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‘Protest’ blows land teacher in hospital
- After the rampage

Alipurduar, Sept. 14: The headmaster of a school here was beaten up for allegedly forcing students to attend an SFI meeting.

Chhatra Parsihad (CP) supporters, who went on the rampage at McWilliam High School this afternoon, reportedly punched headmaster Sudhangshu Biswas in the face and even tried beating him up with a baton. He was saved by the timely intervention of a teacher, who took the blow on his arm. Another teacher said the CP supporters had not given the headmaster any chance to speak and that the allegations levelled by them were baseless.

Biswas has been admitted to Alipurduar hospital, where doctors said his condition was serious. His fingers have been operated on to remove pieces of glass that got embedded after the attackers broke a glass tabletop in his room and pushed him around.

Anup Das, the working president of the CP — the student wing of the Congress — in Jalpiguri district has been arrested. He was among the 11 named in the FIR filed by the headmaster, inspector-in-charge of Alipurduar police station Sitanath Das said. However, Biswaranjan Sarkar, the secretary of the school managing committee and the president of the Congress district committee, claimed that Anup was with him when the incident took place. “However, the CP members should have come to us instead of going to the school. Moreover, I will enquire into how the police allowed loudspeakers to be used (by the SFI) in front of the institution.”

The CPM has called a 12-hour bandh in Alipurduar town tomorrow while its affiliate, the SFI, has called a student strike in the subdivision. The Nikhil Banga Shikshak Samiti, a teachers’ body affiliated to the CPM, has called a 12-hour strike in educational institutions.

The SFI meeting had started around 1.30pm. An hour later, 15-20 CP members marched into the school and accused Biswas of sending students of Classes XI and XII to the meeting that was being held on the roadside, in front of the institution. They broke the furniture in the chamber including the water purifier. Even the teachers’ room was not spared. The police arrived 10 minutes later. The attackers had fled by then.

Sourav Sen, an SFI district committee member, alleged the attack was pre-planned. Partho Kundu, the president of the CP’s Alipurduar committee, denied the allegation. “We went to submit a memorandum to the SDO against the use of loudspeakers and the decision to send students to the SFI meeting. None of us went to the school.”

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