|A youth waves a Trinamul Congress Chhatra Parishad flag on a bamboo pole in the BT and Evening College in Cooch Behar on Thursday. Picture by Main Uddin Chisti
Cooch Behar, Sept. 26: Several hundred youths waving Trinamul flags today entered a college campus in Cooch Behar town and pillaged for nearly an hour till a police team drove them out.
The rampage happened a day after the state government lifted the bar on students’ union elections and advised universities to hold polls in their affiliated colleges on a single day to prevent violence.
The Congress-backed Chhatra Parishad, which controlled the previous union in the BT and Evening College, said Trinamul Chhatra Parishad was to blame for the ransacking. Trinamul has denied the charge.
Nobody has been arrested.
Around noon today, when arrangements were being made for a college freshers’ welcome tomorrow, over 200 youths entered the campus, armed with bamboo sticks and carrying Trinamul Chhatra Parishad banners and party flags.
No classes were being held today. For the freshers’ welcome, a pandal was made in front of the college building and a handful of students were rehearsing for a cultural programme tomorrow.
The youths started burning motorcycles and bicycles of students and teachers. They also demolished the pandal and set ablaze any Chhatra Parishad flag they saw.
Most of the colleges in Cooch Behar have Chhatra Parishad unions.
Political violence on college campuses is not new in Bengal. But government advisory that gave the green signal on holding campus polls skirted the topic of political parties meddling in campus elections.
Cooch Behar district Youth Congress president and former Chhatra Parishad leader Abhijit De Bhowmik said Trinamul had carried out the attack to spread terror in the college. “Such an incident has never taken place in an educational institution in this town,” he said.
“This was orchestrated by civic chairman Biren Kundu, who recently left the Congress for Trinamul. His strategy is to spread terror to make a turf for the TMCP,” Bhowmik said.
College principal Chanchal Mondal said he could not say who was behind the violence.
“We were inside the college and do not know who did the ransacking. I was told by the TMCP yesterday that they would come to give a deputation today. But no one met me,” Mondal said.
Ankita Das, a student present on the campus today, said: “It was frightening. Hoodlums armed with bamboo sticks were smashing the motorbikes and bicycles, they set the flags on fire and damaged the pandal erected for the freshers’ welcome.”
The teachers and students were escorted out of the college by a police team. A Rapid Action Force was also called in.
Kundu denied having anything to do with the attack. “The Chhatra Parishad is trying to sully me by dragging my name into what took place,” he said.
The Chhatra Priashad has called a students’ strike throughout the district on Monday.