A three-member team of the National Human Rights Commission( NHRC) that arrived at the Bagdogra airport from New Delhi on Monday alleged non-cooperation from the state government, as they headed to Islampur to investigate the alleged police firing on protesters at the Daribhit High School that killed two students on 20 September.

According to team members, they were held up at the Bagdogra Airport for more than two hours as the North Dinajpur district administration failed to arrange for vehicles that would take them to Islampur.

They alleged that neither the District Magistrate nor the Superintendent of Police answered their phone calls. They were, however, provided with a car later, which took them to Islampur in the evening. The team led by DIG Kurilos will be staying in Islampur till 15 October to investigate the matter, it is learnt.

It may be noted here that students of the Daribhit High School were demonstrating against the appointment of Urdu and Sanskrit teachers, while demanding teachers for more important subjects, when police allegedly opened fire on them, killing 21-year-old Rajesh Sarkar, a student of Islampur Polytechnic College on the spot. Another student, Tapas Barman, 21, died at the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital the next day. A standard 10 student of the school, Biplab Sarkar also received a bullet injury on his left knee and is still in critical condition.

The state government, however, claimed that police did not open fire on the students and handed over the charge of investigations to the CID. On the other hand, family members of the victims, who were witnesses to the incident, claimed they saw the police open fire at the protesters. They have demanded CBI inquiry, while they, along with state President of the BJP, Dilip Ghosh, met the Indian President in New Delhi with their demand. They also met NHRC officials there.

An Independent rights defender, Srirupa Mitra Chowdhury, who is accompanying the NHRC team, said, “I am a complainant in the Daribhit case. I filed the complaint with the NHRC on 27 September and on the basis of the same, the team is here to probe the issue. The team of the NHRC on Monday reached Bagdogra Airport at 1 PM, where they were not received by a single official. The district administration did not even allot a vehicle for the team to reach Islampur. After repeated calls, a car finally reached Bagdogra at 3 PM.”

District Magistrate of North Dinajpur, Arvind Meena, however, said they did send a vehicle to receive and take the team to Islampur. “We have even arranged accommodation for them in Islampur. Our officials are assisting them. The allegation of non-cooperation does not arise,” he said. At the airport, Choudhary alleged that the state government does not want the NHRC team to investigate the matter. “