School protest

Alipurduar, Feb. 8: Students of Hindi High School here today did not allow teachers and non-teaching staff to enter the premises for the second consecutive day alleging financial irregularities by the headmaster and demanding his suspension.

The students also alleged that head teacher Bidyabhushan Poddar hardly attended the school and "misbehaved" with the students and teachers.

At 10am, 100-odd students locked up the school gate.

"The head teacher does not come most of the time and he always misbehaves with the students. He uses foul language. Our annual admission fee is Rs 240 but he took Rs 800 at the beginning of the session in July. Later, he took more money saying he will give us identity cards but we haven't got them. The computer lab is shut since July and the quality of the mid-day meal is so poor that we cannot take it. No class is taken properly and he punishes us unnecessarily," said Bishal Missir, a Class XI student.

Poddar has been asked to attend school till probe on the matter was over.

"We are not happy with his temporary suspension. We demand permanent suspension, otherwise we will keep the school shut for an indefinite period," Missir said.

The only Hindi-medium high school in town has almost 1,500 students and the protesters dispersed around 4pm.

Yesterday at 10am, the students blocked Kumargram Road with the same demand. They also prevented the staff from entering the school. The road was cleared at 11am. Later, the students and some teachers went to the additional district inspector of schools to submit a written complaint.

No classes were held yesterday and today.

"The head teacher runs the school according to his wishes. There are allegations against him of misusing the school funds," said a guardian.

The co-educational institution has Classes from V to XII.

"All the allegations are baseless. At an appropriate place and time I will prove that I am not guilty," said Poddar.

Deputy magistrate Sisir Lepcha, also the additional district inspector of schools, said: "Until the probe is over, the head teacher will not come to school. The teacher-in-charge will be the acting headmaster. The subdivional officer will form a probe team by Monday."

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