Security Boosted In West Bengal, As BJP Launches 12-Hour Bandh In Protest Of Student Deaths

| September 26 , 2018 , 09:31 IST

The ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal has boosted security in the state as the BJP launched a 12-hour 'Bangla bandh' on Wednesday in protest of the killing of 2 students in clashes with police in North Dinajpur district on September 20.

The state government has set up control rooms and deployed around 4,000 police personnel on the streets, assuring protection to everyone out to foil the bandh. Any vehicles damaged during the bandh would also be compensated by the government.

Despite the precautions, train movement was obstructed by protesters on the Howrah-Bardhaman Main Line, and in Midnapore government buses were vandalised and tyres torched. Bus drivers continuing to ply their vehicles took to wearing helmets for their safety.

Rallies had begun from Tuesday itself, with the opposition BJP calling for support of the 'Bangla bandh' while the ruling TMC conducted processions denouncing it.

TMC secretary general and state education minister Partha Chatterjee said, "The police will take stern action if anyone tries to enforce the bandh."

While the education minister asked schools and colleges to remain open, some private schools declared a holiday on Wednesday due to the bandh. State-run buses will run as normal and commercial establishments and private offices have been urged to function normally, Chatterjee said.

"The BJP is trying to instill a sense of fear among the masses with their 12-hour strike call. The kind of language they are using is completely unacceptable. They don't have any mass base and are issuing threats," he said.

"We(TMC) are against the culture of strike and shutdown. In the present economic situation of the state we can't afford to have the luxury of calling a shutdown. We will not allow such strike and shutdown in the state," Chatterjee said.

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Meanwhile, the BJP claimed that the shutdown would be a complete success as the entire state was 'fed up' with the TMC government.

"The people are fed up with this government. They will participate in this strike peacefully. But if the TMC and its goons try to foil the strike, there will be repercussions," BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said.

"The state government is trying to hush up the incident in Islampur (in North Dinajpur). But we won't stop until and unless justice is delivered," he said.

On September 20, a clash erupted between police and students after the students stopped 2 newly recruited teachers from entering Daribhit High School in Islampur as the students wanted teachers for English and Science subjects instead of the recruited Urdu and Sanskrit teachers. In the clash, 2 students Rajesh Sarkar and Tapas Barman, died. While the BJP alleged that they were killed in police firing, the police have denied the claims.