Calcutta, Sept. 15: Chief minister Mamata Banerjee today called up the Archbishop of Calcutta, Most Rev. Thomas D’Souza, and assured him of the state government’s “full support” to the Church in running its schools.
The Archbishop is the head of the Calcutta Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church and the president of the Association of Christian Schools, an organisation of the founder bodies of all Christian missionary schools in Bengal.
“The chief minister has expressed her solidarity with the Christian community and promised to do the needful to ensure the smooth running of the Christian missionary institutions,” Rev. Dominique Gomes, the vicar-general of the Calcutta diocese, told The Telegraph this evening.
“The chief minister’s call to the Archbishop is indeed a warm gesture towards the community,” said Shane Calvert, the MLA representing the Anglo-Indian community. “We, as a community, are examining ways to register our protest against the vandalism on a minority institution,” he added.
The Archbishop will address a news conference on the vandalism on Monday.
The police crackdown on the vandals gathered pace today after the initial stupor. Eleven suspects, including four guardians, were arrested. Those arrested included two mothers.
After the media conference, representatives of the Church will submit a memorandum to the chief minister and to governor M.K. Narayanan, appealing for the release of Christ Church school principal Helen Sircar.
In the memorandum, they will also appeal for necessary support for the restoration of the school and for appropriate action against those responsible for the vandalism.
The Church of North India (CNI) had yesterday said that its first priority was to obtain bail for the arrested principal.
Mamata, Church sources said, has assured the Archbishop that her government will provide “full support to restoring normal functioning of the Christ Church school”.
The Church had earlier said the school would be reopened only after restoring the premises.