Kolkata, Jan 27 (PTI) Leader of Opposition in West Bengal Assembly Suvendu Adhikari along with senior BJP leaders and MLAs staged a sit-in near the state education department headquarters on Thursday demanding that schools and colleges be reopened immediately.
Adhikari, accompanied by the party’s state general secretary, Agnimtra Pal, and others, sat in the middle of road at Karunamoyee crossing in Salt Lake near here to raise the demand after being stopped by the police from proceeding towards Bikash Bhavan.
“I just wanted to meet the education department secretary and let him know about our demand. State officials and the police have become stooges of the ruling party. They are not allowing me to meet government officials, they are curbing our movement,” Adhikari told reporters.
Wondering why 30 students cannot be allowed inside a classroom if 200 guests can be accommodated at a wedding, the Nandigram MLA claimed that uncertainty hangs over the fate of thousands of students with the TMC government putting physical class resumption “indefinitely” on hold .
Asked about the state government’s ‘Paray Sikshalay’ (neighbourhood learning) project, he said it was a “bogus” initiative and can’t replace physical classes in schools.
Under the ‘Paray Sikshalay’ initiative, the state government has decided to hold classes in the open for pre-primary and primary students of state-run schools.
Not granted audience by the education department official, Adhikari and other legislators finally left the site of agitation near Bikash Bhavan after around 30 minutes.
“Some of our leaders will continue to stage sit-in at the spot, starting tomorrow. We don’t want to foment trouble but we will not withdraw the agitation till the demands are met,” he said Earlier in the day, Adhikari held an hour-long meeting with eight MLAs at his Salt Lake residence and discussed several issues that would to taken up by the party to wage battle against the TMC, sources in the saffron camp said.
Schools and colleges in Bengal have largely remained shut since March 16 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Institutes had briefly opened in November last year only to close down again as number of cases started soaring across the state.
During the day, activists of the ABVP, too, staged a demonstration outside the main campus of the Calcutta University seeking immediate resumption of classes in schools, colleges and universities.
Veteran TMC MP Sougata Roy, when approached for his reaction, said Adhikari was whipping up one issue after another every day to remain in news.
“He did not seek prior appointment of the IAS officer (education dept secretary) and instead tried to barge into his office uninformed. There is a protocol for everything,” Roy said. PTI SUS RMS RMS
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Source: The Print