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Kolkata/Siliguri: An atmosphere of apprehension and subdued tension prevail in different parts of the state, including Kolkata, over BJP’s 12-hour Bengal bandh from 6 am tomorrow (26 September).

This is even as the state government has announced that there will additional public transport on the streets tomorrow and compensation will be paid to private vehicles if they are damaged by the bandh enforcers.

BJP has called for the bandh against the death of two students due to bullet injury at Darvit in Islampur following a student-police clash on 20 September. The saffron party is trying to highlight the incident as a fight between Bengali and Urdu language, with the latter being assigned to the Muslim community.

The Left parties and the Congress have stated that they do not support the bandh as it is a ploy by BJP to create a communal divide in Bengal by misusing the Islampur student deaths.

Apprehensive of the safety of students, several private schools in Kolkata, affiliated to the CBSE and ICSE boards, have suspended the classes tomorrow either partially or in its entirety.

These include the junior section DPS Ruby Park, Mahadevi Birla World Academy, and all the three schools of the Ashoka Hall Group. Some schools have also postponed unit tests that were scheduled for tomorrow.

Burdwan University has suspended all the exams of its distance learning courses for an indefinite period apprehending that the examinees hailing from different parts of the state may not be able to turn up in time due to the bandh.

Angry over some Kolkata private schools suspending the classes tomorrow, state education minister Partha Chatterjee said that the government has “taken this very seriously.”

“We have repeatedly said that there will be adequate police deployment on the streets and police protection will even be provided to individual school buses and schools if we get a request.”

“Yet, the way some schools have suspended classes is uncalled for. True they are under the Central broads but state’s NOC is needed for the schools to function. We will keep this in mind when the time comes,” the education minister told reporters today.

Chatterjee said that the state government will provide compensation to vehicles damaged by bandh enforcers tomorrow. Rs 75,000 will be paid for partial damage and up to Rs 6-lakh for severe damage.

To receive bandh related complaints, it has also opened a helpline with the number being 033-2242-0278. People can also WhatsApp the complaints to 89020-17191.

Despite all these, state BJP president Dilip Ghosh is confident that the bandh will be successful tomorrow. “The common people will enforce the bandh. There will be a befitting reply if police try to forcibly lift the bandh,” he told reporters at Hemtabad in North Dinajpur.

Ghosh, who addressed a public meeting at Hemtabad during the day, threatened police officers against bias.

“People are uniting. We will out throw Trinamool government in 2021. We are maintaining a record of all police officers who are behaving like Trinamool cadres. We don’t understand change. There will be revenge,” he thundered in his speech.

South Dinajpur BJP district president Shankar Chakraborty was arrested for asking people to chain police to trees.

“Police are entering Darvit village in the night like thieves. But our district president had been arrested for asking people to chain such thieves,” Ghosh said. Chakraborty was released on bail today.

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