Representatives of a high school in Cooch Behar district sent a letter to the district magistrate on Saturday, seeking his intervention to ensure the security of students, especially girls.
The letter was sent after a woman constable of the Border Security Force (BSF) allegedly harassed, assaulted and intimidated three Class X girls of the institution.
The students, who live in a village close to the international border, were returning home on November 28 when the woman constable intercepted them. The constable allegedly searched their schoolbags and frisked them in an improper manner. When the girls raised a protest, the constable became agitated and allegedly assaulted and intimidated the trio.
Later, one of the girls filed a police complaint. After two days, the BSF filed a counter-complaint against them.
“We are worried over the security of these girls and other students who live in their area. That is why the managing committee of the school (a co-educational higher secondary institution) has sent a letter to the district magistrate, seeking his intervention so that no student of our school faces any harassment from the BSF,” said a representative of the school.
The school has also sent copies of the letter to the local SDO and the BDO, said sources.
After the incident, the police have initiated a probe. On Saturday, a police officer visited the girls’ houses and spoke with them.
“I have visited the subdivision concerned and gathered all the information. Our officers have been told to gather CCTV footage of the area to find out what actually happened. We want to assure the girls and all other students that they should not feel intimidated or insecure. The police are with them,” said Dyutiman Bhattacharya, the superintendent of police of Cooch Behar.
A senior academic in Cooch Behar has said the literacy rate of Muslim girls is low in border areas.
“If girls on borders had to face such harassment, it would only discourage them from continuing their studies. This is a serious issue and the administration should look into it,” he said.
Udayan Guha, the north Bengal development minister, said: “We will not tolerate the highhandedness of the BSF. I will soon apprise the chief minister of the issue and raise the matter in the Assembly."