The Telegraph
Thursday , April 4 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Call to strike but not to enforce
Many schools to stay open

The Left Front has called a 12-hour general strike in Tollygunge, Dhakuria and Garia on Thursday over SFI leader Sudipto Gupta’s death in police custody, exempting transport and promising not to force any establishment to shut shop.

Left-affiliated student unions have separately declared a statewide school and college shutdown that several private institutions in Calcutta have decided not to heed. Many other schools won’t be affected because they are in the middle of their term-end break.

“He (Sudipto) was born and brought up in Garia while his education and political activities were in Tollygunge. That is why we have called the 12-hour general strike in those areas to demand a judicial probe into his death,” Left Front chairman Biman Bose said.

Leaders of the Trinamul Congress said they wouldn’t make any special effort to foil the strike call, though the government has sent out signals that arrangements have been made to maintain normality.

State industries minister Partha Chatterjee, who stays in the Naktala neighbourhood of Tollygunge, said: “The boy’s death is unfortunate and so is the attempt to politicise it. There are other ways to register protest.”

Metro highlights everything you need to know about the twin strikes before stepping out of home.

Areas under strike: Tollygunge, Dhakuria and Garia (including wards under Calcutta Municipal Corporation and Sonarpur Municipality)

Duration: 12 hours

Will schools and colleges remain open?

Several schools, including St. James’, DPS Ruby Park, Lakshmipat Singhania Academy, Ballygunge Shiksha Sadan, South City International School, South Point, Birla High and Calcutta Girls have decided to stay open. Most other schools are in recess ahead of a new term.

What about scheduled examinations?

Onkar Sadhan Adhikari, Calcutta University’s controller of examinations, said all examinations slated for Thursday would be held. Mahadevi Birla will stay open for the ongoing CBSE Class XII board exams.

Is it safe to send children by school bus?

The strike won’t be enforced, the Left Front has assured. But Ballygunge Shiksha Sadan has decided against sending school buses to Tollygunge-Dhakuria-Garia. Lakshmipat Singhania Academy has advised parents staying in those areas not to send their children to school.

Will students and teachers be stopped from entering schools and colleges?

Activists of the SFI and other Left-aligned student unions will be picketing outside the gates of schools and colleges across the state. “We will request students and teachers not to enter the premises. We expect students and teachers to be sensitive enough to understand why we have called the strike. If somebody still wants to attend classes, he or she can go,” said Debajyoti Das, state secretary of the SFI.

The Trinamul Chhatra Parishad has decided to steer clear of any confrontation with the SFI. “We have asked our activists to stay out of trouble,” said Shankudeb Panda, president of the Trinamul Chhatra Parishad.

Will the Metro run from Garia to Tollygunge?

Transport has been exempted. “We have left it to the people to decide whether they want to support us or not,” CPM state secretariat member Rabin Deb said.

Will traffic be affected?

There will be road blockades from 11 till 11.15am.

What about markets, malls plexes and clubs?

South City has decided to stick to its timings, ditto Fame (South City). Tollygunge Club and the Royal Calcutta Golf Club will be open too.

In the event of trouble, who should one approach?

Police pickets will be put up across the Tollygunge-Dhakuria-Garia belt. Teams from Sonarpur police station will be on foot and vehicle patrol through the day.

The radio flying squad, heavy radio flying squad and cops in plainclothes will be out as well.

Dial 22143220, the Lalbazar control room, to report any problem.