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Bogtui students' triumph: 16 teens show mettle during testing times

The situation was so volatile that Birbhum DM had to visit the homes of each higher secondary examinees to boost their morale before their board exams

Snehamoy Chakraborty Calcutta Published 12.06.22, 12:46 AM
HS success stories Leena Khatun (left) and Sabnam  Khatun in Bogtui, Birbhum.

HS success stories Leena Khatun (left) and Sabnam Khatun in Bogtui, Birbhum. File photo

Sixteen students of Birbhum’s Bogtui village, where the March 21 massacre occurred days before their higher secondary examination began on April 2, have passed their exams, prompting the district administration plan a felicitation for the teenagers.

Homes had been set ablaze in Bogtui village on the outskirts of Rampurhat town purportedly to avenge the murder of local Trinamul leader Bhadu Sheikh on the night of March 21, the arson killing eight women, a child and a man.


The massacre led to many, mostly men, fleeing their homes in Bogtui in fear. The situation in Bogtui was so volatile that Birbhum district magistrate Bidhan Ray had to visit the homes of each higher secondary examinees to boost their morale with stationery and chocolates before their board exams.

“The students from Bogtui faced an unprecedented challenge just before their higher secondary examination because of the heinous crime. Fighting such odds, they passed their exams and a few of them also did well. We will felicitate them next week,” said district magistrate Ray.

The 16 examinees, of whom 12 were girls, said only those who lived in that post-massacre situation would be able to understand what they went through.

“Our peaceful village changed immediately after the night of March 21. The village was in the news, people started fleeing in fear, one could see hundreds of police personnel everywhere. It was not a conducive environment for those preparing for their higher secondary exam,” said Sabnam Khatun of Bogtui village who secured 436 out of 500.

“Police cars kept making rounds of the village. The sound of sirens would scare us. Every night there were raids to arrest the accused. It was very difficult for us to focus on studies,” added Sabnam, who stopped going to her private tutors in Rampurhat from March 22.

Villagers claimed that some men from families which had nothing to do with the carnage were also interrogated by police, creating a sense of fear in every home.

“We had no connection with the violence. But there was a rumour that police would interrogate everyone. So all the men in our family took shelter at a relative's home elsewhere for a few days,” said a woman.

Local Trinamul leaders arranged shelter for 12 girl examinees at a private school in Rampurhat town to help them focus on studies.

“I left home with my mother before a week of the exam to the shelter. Arrangements were fine there but I could not concentrate away from home," said Leena Khatun, another student who scored 365 out of 500.

When girls longed to return home, Trinamul leaders sent them back to Bogtui and arranged free coaching.

“That free coaching really helped me. I wish I scored better in my higher secondary but it was a tense time," Leena added.

Syed Siraj Zimmi, Trinamul block president of Rampurhat-I said that the students, mainly girls, had set an example by passing the HS exam in such an unsettling situation.

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