|Bipin Chandra Roy.Picture by Anirban Choudhury|
TT, Alipurduar, July 8: Around 500 students of a high school and their guardians demonstrated at the headmaster’s office for around three hours today protesting his transfer and asking him not to leave the institution.
The agitation was lifted after Volka High School headmaster Bipin Chandra Roy, who started awareness drives to stop child marriages in the area, assured the demonstrators that he would not leave.
The school near the Assam-Bengal border is 45km from Alipurduar town. It started functioning in 2003 as a junior high school and in May 2004, Roy joined as the headmaster.
Within a couple of years, Roy mobilised other teachers of the school to organise awareness campaigns in the area after he saw that girl students of Classes VI and VII were being married off by their families.
Roy found out that after marriage, the parents of the girls were collecting their transfer certificates from the school, which is needed to change schools and get documents like ration cards. Roy convened a meeting of the school managing committee where it was decided that the school would not issue transfer certificates to any girl below 18 years.
Awareness campaigns for girls were also introduced in the classes.
The co-educational school has more than 1,000 students.
Last year, Roy applied for a transfer. The resident of Alipurduar town said he had to travel for around two hours everyday to reach the school and another two hours to return.
“I have to take a bus to Barobisha, which takes around an hour. From there, I have to take a van rickshaw and travel another 5km to reach the school. It takes around two hours for a one-way trip. I had applied for a transfer last year and recently, I got the order asking me to join Shyamaprasd High School in Alipurduar,” said Roy, 52, who received the order last month.
After the news of the transfer spread, several students, guardians, teachers, managing committee members and self-help groups involved in preparing midday meals in the school spoke to Roy asking him not to leave.
Today around 12.30pm, students and their parents, along with some local people assembled in Roy’s office and demanded an assurance from him.
Sudhan Das, a guardian, said: “Roy has done a lot for the school and as a result in seven years the school got the status of a higher secondary institution. Studies, standard of midday meals and so many other things have improved under Roy. Most important, he could stop many girls from getting married off .”
Das added the guardians apprehended that if Roy left, the students would suffer. ” We have decided that we will not allow him to leave. Today, we surrounded Roy for three hours. We are happy with his decision.”
No classes were held today because of the agitation.
” I was forced to assure the students and guardians that I would not leave the school. I will not be able to apply for a transfer in the next three years. Today, I realised that the students and their guardians love me a lot,” Roy said.
Tapan Kumar Sinha, the district inspector of schools (secondary), Alipurduar, said: “The head teacher can stay in the same school if he desires. But he will not be able to apply for a transfer for three years.”