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Bear scare in school

Gangtok, April 15: Tashi Namgyal Academy near here was shut from today till April 20 after a Himalayan black bear was reportedly spotted on the premises of the school.

Residents of the school quarters as well as those outside the campus were scared to venture out of their houses after the animal was spotted yesterday.

On Friday, a Himalayan black bear had mauled a Kolkata Police officer on election duty in the area.

K.S. Heran, the principal of Tashi Namgyal Academy, said the school would be closed till April 20. “There are around 2,000 students studying from Class I to Class XII in the school. We are not ready to take risk and have declared holidays for six days. The school will reopen on April 21.”

The institution was to reopen today after it was closed for polling since April 11. The school auditorium has been turned into a strongroom to keep the EVMs of all Assembly constituencies in the East District.

There are around 200 students at the school hostel and they have been asked to go home. The school is located on a sprawling campus of 12 acres. TNA Complex is 2km from Gangtok.

The forest department said it was yet to confirm if a Himalayan black bear had been found on the school premises.

“A labourer repairing the quarters on the school campus claimed that he had seen a bear near a bush. It cannot be said if the bear is the same one which attacked the police officer on Friday. We have to find out if the labourer spotted some other animal. There are many dogs roaming in the school area. We couldn’t find pugmarks of a bear,” said Abhay Bhaskar, the divisional forest officer of wildlife division.

The quarters are for the teaching and non-teaching staff of the school.

“I am too scared to leave my home. My parents haven’t been allowing me to go out for the past three days. I hope the bear is caught soon so that we can walk freely,” said Anisha Lama, a 23-year-old woman who stays in the school quarters.

Another worker has also talked about seeing a bear on the school campus around 8pm yesterday. The forest department has laid two bed traps on the school premises to snare the bear.