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29 May 2018

Teachers get bail in SDO assault case

Teachers being taken to a court in Raiganj on Monday. Picture by Kousik Sen
KOUSIK SEN, TT, May 29, 2018, Raiganj: All three teachers who had been arrested in connection with the assault on the Raiganj SDO were granted bail by two courts here on Monday.

The development came on a day when district Trinamul leaders asserted that the state would soften its stance and would not resort to actions like arresting the teachers who were accused of attacking SDO T.N. Sherpa during a demonstration and road blockade here on May 16.

The demonstration was held to protest the death of Raj Kumar Roy, also a schoolteacher, who had gone missing while working as a polling officer for panchayat elections on May 14. The body was found in a deserted area the next evening.

"A section of teachers became sentimental and launched the movement. As the SDO was assaulted, the administration had taken stern steps," said Amal Acharya, the North Dinajpur district Trinamul president.

However, as police went on arresting the teachers, a serious repercussion was felt in Raiganj and in other parts of the district.

It was also learnt that the administration has identified as many as 77 people, including 62 schoolteachers, for being involved in the attack and all of them would have to face legal action.

Such moves by the administration left the teachers agitated. They floated a forum along with some other residents of Raiganj town and announced resumption of their movement in protest against the arrests.

"The protests of May 16, followed by the arrests and some other administrative steps, had left a considerable section of schoolteachers agitated. Our leaders perceived that the party is losing support of the teachers in the district as some other political parties are trying to reap dividend out of the issue," said a Trinamul insider.

This made Acharya and party MLA Golam Rabbani approach state transport minister and party leader Subhendu Adhikari.

"We apprised him in detail of the issue and sought his intervention. He agreed to pass the message to the chief minister and made it clear that no more teachers should face arrest. Also, none of the teachers will face any harassment from the police and administration or steps like halt in payment of salaries," said Acharya.

Sanjit Das, Pradip Sinha and Manoj Bhowmik - the three arrested teachers - were released on bail. The additional district and sessions judge (fast track special court) granted bail to the trio against two sureties of Rs 5,000 each for the case registered for assaulting the SDO.

Also, the chief judicial magistrate in charge granted bail to them for the second case registered for blocking the national highway, said court sources.

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