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Bengal’s High school teacher tied, thrashed by TMC supporters over land dispute

KOLKATA: A high school teacher’s hands and legs were tied and she was thrashed and dragged for 30 feet allegedly by a group of five Trinamool Congress supporters led by a local gram panchayat member after she resisted an attempt to acquire her land for a village road in North Dinajpur district in north Bengal. Her mother and sister were also assaulted when they came to her rescue.

The incident came to light on Sunday evening when the teacher was released from a local hospital and she lodged a complaint with police. The ruling party has expelled the panchayat member. Police, however, are yet to arrest the accused.

Smritikana Das, a resident of Nandanpur who teaches at Sayrapur KMB High School in Gangarampur on contract, said the local panchayat had taken up a project to construct a road that would pass by her land. “The panchayat started the work without our consent. I was ready to give part of my land required for a 12-ft wide road without claiming compensation in the interest of the village. But on Friday I came to know the panchayat was planning to build a 24-ft wide road and encroached further on my land,” she said.

In her complaint lodged with Gangarampur police station, Smritikana, who is known as a BJP supporter, alleged when she went to the spot and protested, the upa-pradhan (deputy chief) of local panchayat, Amal and his associates assaulted her. “I fell on the ground after being thrashed. They brought ropes and tied my hands and legs before dragging me to a road-side hut to keep me confined. My sister Soma, came out to rescue me. The attackers slapped and kicked her too. Sarkar and his men also beat up my mother, brother and his wife,’’ she alleged.

A video of the purported attack is circulated on social media.

A section of villagers rescued Smritikana and her family members. They were taken to a state-run hospital where she was admitted. Others were discharged from the hospital after their preliminary medical examination.

Arpita Ghosh, the district Trinamool president, said the party never allows such heinous act. “Amal has been expelled from the party and police have been asked to take lawful action against the culprits,’” she said.