The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Expelled girl back but baffled by protest

Raiganj, Aug. 17: The battle has not ended for Deepali Roy.

The Class IX girl, who was expelled because she had got married while still in school, was confronted by stiff resistance when she walked back into Bhupal Chandra Vidyapith this morning. This time, the protest was from the students rather than the authorities of the school.

The managing committee of the institution, which had expelled her, changed its stand after the district inspector (DI) of schools ordered it to allow the 15-year-old to fill up her registration form for the 2009 Madhyamik examinations.

The directive prompted Deepali to return to school this morning. But around 1,500 students — from Classes V to Class X — boycotted classes and tried to prevent her from entering the premises when she arrived at 10.45am. Slogans like, “We won’t allow any married girls in our school”, rent the air.

Though she entered school 45 minutes later escorted by police, headmaster Saroj Kumar Jha sent Deepali back “because he did not want any untoward incident (like lathicharge) to happen on campus”.

What baffled Deepali was the volte-face of her schoolmates who had been by her side all along. They had even stood by her, she claimed, when she was expelled.

“I think it is something to do with the teachers. They must have instigated them. But I am not going to relent. I am determined to sit for Madhyamik from this very school,” the girl said.

Deepali, however, managed to submit all documents needed for filling up the form to Jha. The headmaster said the managing committee has cancelled its earlier resolution — adopted five years ago — to not allow married students to continue in school. “Now, we have no problem with Deepali studying in our school. But the other students are opposed to the revision of the resolution. They submitted a memorandum to me and boycotted classes,” Jha said.

He, however, denied the allegation that some teachers were behind the act. “We expelled her because it was against our rules, but since that has been done away with it, we have no problem. As for the students, I can’t say anything.”

The headmaster said he had tried to get in touch with the DI of schools but failed. “Once the situation becomes normal, I will get Deepali to sign the form,” he added.

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