Calcutta HC upholds order for NIA probe into death of 2 students at Darivit High School

Kolkata, April 3 (IANS) The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday upheld an earlier order passed by a single-judge bench of the same court directing for an NIA probe into the killings of two former students of Darivit High School -- Tapas Burman and Rajesh Sarkar -- inside the school compound in North Dinajpur district on September 20, 2018.

The division bench of Chief Justice T.S. Sivagnanam and Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharya also upheld the order passed by the single-judge bench of Justice Rajasekhar Mantha to pay compensation to the family members of the victims.

Accordingly, the bench directed the West Bengal government to pay the compensation amount to the victims' families within the next seven days.

On March 15, Justice Mantha issued a “contempt of court” notice against Chief Secretary B.P. Gopalika, Home Secretary Nandini Chakraborty, and the Additional DG of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), R. Rajasekaran, for non-compliance with the order issued by his bench in May 2023 for the handover of the investigation to the NIA, and paying compensation to the family members of the victims.

On March 19, the state government approached the division bench of Justice Sivagnanam against the contempt of court notice issued by Justice Mantha.

When the matter came up for hearing on Wednesday, the division bench refused to accept the state government’s plea seeking a stay on the contempt notice.

Instead, the bench directed the state government to adhere to the single-judge bench's order passed in May last year, and also submit a report on the handover of charge to the NIA at the earliest.

In September 2018, a group of students, their guardians, and former students of Darivit High School staged a protest against the school authority's decision to appoint Urdu and Sanskrit teachers by ignoring the vacancies of teachers for crucial subjects like science and mathematics.

Those opposed to the protest clashed with the agitators which soon turned the school compound into a virtual battlefield, leading to the death of two former students. The families of the deceased have alleged that the duo died in police firing.

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