HOWRAH: Two groups of students came to blows with each other in a school in Howrah on Tuesday after members of one group came to school wearing 'namabalis' (religious scarves) because members of the other group were allowed to wear hijab in class.
The incident prompted the authorities to cancel exams, including pre-boards. Police, along with RAF, entered the school to defuse the tension.
The school has convened a meeting with the managing committee, parents and the local administration to ensure peace. Dhulagori Adarsha Vidyalaya in Howrah's Sankrail is a 50-year-old school, affiliated to the state board.
Around five students gathered at the school gate on Tuesday, sporting 'namabalis' over their school uniforms. They demanded that they be let inside. The Class-XII pre-board history exam was supposed to start shortly.
The school authorities tried to reason with the students but the youngsters demanded that they be allowed in with the 'namabali' as some girls could wear hijabs. More students joined the five outside the school, while those inside were split into two groups. The teachers, including the teacher in-charge, were inadequate to control the students. According to some, the two groups clashed with each other on the school premises and ransacked properties. But this could not be confirmed.
Teacher-in-charge Arindam Banerjee immediately called up the Sankrail police station. A team, along with RAF, reached the school and brought the situation under control. Howrah police commissioner Praveen Tripathi declined to comment.
State minister Arup Ray said, "There has been an instigation. I have also spoken to police. I have requested police for a thorough probe, not only to find the perpetrators but also to find who instigated them." Teacher-in-charge declined to elaborate but said, "With the help of the administration, guardians and all stakeholders, our immediate task is to bring back normalcy."
The exams slated for Wednesday have now been postponed indefinitely. Dhulagarh local Trinamool leader Arupesh Bhattacharya said, "There has been a deliberate attempt to incite trouble. School examinations cannot be delayed for long."