WB: 2 Youths Died As Police Allegedly Open Fired At Students Protesting Urdu Teachers' Recruitment
Clashes between police and students over the appointment of Urdu school teachers in a school in West Bengal’s North Dinajpur district on September 20 left two youths dead and many others injured. Reportedly the incident took place when students of Dori Bhita High School at Islampur as well as locals clashed with the police and stopped the entry of the Urdu teachers who were recently appointed.
The two youths, who succumbed to their injuries have been identified as ex-students Rajesh Sarkar and Tapas Barman. While Sarkar died at the spot, Barman was taken to North Bengal Medical College and Hospital where he passed away, reported DNA. While families of the deceased claimed that the youths died during police firing, the police have denied such allegations.
Why led to the student clashes?
According to The Times Of India, a team of police personnel had to accompany the teachers to the school, however, situations quickly took a turn for the worse when locals started pelting stones. Reportedly, the students of the school were demanding teachers’ hiring for other subjects like English, Bengali, History and Science since September 17.
To control the situation, the police fired tear gas shells and lathi charged on the students in an attempt to disperse the irate mob. According to the daily, when the abovementioned measures failed, the police resorted to open fire. However, police have denied such allegations and have claimed that only rubber bullets and tear gas shells were used. Islampur Municipality chairman Kanhaiyalal Agarwal told Hindustan Times, “I have spoken to the officer-in-charge of the Islampur police station. He categorically told me that the police did not open fire.” Several other students, locals and police personnel also sustained injuries during the clashes.
A case of political slugfest
Meanwhile, state education minister Partha Chatterjee while taking a note of the tense situation has said that the education ministry was kept in the dark about the recruitments and hence, has suspended the district inspector of education. Moreover, while ruling out the case of police firing, Chatterjee said that the parents of the deceased will get justice.
DNA also quoted the minister as saying that RSS could be behind the unrest and that RSS, the Left and the BJP have been trying to politicise the death.
Sujan Chakraborty, leader of the Left in the assembly has told Hindustan Times has said that while it is natural to protest demanding education, the Chief Minister who is also the police minister should ask the officers as to why they opened fire at school students. Following the unrest, BJP called for a 12-hour bandh in North Dinajpur. Rajya Sabha MP Roopa Ganguly while condemning the incident had tweeted:
How can police fire so easily.. student been killed in islampur.. shameful incident.. pathetic condition in west bengal.
— Roopa Ganguly (@RoopaSpeaks) September 20, 2018