giving her the respect due to a teacher. So, we have not kept her in the lock-up. She is in a room adjacent to the lock-up under surveillance,” said Debasis Bej, the deputy commissioner of the detective department of the Barrackpore commissionerate. Two lady constables are guarding Sircar.
The principal’s bed has been made on the floor with discarded cartons, newspapers and a blanket. The ceiling fan and the mosquito repellent have been kept on. She was served three chapattis and vegetable curry last night. Lunch today comprised rice, dal and curry from an eatery.
A policeman asked her in the morning if she wanted to read a newspaper and Sircar nodded. She was offered an English and a Bengali paper.
“We had expected that she would read about herself. But she only glanced at the headlines of the news reports on her. She read about the death sentence given to the four youths in the Delhi rape case,” a lady constable said. “We tried to strike a conversation with her but she did not speak much.”
Two women came in the morning to meet her and gave her a bag containing clothes. Sircar did not speak for long.
“She only asked about her daughter once. One of the visitors told her the best lawyers in town had been approached and that she would be out soon, but she did not seem interested,” the lady constable said.
Parichita Das, a student of Class X who took part in a rally in the evening in front of the school, said: “We want the principal back. She should be released and reinstated. It was humiliating the way she was asked to resign. But we want her back and we appreciate the disciplinary measures she had undertaken for the school.”
The girls and their parents assembled in front of the school, lit candles and walked down a stretch of Jessore Road to reach the house of Oindrilla Das, a Class V student of the school who died on Wednesday.