Balurghat, Sept. 5: A group of villagers locked up a school at Tapan this morning to protest the alleged encroachment on private land by the institution.
An event scheduled to mark the Teachers’ Day couldn’t be held as students and teachers were prevented from entering the campus.
Manipur Madhyamik Sikha Kendra at Gofanagar was locked up by people close to Biswanath Oraon who had staked claim to a portion of 12 cottahs of land on which the school stands. Classes were not held today and the students and teachers had to return home.
“A resident of Manipur, Sanchu Oraon, had donated 12 cottas of land in 2004 to set up a junior high school in the village. Later, another resident, Biswanath Oraon, claimed that the school had grabbed some part of his land that is adjacent to the institution,” said headmaster Famijur Sarkar.
A month ago, the land and land reforms department measured the plot and found that two cottahs were Biswanath’s.
“From then, he had been telling us to vacate the land. We asked him to wait for some more days to resolve the issue. Today, around 30 people — friends and relatives of Biswanath — came to the school and locked the gate from outside,” said the headmaster, who took over in 2009.
Apart from the headmaster, there are three more teachers at the school that has classes V to VIII. Tapan is 40km from Balurghat.
Sarkar regretted that the students couldn’t celebrate Teachers’ Day because of the protest. “The teachers felt humiliated on this special day. We had asked the students yesterday to organise a meeting to celebrate the Teachers’ Day. But the children were disappointed when they found the school gate locked this morning,” he said.
The school has around 130 students.
The school gate was opened in the evening after a meeting was convened by Tapan joint block development officer Surajit Kumar Roy.
“The school headmaster and Biswanath and his relatives attended the meeting. I asked both the parties to do the needful to resolve the issue. The incident is unfortunate. It shouldn’t have happened on Teachers’ Day,” said Roy.
He refused to speak further on the matter.