Image: A tree being felled and the Trinamool attack on the students (right).
Bolpur: TRINAMOOL cadres today beat up a group of students from Visva-Bharati university who were protesting the felling of trees for the widening of a road near Santiniketan.
The incident took place at Ruppur village on the outskirts of Santiniketan. The assaulted students include some girls and one student from Poland, who studies at Visva-Bharati. They have been discharged on first-aid from a local hospital.
Sriniketan Santiniketan Development Authority, a wing of the state government, has recently initiated a project to widen the road that runs from Bolpur railway station to Prantik station via Shyambati. For this, several trees are being felled and the task is being carried out by Trinamool ruled Ruppur gram panchayat.
Learning about this, some students of Visva-Bharati, around 20 in numbers, started a sit-in today morning under an ancient banyan tree at Ruppur. Their demand was that trees should not be felled for the road instead the road should be realigned if needed.
With the agitation affecting the tree felling, Trinamool Ruppur gram panchayat president Kazi Nurul Huda and his aides suddenly launched an attack on the students. They were beaten up with lathis, girl students were served blows. All this happened in front a handful of policemen who had come to the spot due to the student agitation.
The attack made the students lift the agitation as some of them were injured and had to be taken to the hospital. But the students have vowed to resume the agitation tomorrow with a renewed vigour.
Significantly, on being contacted over the issue, local officials of the state forest department said that permission had not been obtained from them for felling of the trees. They, however, could not answer as to how come they did not get a wind of the felling of such a large number of trees.