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College clashes over polls

Jan. 16: Clashes took place in two colleges in Siliguri and one in Itahar today over student union polls.

Supporters of Chhatra Parishad and the Trinamul Chhatra Parishad entered into a scuffle near the Siliguri College of Commerce on the last day of filing nominations for the student elections to be held on January 28.

Around 3.30pm, TMCP supporters went to the college to submit nominations for all 24 seats. As they were leaving at 4pm, Chhatra Parishad members allegedly attacked them.

“Chhatra Parishad supporters, mostly outsiders, pounced on them with sticks and rods. At least five of our supporters were injured. Chhatra Parishad, which is fast losing ground at the college, is apprehensive of losing and trying to create tension,” said Nirnay Roy, the Darjeeling district TMCP president.

Bikash Sarkar, the Darjeeling district general secretary of Chhatra Parishad, however, said they were attacked by the TMCP. “While our candidates were on their way to the college, a TMCP-backed group attacked them. We tried to resist and soon police arrived. As the attackers fled, we reached the college with police escort and submitted papers for 22 seats.”

SFI and TMCP supporters clashed in Siliguri Women’s College while nomination form distribution and submission was on. The TMCP alleged one of their supporters was injured in police baton charge.

Tomorrow is the last date for submission of papers and polls to 24 seats are scheduled for January 27. The college union is run by the SFI.

“CPM leaders were standing near the college where Section 144 was in force. They prevented our supporters from submitting and collecting forms. The police did not take any action. When our supporters protested, the police lathi-charged,” said local Trinamul councillor Krishna Pal.

A TMCP supporter said they submitted 15 forms today.

“The TMCP is certain that they will not win. A group of male TMCP supporters attacked us with bamboo sticks. The police had to escort us to the college,” said Priyanka Roy, SFI unit vice-president.

O.G. Pal, deputy commissioner of Siliguri metropolitan police, said: “Our officers dispersed the students (in both colleges). Situation in other colleges in and around Siliguri was peaceful.”

Yesterday, clashes over elections broke out in four Siliguri colleges forcing police to baton-charge on one campus.

Today in Dalkhola, SFI members allegedly clashed with TMCP and Chhatra Parishad over the collection of nomination forms near Agrasen College. SFI leader Surajit Karmakar said: “We were going to collect forms when Chhatra Parishad and TMCP supporters attacked us.” As the police tried to disperse the mob, they were attacked and a police vehicle was ransacked. Two policemen were injured. The polls are on January 28. Today was the last day for collection of forms and tomorrow is the last date for submission.

Altercations were also reported from Itahar and Patiram colleges in North and South Dinajpurs.