A first-year college student in West Bengal was lynched on the campus on Friday, making it the first such instance in the state hit by a series of incidents of political conflicts in educational institutes.
Police officials told HT that the victim, Krishna Prasad Jana (21), was lynched during a brawl between the supporters of Trinamool Congress student wing (TMCP) and the Congress' student wing (CP) in Sajanikanta Mahavidyalaya at Sabang in West Midnapore district.
The student was reportedly a CP supporter. The CP holds complete sway in this college, with all 31 seats in the students union in their posession.
Supporters of the CP alleged that a group of Trinamool Congress workers barged into the union room with sticks and cricket bats in the afternoon and started to threaten them. A verbal dual erupted. Jana protested and was hit on the head.
Campuses in West Bengal have witnessed a series of political violence since the change of regime in the state in 2011. In some cases, even teachers have not been spared. TMCP supporters were the prime accused in most of the cases.
“I have heard about the incident in Sabang. I had a talk with Manas Bhuniya, who is an MLA ( Congress) from that area. It is an internal matter of the students' union, which is ruled by Chattra Parishad (Congress). Trinamool Congress or Trinamool Chattra Parishad is not involved. I have asked the police to take strong action,” said Mamata Banerjee, speaking to the media at Nabanna (state secretariat).
Education minister Partha Chatterjee, too, condemned the incident and said that he had spoken to the district administration to ensure a proper probe and action.
“I have repeatedly said that the campuses are not the place to show political might, but unfortunately the students are not listening,” Chatterjee said.
Six-time Sabang MLA Bhuniya said: "The attack came from a gang of outsiders led by local Trinamool leaders. The incident shows the state of lawlessness in campuses across the state."