Tension gripped Tripura’s border Sepahijala district on Friday and a huge contingent of security forces was deployed after a student belonging to the minority community was brutally attacked by a group of “outsiders”, belonging to a different community.
Police said that the incident occurred after Mohammad Illyas Sarkar, a class 10 student of a government-aided Higher Secondary School in Bishalghar sub-division protested against “outsiders” for preventing Muslim girl students wearing hijab.
Police and Fire and Emergency Service Personnel immediately rushed to the school and rescued the injured boy and shifted to the hospital.
The incident sparked outrage among the locals leading to a road blocked in protest against the attack.
The Sepahijala district police in a Facebook post said : “An incident of assault upon a student of Karaimura Higher Secondary School under Bishalgarh PS, Sepahijala District has been reported to Bishalgarh PS.
“Police immediately rushed to the spot and brought the situation under control. A specific case in this regard has been registered and investigation is in progress.
“It is clarified that the incident is in no way related to any religious issue as circulated in some platforms. We request all to maintain peace and tranquility in the area. Pls avoid any kind of rumour. Rumour mongers will be booked and strict action will be taken against them.”
A group of students later ransacked the headmaster’s room in protest against the attack by the outsiders.
The locals alleged that Sarkar was dragged out of the school premises and beaten in front of the school, while no teacher, including the headmaster, came to his rescue.
Priyatosh Nandi, the headmaster of the Karaimura Higher Secondary school, later said that a week ago, a group of former students, all affiliated with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), met him to raise concerns about allowing Muslim girl students to wear hijab in the school premises and requested him to enforce a ban on it.
They asked the headmaster to ask all students to wear the common school uniforms.
Nandi, however, said that he was not aware about the state government’s norms about the wearing of hijab by the students in the school premises.
As Muslim girls continue to come to school wearing hijab, a group of Hindu students also attended school in saffron-coloured kurtas on Thursday.
As a precautionary measure, classes have been suspended on Friday in an effort to deescalate the situation.
A huge contingent of Central Reserve Police Force were deployed in and around the school premises.
Authorities are closely monitoring the situation, and efforts are being made to resolve the issue and restore peace in the district, bordering Bangladesh.
The main opposition CPI-M condemned the attack on the minority student and demanded action against the VHP members.
Local BJP MLA Sukanta Deb also condemned the attack.
A similar controversy erupted in Karnataka early last year after a college barred wearing Hijab inside educational institutions.
The issue rocked the state soon and a case is currently pending in the Supreme Court on this matter.