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Day after: attendance zero

All 3,000-odd students at Harimohan Ghose College stayed away from classes a day after a sub-inspector was shot dead in front of the institution.

“A boy possibly of my daughter’s age was seen wielding a gun in front of a posse of policemen right outside college. No one dared stop him. After what happened, I lack the courage to send my daughter to classes,” said a mother unwilling to be named.

The daughter, a first-year arts student, said: “I talked to my teachers and expressed my inability to attend classes for the time being. They told me to come only when I feel safe.”

The few students who did turn up came for getting documents attested by teacher-in-charge Bijay Acharya, who admitted that the zero attendance was because of Tuesday’s violence that unfolded during the distribution of nomination forms for the students’ union election.

Twenty-five teachers, including 12 full-time ones, stayed put in the staffroom for the entire duration of college hours from 10.30am to 4.30pm, poring over newspaper reports on Tuesday’s horror or browsing through books.

Parents are fearing more violence when the filled-in nomination forms will be submitted on February 18 and the election day, February 28.

“The upcoming student union poll has intensified the political turf war, on for several years. Goons from the rival camps were seen hurling bombs and clashing with one another,” said a parent.

Shakib Alam, one of the students spotted on the Garden Reach campus during the day, said: “Majburi me ana para (I had a compulsion). I have come to get a minority certificate attested. The document has to be submitted to the higher education department at the earliest for scholarship,” said Alam.

The few students who came were let into the campus after they produced their identity cards. “We have taken the measure to prevent entry of outsiders,” said an official.

Teachers Metro spoke to after they left the college said not one of the 24 classes scheduled for the day could be held. “After yesterday’s incident, it was expected. The students are scared,” said Jayanta Mitra, the head of the English department. Teacher-in-charge Acharya expressed the hope that the attendance would be normal for Thursday’s Part II test.