Kin of students killed in Bengal’s Islampur school agitation refuse to cremate bodies, demand CBI probe
Tension prevailed in Islampur in North Dinajpur district three days after two students died in firing by unidentified persons, as relatives of the victims refused to cremate their bodies until the state government ordered a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), said police.
The bodies of Rajesh Sarkar, 19, and Tapas Barman, 21, were buried at a local ground after being handed over to the families on Saturday. Family members said they did not cremate them because they wanted to preserve the bodies for the CBI to investigate properly how they died in the firing.
Sarkar and Barman, both ex-students, sustained bullet injuries during an agitation at the premises of Darivit High School on Thursday. Sarkar died on the spot, while Barman succumbed to his injuries on Friday.
“The bodies will remain buried for the CBI to get a chance of investigating the wounds. If we cremate, there will be no proofs left,” said Nilkamal Sarkar, Rajesh’s father.
“We will not perform the funeral rights until the case is given to CBI,” Sarkar said.
Villagers of Darivit are keeping round-the-clock vigil at the area where the bodies of the two students are buried.
“We have no faith in the state police. They will try to suppress the real facts because they know they are the culprits. We will agree to nothing less than CBI probe and until then, the bodies will remain buries,” said Ujjwal Barman, Tapas’s father.
While the family members, as well as the Bengal units of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Akhil Bharat Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) have alleged the police shot them dead, district superintendent of police for North Dinajpur, Sumit Kumar, has denied the police opened fire.
On Sunday, two local Trinamool leaders, Islampur’s civic chief-cum legislator Kanhaialal Agarwal and Ghulam Rabbani, legislator from neighbouring Goalpokhar, went to the locality to meet the parents of the deceased as well as the agitating villagers. They faced the wrath of the locals, who gheroad the leaders seeking promise for a CBI probe.
“If you insist on a CBI probe, I’ll will inform the government about your demand,” Agarwal told the agitators.
Rabbani, however, said that whatever Agarwal said in the context of CBI probe was his personal opinion.
Meanwhile, a team of state BJP leaders, including Mukul Roy and women’s wing chief Locket Chatterjee, also visited the place of the incident on Sunday morning and expressed solidarity with the locals.
“State police have fired and killed to students. Now a probe by the same state police will be nothing but a farce, since every attempt will be made to cover up the actual incident. So we too demand a CBI probe,” said Chatterjee
In Kolkata, students organisations belonging to various Left parties brought out a rally condemning the death of Sarkar and Barman.