A college student, injured in a clash between a mob and the police in North Dinajpur, died on Friday, pushing the death toll to two, even as a 12-hour bandh called by the BJP is underway in the West Bengal district.
Tapas Barman, a third-year student, succumbed to his injuries in North Bengal Medical College and Hospital, officials said. Rajesh Sarkar, an ITI student, died Thursday.
Locals alleged the two students were killed in police firing but DIG Raiganj range Jayanta Paul denied the charge. Both Barman and Sarkar were area residents and former students of Daribhit High School in Islampur area.
Trouble brewed over recruitment of Urdu teachers for the school as students said they needed science and English teachers.
The students and area residents stopped three newly-recruited Urdu teachers from entering the school on Thursday, demanding that all vacant teaching posts be filled.
The Urdu teachers had previously tried to enter the school but they were not allowed, following which they took the help of police to enter the school campus.
Several policemen accompanying the teachers were also injured in the clash Thursday. The BJP has called the 12-hour bandh from 6 am in North Dinajpur district on Friday.
Schools, colleges and other education institutions are closed in the affected area. Two government buses were ransacked by bandh supporters in Raiganj while private vehicles remained mostly off roads.
Altogether 15 bandh supporters were arrested from Islampur and Raiganj, officials said. Train services, however, remained unaffected.
The ruling Trinamool Congress and the opposition BJP traded charges over the incident.
"The RSS is bringing outsiders and indulging in politics there. The RSS or the BJP, whoever is responsible (for the incident) will not be spared," Education Minister and TMC leader Partha Chatterjee said in Kolkata.
State BJP president Dilip Ghosh said, "The TMC is seeing the ghost of the RSS in everything. They should do self-introspection and perform their duty.
The police have opened fire on students which are not desirable." When the school needed teachers of mathematics and other subjects, Urdu teachers were recruited, he claimed.
Officials of Daribhit High School, requesting anonymity, said the school did not seek any Urdu teacher and it does not have any Urdu speaking student.
Meanwhile, the education department suspended the District Inspector of Schools of North Dinajpur, Rabindranath Mondal, in view of the appointment of Urdu teachers.
Sources in the DI's office, however, said the appointments were made by the department and not by the DI.
Islampur MLA and chairman of Islampur Municipality Kanhaiya Agarwal said he had advised the headmaster not to let the three teachers join the school till the issue was resolved.