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College principal in hospital after gherao

Dec. 4: The principal of Ananda Chandra College in Jalpaiguri, who had been gheraoed for four hours yesterday, complained of high blood pressure and was hospitalised this morning.

Dhiraj Kumar Basak was confined to the teachers’ common room by casual fourth-grade staff members and supporters of the Chhatra Parishad demanding permanent jobs for the contract workers.

In another incident in Cooch Behar, the teacher-in-charge of ABN Seal College was confined to his office since afternoon by students, who alleged that he was not regular. The protest was on after 10pm.

A senior faculty member of Ananda Chandra College in Jalpaiguri said: “Yesterday, some office-bearers of the (Chhatra Parishad-run) students’ union confined the principal to his office from 7.45am to 12pm. Two casual staff members went on a hunger strike demanding permanent jobs. The students used abusive language and mentally tortured the principal.”

Yesterday evening, Basak went home and filed a complaint with Kotwali police.

“Later at night, his blood pressure shot up. This morning, he was admitted to a private nursing home in Jalpaiguri,” Basak’s wife said.

Recently, Ananda Chandra College had to recruit some non-teaching staff and the four casual workers of the institution demanded that they be absorbed first. “I did not agree and was gheraoed by some ex-students and two casual staff members on November 30,” Basak alleged.

Today, two more casual workers joined the hunger strike.

“Some of us have been working for the past 10 years and now they are trying to recruit people from outside. We want that casual workers, like us, be given priority,” Souvik Choudhury, a casual worker, said.

Bhaskar Nandi, a representative of Chhatra Parishad, said: “We want transparency in the recruitment process of non-teaching staff members. The allegations of abusing the principal are baseless.”

State education minister Bratya Basu has spoken to Jalpaiguri district magistrate Pritha Sarkar about the incident. “The minister has given some instructions. I have also spoken to the superintendent of police asking for an inquiry and steps against those responsible,” Sarkar said.

In Cooch Behar, Debnarayan Roy, teacher-in-charge of ABN Seal College, was confined to his chamber from 2pm today by Trinamul Chhatra Parishad supporters who alleged that he was not regular.

“He often stays in Calcutta on the pretext of work,” said Biman Choudhury, a TRinamul Chhatra Parishad leader. “We will not withdraw the protest until he assures us that he will attend college regularly.”

Roy could not be contacted till 7.30pm.