Behrampore, May 28: Police fired four rounds in the air to disperse a mob, including students and their guardians, when it swooped down on a police jeep in front of the Sadikhandiar High School in the Jalangi police station area this afternoon.
Police have arrested a couple of villagers for leading the attack. Four policemen and 14 students sustained injuries, which police said were caused by the stones hurled by the protesters.
Police said the headmaster of the school, located about 45 km from here, had asked for help as he was gheraoed by a large group of students and guardians from morning demanding that some students be promoted. They also wanted the school authorities to punish a section of students who had assaulted a Class X boy yesterday for allegedly roughing up the headmaster.
Police, however, failed to free the headmaster after the incident.
“A number of unsuccessful students of the Sadikhandiar High School had besieged the headmaster this morning, demanding that he promote them. The headmaster called the Jalangi police station and a jeep with the officer-in-charge was despatched around 3 pm. The moment the students saw the police jeep approaching, they began pelting stones at the vehicle, which was badly damaged,” said Murshidabad police superintendent Virendra.
He said about a thousand students and guardians had turned violent and attacked seven policemen with sticks and stones. “The police fired two rounds in the air to disperse the students,” Virendra claimed. But eyewitnesses said police fired at least four rounds.
Trouble had been brewing in the school, said to be one of the oldest and well-known in Murshidabad, over the promotion issue. “A number of students who had failed their annual examination had been sending deputation through their guardians for the past few days,” said headmaster Sampad Kumar Biswas.
But contrary to what the district police had to say, Biswas claimed that he did not seek police assistance. “The police arrived at the scene on their own and began beating up the students,” he said.
The incident has taken on a political colour with local sources saying the Class X student, Mijanur Rehman, who had allegedly raised his hand on the headmaster, was a Congress supporter and a section of the students, linked to the CPM’s student wing, the Students Federation of India, had assaulted him for “insulting” the headmaster. Mijanur had to be admitted in the district hospital.
The sources added that today’s attack was led by local Congress supporters and Mijanur’s friends.