West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Saturday blamed the RSS and the BJP for the death of two students during a protest against appointment of Urdu teachers in a school and accused them of trying to cause communal disturbance.
Banerjee, who is in Milan, Italy, on an official tour, also came out in support of providing Urdu teachers to Daribhita School in Islampur in North Dinajpur where a clash between protesters and police claimed the lives of the two students. The BJP has called a 12-hour shutdown in the state on September 26 to protest against the death of the two students.
Warning the saffron organisations “not to play with fire by doing politics on the issue”, she appealed to the people of the state not to pay heed to the politics of the BJP and the RSS and foil the shutdown. “The BJP and the RSS should say why the two students were killed,” she said while interacting with journalists from the city who were accompanying her.
“They (BJP, RSS) are like vultures waiting for a death and then start doing politics over it. They do politics even with death of students. First they commit a murder and then play holi with the (dead person’s) blood.
“The BJP and the RSS have to answer why the two students were killed. And until they give their answer I ask my party activists to conduct peaceful meetings and rallies in their respective areas without fighting over the issue,” the Trinamool Congress supremo, who is currently on an official tour of Europe to invite investors, said. Banerjee said that the state government had provided Daribhita school with the Urdu teacher because there was a requisition from the school authority.
“We had provided a Urdu teacher because the school had made a requisition. It’s not the decision of the government but the decision of the school committee or the school governing body. Questioning the rationale behind the protest against appointment of Urdu teachers , Banerjee alleged that BJP was trying to create a communal disturbance in the state during Muharram.
“The entire matter is a planned one by the BJP because they had plans to fuel riots during Muharram yesterday. the BJP has been trying to create this problem since September 18. If there is no problem when a Sanskrit teacher is appointed, then what is the problem over a Urdu teacher? I condemn those who have labelled this issue as communal,” she said. Trouble had brewed in the school over the recruitment of Urdu teachers as the protesting students said they needed science and English teachers. The students and area residents stopped three newly-recruited Urdu teachers from entering the school Thursday, demanding that all vacant teaching posts be filled which led to the clash. The chief minister said students should concentrate on their studies and not on who are appointed teachers.
“It is the job of the governing body or the school committee to look into such matters. Even we (the state government) do not interfere in it. You (students) are opposing when a Urdu teacher is appointed but not when teachers of other subjects are appointed. “I think, I do not have the right to take away the job of a Urdu teacher. All teachers are equal to me. In districts where there are 10 per cent Urdu medium schools, they can have Urdu teachers … To me, Hindus and Muslims are all equal,” she added. Referring to the police report on the clash, Banerjee said that the bullets which caused the students’ death were not fired by the force.
“If the bullets were not of guns used by the police then whose guns were they? From where were the bombs brought in. Who all had brought in people with faces covered. This is lynching politics (of the BJP),” she said during the interaction in Milan aired by local television channels. The police had denied its involvement in the clash though the district superintendent of police had conceded that the two had died of bullet injury. The SP, Sumit Kumar, had said people in the mob were carrying illegal bombs and arms and 14 policemen were injured in the clash.
Alleging that the BJP had “brought in goons from outside the state” and attacked the police, Banerjee said not only students but the police were also injured in the attack. On the call for a state-wide shutdown by the BJP, Banerjee said “I am taking full responsibility and saying that there will be no bandh on Wednesday. There is no question of any bandh. If anyone tries to put up blockades, I am asking the administration to take strict action against the person. I will ask people to counter the bandh in a peaceful manner.”
Meanwhile, West Bengal Education Minister Partha Chatterjee at Krishnagar said the death of two persons during a protest in an Islampur school was a “pre-planned” act of RSS and BJP The minister said the activities of the District Inspector of schools of North Dinajpur also under doubt. He alleged that the Islampur incident was a pre-planned one and done by the RSS and BJP and not by the students.