Two youth died as a clash broke out between students and police in North Dinajpur district of West Bengal on Thursday. The unfortunate incident happened when students of Darivit High School in Islampur came face to face with the police force.
The two ex-students were identified as Rajesh Sarkar and Tapas Barman. While Rajesh Sarkar died at the spot, Tapas Barman was shifted to North Bengal Medical College and Hospital with serious injuries. Later he succumbed to his injuries. Parents of the two deceased claim that they died in police firing. However, police and administration has ruled out such allegations.
The students of this school situated in North Dinajpur district’s Islampur were agitating against the recruitment of two Urdu teachers, demanding teachers’ hiring for other subjects like English, Bengali, History and Science. Interestingly, Darivit High School is a Bengali-medium school with a strength of 1700 and had no students opting for Urdu language. Hence, the students were agitating since Monday demanding recruitment for other subjects like English, Bengali, History and Science.
On Thursday afternoon, police escorted the two newly recruited Urdu teachers to the school campus and students prevented them from entering the school. Immediately, the students clashed with the police. The students allegedly pelted stones at the police. In retaliation, the police reportedly fired tear gas shells and resorted to a lathi-charge. However, parents of these students and locals claim that police opened fire on the students.
Several other students, four locals and three policemen suffered serious injuries. “Policemen attacked us, there were no women constables on the campus. They abused us and manhandled us. What were we doing that they had to resort to a lathicharge? We were just protesting against something,” said a student of Darivit High School.
Meanwhile, the state education minister Partha Chatterjee suspended the district inspector of education. However, he ruled out the allegation of police resorting to firing. “The education ministry was kept in the dark. We had no information about the recruitment. We have suspended the district inspector of education. Death of anyone is extremely unfortunate. We are investigating the matter and appropriate action will be taken. We assure the parents of the deceased that they will get justice,” said Chatterjee. However, he further added that it is the handiwork of the RSS. “We feel that RSS could be behind this unrest. Not just RSS, but BJP and Left are trying to politicise the student’s death,” added Chatterjee.
On the other hand, Left ., BJP called a 12-hour bandh in North Dinajpur condemning the alleged killing of the two ex-students. The bandh saw mixed reactions among the people. Some agitators vandalised a public bus and asked the passengers to leave. Most shops and stores remained closed and very few buses were plying on the roads.