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Armed students ransack college

Islampur, Nov. 29: A week after the Islampur College principal was threatened at gunpoint by a first-year student, the youth made a comeback this afternoon with another gun-toting partner. However, this time it was not the principal alone, but also a roomful of teachers who were their targets.

Akbar Reazunal Islam and former Chhatra Parishad secretary of the students' union Swapan Das, barged into the principal's office, allegedly with improvised firearms. They threatened him for conspiring against Akbar, whose BA Part I results have been withheld by North Bengal University, to which the college is affiliated.

'These two, and a few others, suddenly entered my office, ransacked it, and threatened to shoot me. They then went to the staff room and threatened the teachers there, before smashing my scooter parked outside,' said Uttatha Banerjee, the principal.

The teachers of the college have decided to go on an indefinite strike from tomorrow to protest against the incident.

Banerjee said the university had withheld Akbar's result as he was caught cheating during the examinations in June.

On November 22, Akbar had done the same thing, and the SFI had observed a day's strike in protest against the incident. He was arrested two days later but secured a bail.

Ever since the first incident, classes in the college have been hit. Both the Chhatra Parishad, the students' wing of the Congress, and the SFI, the CPM unit, have been calling strikes and counter-strikes.

Today's furore, however, follows the Chhatra Parishad's attempt to meet the principal to 'discuss' Akbar's examination results.

Chhatra Parishad leader Saibal Mitra said their members were being implicated. 'When we went to meet the principal, his personal security guard Subhankar Ganguly attacked us. The man is a criminal. We will ask the sub-divisional officer, how a principal can engage his own personal guard,' Mitra said. Incidentally, today was Ganguly's first day as the principal's security staff.

Accusing the Chhatra Parishad of terrorising the campus, SFI leader Santanu Bagchi said: 'We will launch a campaign demanding the arrest of unruly students.'

With the teachers complaining to the college's governing body, its chairman, sub-divisional officer of Islampur Gopal Chandra Ghosh said police had been instructed to arrest the culprits without delay.

'Talks are on with the college principal on how to restore normality in the institution,' he added.

Despite the developments, the Chhatra Parishad maintained that Akbar has received an unfair treatment.

'He is the victim of a conspiracy and we shall carry on our movement to have his results cleared,' one of their leaders said.

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