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Students flee plains

Siliguri, June 13: Over 300 hill students, who were allegedly beaten up and harassed on their way to college and university during yesterday’s trouble in Siliguri, were sheltered in a cluster of government guesthouses this morning and sent home.

Many of the students, who were also threatened and intimidated at their rented accommodations in the town last evening, had appealed to the authorities for security.

“Matigara police asked me to make arrangements to shift the students to Pintail village (on the outskirts of Siliguri) this morning. We arranged for three buses and picked up the students from the university gates,” said Tushar Maitra, the North Bengal University security officer.

“The students were harassed and threatened yesterday. So we decided to evacuate them and approached the police. Our leadership was in touch with the administration,” said Morcha student leader Lawan Subba.

He “networked with the students” over the phone and “they also spread word around so that those living in Pradhannagar, Shivmandir, Babupara and Collegepara” could be shepherded to Pintail.

“About 350 boys and girls have returned to their homes and 50 have stayed back at Pintail, which is managed by the hill council,” Subba said.

Three Sikkim government buses were arranged for the 200 students from that state.

Political science student Rudhir Chhetri (name changed), who stayed back, said the university and the police had assured him and his friends safe passage to and from Bagdogra College for the rest of the examinations.

Pramila (name changed), who studies law, took a car home to Tindharia. “Yesterday, I was made to do sit-ups while holding my ears on the way to my college for the exams. After that, I called my parents and said I was coming back.”

Last evening, “people kept knocking on our mess door at Shivmandir and ordered us to clear out”, Pramila said.

Ranajit Das, the principal of Bagdogra College, said 79 students yesterday and 65 today did not show up for the part I and II examinations.

Supplies resume

Ninety trucks packed with foodgrain, potatoes, onions, oil and other essentials left for the hills this afternoon. Police pickets were posted at the regulated and wholesale markets where the goods were being packed since morning.

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