Calcutta, Sept. 15: The 16-year-old girl who was among those pumping their fists in the air on Thursday wants to say sorry to principal Helen Sircar.
“I want Ma’am to come back to school and I will apologise to her for what I did on Thursday,” the student told The Telegraph today. The girl’s identity and the class in which she studies are not being mentioned because she is a minor.
“I feel guilty for having signed on the paper demanding the principal’s resignation. I was carried away by the crowd and was one of the 200-odd people who signed. But I shouldn’t have been part of it,” said the girl who has been at Christ Church Girls’ High School since Class VI.
She was photographed with a fist in the air amid a cheering group while a police officer held aloft the resignation letter that Sircar wrote under duress.
Away from the tumult of a 1,000-strong mob, the humanities student said that Sircar did not deserve “that kind of treatment, being the head of the school”.
“I am a student. If one had attended her class even for a day, one should not have behaved in that manner,” she said. Sircar had taught her English poetry.
“When I thought about it later, I felt ashamed of my actions. We could have protested peacefully — I had seen Oindrilla Das (the child who died) in school and felt for her — but we did it the wrong way. What happened on that day was a farce, not a protest.”
Mob frenzy can lead to suspension of one’s sense of judgement — all the more reason why adults should be extremely careful of how they themselves behave, a point that was underscored by the governor yesterday.
“If you see 10 other people doing the same thing, the sense of impropriety gets diluted. When children see adults doing this, they feel it legitimises the violence. Children also feel that you can be violent when you are angry and not be apologetic about it,” said psychiatrist Jai Ranjan Ram.
The student today said: “Oindrilla had died on Wednesday and everyone was protesting, holding the principal and the school responsible and I joined the rest. But I never wanted her to be arrested.”
Sircar was arrested after a section of the mob placed a new demand after she resigned and the police appeared to succumb to its whims.
The student’s father blamed television cameras for her becoming “excessively emotional”.
The live telecast of the protest allegedly played a part in drawing more people to the site. The vandals proudly posed for cameras and picked up chairs and threw them.
The student who cheered was among those who gave sound bites to television channels.
“My daughter has been interested in acting since her childhood and, on Thursday, she got excited in front of the cameras. She can’t speak fluent English but gave interviews to national channels,” said her father, who owns a store.
His daughter had repeatedly asked TV reporters about telecast timings and whether she could obtain a CD of the footage. Phone calls to and from friends who were watching her on TV were frequent, which acted as a catalyst.
The psychiatrist said there was no doubt that the television cameras played a part in egging on bystanders.
“When someone sees that their emotions or actions are being televised to thousands and thousands of people and the stage becomes large, their actions get exaggerated and they tend to feel that there is a bravado in what they are doing,” said Ram. “Children tend to project an image even if they do not feel so strongly about it.”
The girl said she felt bad for the Sircar’s 11-year-old daughter whom she had seen several times because the principal’s family lived on the campus.
“I feel guilty about the little girl. She must be missing her mother. What must she be going through? I dread to think what if it had happened to me….”
‘I SHOULDN’T HAVE BEEN PART OF IT’
|The student (left) who was among the many in the
crowd who cheered and celebrated after the principal
was forced to resign on Thursday evening
She has been interested in acting since her
childhood and, on Thursday, she got excited in front
of the cameras. She can’t speak fluent English
but gave interviews to national channels
Ma’am to come back
and I will
I did on
I was carried away by
part of it