Bengal to bar students, teachers from political rallies

Kolkata, Sep 15: The West Bengal government Thursday filed an affidavit before the Calcutta High Court, stating it will prohibit students, teaching and non-teaching staff of schools from taking part in political rallies during school hours.

A division bench of Chief Justice J.N. Patel and Justice Ashim Kumar Roy had earlier sought a report from the state government in a case filed after several school students were allegedly forced to attend a political rally in the city Sep 8.

In the affidavit, Bikram Sen, secretary of the school education department, said the government has accepted all the recommendations made by the four-member inquiry committee that had been set up to probe the incident.

Departmental proceedings will be initiated against the headmaster and two teachers of the school for negligence, he said.

The committee comprising officials of the state education department, including the chairman of district primary education board, among other things recommended that the two teachers who had prior information of the matter be issued show cause notices for their failure to inform school authorities.

The district inspector of schools has also been asked to file police complaints against five people for forcing students to participate in the rally.

Several students of Mathuranath Vidyalaya in New Alipore area were whisked away to join a rally at Rani Rashmoni Street organised by the All India Democratic Students’ Organization (AIDSO), the student wing of Socialist Unity Centre Of India (SUCI), an ally of the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress.

Following the incident, the parents and guardians of the students ransacked the school premises and assaulted some teachers.