Trouble erupted on Friday at the government-run RG Kar Medical College and Hospital during the statewide, one-day strike at medical colleges against the fee hike. Police resorted to a lathicharge on the students supporting the strike on the campus.
“Five of our members were injured in the lathicharge,” complained Mridul Sarkar, convener of the All-Bengal Medical Students’ Action Forum. Members of the Forum, which had called the strike, alleged that activists of the SFI-backed students’ union had threatened the college hostel inmates not to stay away from Friday’s classes.
“When the threats failed to bring in the students, SFI leaders called in the police to escort teachers to their classrooms,” Mridul Sarkar said. When the striking students protested, they were beaten up by the police.
Forum supporters further alleged that the police acted on the directives of the college principal. Its leaders claimed the strike was successful, as few classes were held.
However, police denied the allegations. “There was no lathicharge at the medical college. On the other hand, the protesting students tried to force their way into the Academic Building and, in the process, broke the gate,” said an officer of the anti-rowdy section of Chitpur police station.
Principal Basudeb Banerjee said that barring a few, all classes were held. “Apprehending a problem, police pickets were arranged for, but there had been no major flare-up,” Banerjee said. He denied that he had asked the police to lathicharge the student protesters.