Eight girl school students protesting against the transfer of a teacher in Dharmanagar of the North Tripura district were hospitalized on Tuesday after a few people from the school management committee tried to dissuade them from holding the protest and allegedly assaulted them.

The incident was reported as Chief Minister Dr Manik Saha, who also holds the education portfolio, visited the district to inaugurate newly constructed school buildings.

The school management committee members involved in the incident were alleged to be local Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, even though the saffron party distanced itself saying it didn’t have any information about the incident and if anyone had assaulted the students, the law should take its course irrespective of political colors.

The protest was held at the Jiban Tripura Higher Secondary School in the district where Brajalal Nath, a teacher who joined three months ago was transferred, much to the ire of students who said they found his lessons helpful. Nath was conducting online remedial classes apart from other student-friendly initiatives which became popular among the school children, said sources.

The aggrieved students blocked the Dharmanagar-Kailashahar road demanding the cancellation of their teacher’s transfer. Speaking to reporters, a student said, “We wanted our teacher to continue teaching us. We were demanding this when some people came and assaulted us. They raised their hands on us and assaulted us physically”.

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As the protest intensified after they put the school’s main gate under lock and key and blocked the adjoining main road, the police from the local police station rushed to bring the situation under control. A group of local people also intervened, asking the students to withdraw the road blockade.

The students named some people, who they said were members of the school management committee, tried to intimidate them, verbally abused them and even attacked some of them physically.

Later, eight girls were taken to the Dharmanagar District Hospital after they were rescued by the fire service personnel. Some of the students said they lost consciousness and were taken to hospitals. Moutushi Das, a Class 10 student, and Anupriya Nath and Ishita Nath of Class 8 along with others were released after treatment.

One of the persons accused of physically assaulting the students denied the allegations and said he went to the protest site to calm the situation. He claimed the students were standing on the road for nearly 30 minutes or so and it could have caused them to lose consciousness in the heat.

Some of the students and their parents said they would contact the police station to lodge a complaint over the issue. However, there was no complaint was officially registered until the latest reports came in.

Speaking to indianexpress.com, a Tripura Police officer said, “A teacher of the school was transferred and some students tried to stage a protest for that. As far as we have come to know, some people from the school management committee went to talk the issue over with the protesters. However, some students felt unwell for reasons still unknown and they later said they were assaulted. We haven’t received any complaint so far”.

BJP state spokesperson Nabendu Bhattacharjee said the saffron party did not have any information about the incident yet. “If there was any such incident where anyone assaulted the girl students, they should go to the police and I believe they will take appropriate actions as per law, irrespective of whichever party of otherwise affiliation they are associated with. The law will take its own course,” said Bhattacharjee.