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Pupils turn fodder for Adhikari show

Nandakumar, July 16: Around 800 students of an East Midnapore school were taken during class hours to a programme where Trinamul MP Subhendu Adhikari laid the foundation of a college building, the move apparently at the behest of a panchayat samiti chief of the party.

On September 27 last year, the state government had issued a notification prohibiting all students, teaching and non-teaching staff from participating in any political event during school hours. If students are taken out during school hours for an apolitical event, guardians’ permission is mandatory. Calcutta High Court had approved the government’s decisions.

The headmistress of Kalyanchak Panchami Smritikona Vidyapith in Nandakumar, Sharmistha Jana, however, said she did not know about the notification.

All students of the government-aided girls’ school were shepherded to the venue of the stone-laying event, 400m from the school, after the roll call and prayers at 11am. No classes were held today.

Asked why classes were not held after the programme got over at 1pm, the headmistress said: “The students were tired .”

The Haldia Development Authority is constructing the building of Nandakumar College.

Jana said Nandakumar panchayat samiti chief Babulal Mondal had “requested” her to bring the students to the programme. “Mondal asked us to attend the event,” she said.

Jana said she did not know about the government notification. “I did not know about such a rule. I don’t think there was any need to inform the guardians because the venue was near our school.”

Mondal denied that he had requested the school to send students to the event. “I did not request the headmistress to bring the students to the programme. She had sought an appointment with the HDA chairman and I arranged for the meeting. I don’t know why she brought the students along.”

Adhikari, also the HDA chairman, refused comment.

District inspector of schools Subodh Chatterjee said he would conduct a probe.