West Bengal police firing: One more student succumbs to injuries
With the death of one more youth on early Friday the death toll in the alleged police firing on agitating school students at Islampur in West Bengal’s Uttar Dinajpur district rose to two. The clashes erupted when a section of students along with locals and former students of Daribhit High School were agitating over recruitment of teachers. The protest turned violent with the protesters pelting stones at the police, who opened resorted to open fire on the agitators, locals said. Sumit Kumar, SP of Uttar Dinajpur, denied the allegation.While one former student of the school Rajesh Sarkar, studying at a local Indian Technical Institute, died on Thursday, another former student, Tapas Barman, succumbed to his injuries on Friday.More than a dozen people including police personnel and some teachers were injured in the clash.“There was a violent mob at the school with bombs, illegal arms and sticks. When police entered the school to help an ailing teacher the mob hurled bombs and pelted stones at the police. We used minimum force and non lethal weapons. One of our constables suffered gunshot injury. Police did not open fire.” SP said.He also said that seven persons have been detained and a section of them are Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers.Locals said that the situation turned violent when two newly recruited teachers of Sanskrit and Urdu joined the school on Thursday despite the students’ demand that teachers for Bengali and science subjects should be recruited as those posts were lying vacant for years.When the students came to know that Urdu and Sanskrit teachers had joined the school, they began agitating in front of the headmaster’s office. “A section of the school’s managing committee members backed the agitation and then some over enthusiastic students blocked the school gate and held a demonstration,” locals said.However, local MLA Kanaia Lal Agarwal alleged that the head master and managing committee of the school were at fault for the incident. “What’s the logic behind involving the students in the issue? The managing committee had the option of not making the two teachers join and asked for teacher of other subjects instead,” Mr. Agarwal told The Hindu.He also said that it was the managing committee which sought the two teachers for Urdu and Sanskrit from the State government even though currently there were no students in the Urdu medium section of the school. “There is a lot of politics going on over the issue and the BJP is trying to capitalise on it,” he said. The headmaster of the school Avijit Kundu and secretary of the managing committee Nishikant Ganesh could not be reached for coments.Mamata blames RSSMeanwhile, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has accused the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) of indulging in “dirty game” over the Islampur incident. “The RSS is playing a dirty game at Islampur. Action will be taken against those inciting violence. If anyone from police is found to be at fault then also steps will be taken,” she said. Ms. Banerjee also urged people to celebrate Muharram peacefully.However, State BJP president denied the allegation and said that “instead of taking proper action the State government was trying to avoid its responsibility”.