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Ex-headmaster of centuries-old Kolkata school kills himself over pension, claims his family

Sunil Das, who was given the ‘Siksha Ratna’ award during his tenure as the headmaster of Hare School, was found dead at his residence in Alipur village.

Ex-headmaster of centuries-old Kolkata school kills himself over pension, claims his family

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BURDWAN: A retired headmaster of the centuries-old Hare School in Kolkata was found dead on Wednesday, with his family claiming that he took his life as he was not getting his government pension even after nearly three years of retirement. Sunil Das, who was given the ‘Siksha Ratna’ award by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during his tenure as the headmaster of Hare School, was found dead at his residence in Alipur village in Memari police station area in Purba Bardhaman district, police said.

After having lunch, Das went to his room for a nap. When his family knocked on the door for evening tea, they did not get any response. After repeated banging, they called the police who broke into the room to find his body hanging from the ceiling fan. Police said they have sent the body for post-mortem and started an investigation. Das, 63, started his teaching career at a state-run school in the Murshidabad district in 1980. He taught at the heritage Sanskrit Collegiate School in Kolkata, and also served as the headmaster of two schools in Malda and Hooghly districts, his family said. . He retired from the Hare School in September 2019 as its headmaster. Just before retirement, he received the ‘Siksha Ratna’ award from the chief minister, they said.

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“After his retirement, he went to Bikash Bhaban (Education Department head office) for his pension multiple times. But, his pension did not start. He often used to express his concern about running the household without the pension,” his wife Sadhana Das. said. “He was in great stress because of this. And, unable to take that, I think he ended his life,” she said.

The couple has two daughters and a son, who is currently pursuing PhD in Mathematics from Burdwan University. With the money Das got as retirement benefits, he married off one of his daughters. “My father was in great stress as he did not get the pension, but he never made us feel it,” his son Samiran said. With Das’s death, a pall of gloom descended on the academic fraternity, especially on the students, alumni and teachers of the state-run Hare School, which was founded by Scottish philanthropist David Hare in 1818.


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