A 23-year-old college student on Friday succumbed to injuries sustained during clashes over the appointment of teachers at a school in West Bengal’s North Dinajpur district the previous day, PTI reported. One student had died on Thursday in the clashes between a mob and the police.
Students and residents stopped three newly-appointed Urdu teachers from entering the school in Islampur town on Thursday, and said they needed teachers for science and English instead. They demanded that all vacant teaching posts be filled. The three teachers then took the help of police to enter the school. Several policemen accompanying them were injured in clashes.
Both persons who died were former students of the school.
An unidentified official told PTI on Thursday that police had baton-charged residents and then used tear gas shells, but had to open fire after the mob continued to throw stones at them. The first death allegedly took place from bullet wounds. The person who died on Friday was among the 14 who were in hospital for injuries. Residents alleged that the two students were killed in police firing, but police have denied the claim.
Shutdown by BJP
A 12-hour district-wide shutdown called by the Bharatiya Janata Party is under way since 6 am on Friday. Protestors vandalised two government buses in Raiganj, according to PTI. Fifteen supporters of the shutdown were arrested. The administration has deployed a large number of policemen in Islampur town, the Hindustan Times reported.
State minister Partha Chatterjee accused the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh of fomenting trouble in the town on Thursday. “We are certain that RSS had a role in Thursday’s trouble,” he said. “They brought people from outside to cause the deaths and indulge in politics of death. The RSS or the BJP, whoever is responsible, will not be spared.”
He, however, said, the government had suspended Rabindranath Mondal, the district inspector of schools, who had made the teachers’ appointments while “keeping the administration in the dark”. Chatterjee is in charge of the Cabinet as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is away in Europe.
State BJP chief Dilip Ghosh demanded an investigation by a former judge in the appointments as well as the police firing, according to the Hindustan Times. Unidentified officials of the school, meanwhile, said they had not sought any teacher for Urdu and the school does not have any student who speaks the language.