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Tease protester pulled out of class, thrashed

Gede, July 20: A schoolboy was dragged out of his classroom and thrashed this morning for having raised his voice against a gang of four teasing a girl as others on a packed train looked the other way.

The four were brushing ag- ainst the Class VII girl and hollering marriage proposals and other lewd remarks when Rintu Das stepped in.

The Sealdah-bound train was leaving Gede station in Nadia around then.

The Class XII boy stood between the four and the girl. They tried to pull her arm.

Rintu sought help from the other passengers, most of them regulars, but in vain. Then he threatened to call police when the train stopped at the next station, Banpur.

As the train pulled into Banpur, the four hopped out and ran away.

Half an hour later, eight youths vroomed into Rail Bazar High School in Majdia, about 120km from Calcutta.

While four stood at the school entrance, the rest went to the third floor, threatened the class with dire consequences if the students raised an alarm, and pulled Rintu out.

Armed with knuckle-dusters, they punched him repeatedly. The rowdies, whom Rintu knew by face, left him as he slumped to the ground unconscious.

It was around 11am, half an hour before the school began. The students and teachers who had come early took Rintu to the Krishnagunj block hospital. Five stitches were put on his forehead.

Police said the girl being teased was Rintu’s neighbour.

“You wouldn’t believe, how crude they were. One of them shouted that he wanted to marry her. The girl looked helplessly at me. I moved between the men and her and politely told them not to disturb her, but they continued to tease her,” said Rintu, sitting on a bed in his house in Gede.

Culture-conscious Bengal is familiar with his co-passengers’ indifference towards the schoolgirl’s plight.

Hotel management student Jagannath Dey was pushed off a bus in Salt Lake and beaten up for protesting against eve-teasing only a few days ago. None of the passengers protested.

Rintu said the indifference made his resolve to protect the Class VII girl firmer. “I became desperate and told the youths that I will call the police. That worked. But they threatened me before getting off,” he said.

Headmaster Manoj Biswas said the goons “had taken control of the school” for a few minutes. “They are known ruffians. The students and teachers present were too scared to resist,” added Biswas, who arrived after the gang had left.

Nadia superintendent of police H.K. Kusumakar said: “They will not go scot-free.”

Unlike in the Salt Lake incident, where the victim refu- sed to show up before the police, the Class VII girl vowed to identify those who tormented her on the train. “They had been disturbing me for almost a year,” she said.

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