Leaders and supporters of the Kamtapur Progressive Party (KPP) demonstrated at the district magistrate’s office here on Tuesday, alleging that the state government approved only one primary school where students would be taught in Kamtapuri (Rajbanshi) language, instead of many as promised.
“At the state budget (in February), it was announced that the state government will open 100 schools where the medium of instruction would be three regional languages, including Kamtapuri. Recently, we came to know the state education department approved opening of only such school in Maynaguri block of Jalpaiguri. This is unacceptable as none other than chief minister Mamata Banerjee had made the announcement,” said Budharu Roy, the vice-president of the KPP central committee.
On Tuesday, a delegation of KPP leaders gave memorandums to the district magistrate and the district inspector of schools, demanding more schools imparting education in Kamtapuri language in north Bengal.
“The decision to open only one school will create strong repercussions among the Kamtapuri (Rajbanshi community). That is why we met the officials today (Tuesday) seeking state nod for more such schools. Else, we will be forced to launch a movement,” Roy added.
District officials did not comment on the protest. Calls by this paper to state education minister Paresh Adhikary went unanswered.
Trinamul leaders in Jalpaiguri reacted on the issue. “Those demanding more schools should understand the state budget said 100 schools in all will be set up in next five years. The chief minister always keeps her promise. We believe schools will come up in due course,” said a party leader of the district.
Sources said for the proposed primary school, a plot has been identified at Rajarhat in Maynaguri on which the state PWD will construct the building. Till then, two classrooms of a Bengali-medium primary school nearby will be used to run this new school for which two teachers will be engaged.
“The language academy has readied textbooks and syllabus and submitted them to the state,” said Bajle Rehman, chairman of the academy.
The Mamata Banerjee government has addressed some of the demands of the Rajbanshis such as setting up a university in Cooch Behar after Panchanan Barma, the most revered statesman of the community, creating a development board for the community and forming two academies of Rajbanshi and Kamtapuri languages.
Founded by Rajbanshi leader Atul Roy with the demand for separate Kamtapur state and recognition of Kamtapuri (Rajbanshi) language, the KPP has onsiderable clout among Rajbanshis.
In recent times, this is the second issue on which the KPP has tried to mount pressure on the state government. Earlier, they had sent letters to the chief minister and also to the Prime Minister over their old separate statehood demand.