Cooch Behar Erupts: Rajbanshis Protest BJP MLA's Remarks on School Recruitment

Burning Effigies, Trinamul Counter-Rally Mark Day of Anger Over Alleged "Anti-Rajbanshi" Stance

Dec 21, 2023 - 11:31
Cooch Behar Erupts: Rajbanshis Protest BJP MLA's Remarks on School Recruitment
Supporters of the Greater Cooch Behar People’s Association take out a march in Cooch Behar on Wednesday

Cooch Behar Boils: Rajbanshis Fume as BJP MLA Sparks Recruitment Row in Minority Schools

Cooch Behar, West Bengal: Tensions flared in Cooch Behar town on Wednesday as hundreds of Rajbanshis, an indigenous community, took to the streets in protest against BJP MLA Mihir Goswami's comments regarding recruitment in Rajbanshi-medium schools. Accusing Goswami of being "anti-Rajbanshi", protestors burned his effigy and demanded his apology.

At the Heart of the Matter:

The controversy stems from the state government's recent decision to recognize 200 Rajbanshi-medium schools in North Bengal and initiate recruitment of para-teachers and non-teaching staff. Goswami, however, questioned the transparency of the process, alleging irregularities and lack of proper notification. He raised concerns about potential corruption involving Trinamul leaders and promised to escalate the issue to Suvendu Adhikari, Leader of Opposition, and even the judiciary if necessary.

Rajbanshis Rise in Defense:

Bangshibadan Barman, president of a faction of the Greater Cooch Behar People's Association (GCPA) and a prominent advocate for Rajbanshi language and culture, vehemently denied Goswami's accusations. He asserted that the state has followed proper procedures, visiting schools before recognition and recruiting existing teachers. Barman, also chairman of the Rajbanshi development and cultural board and language academy, led the protest march that drew over 1500 participants and culminated in the fiery effigy burning.

TMC Joins the Fray:

Adding further fuel to the fire, Trinamul Congress supporters held a separate rally late in the afternoon, expressing their support for the recruitment process. Carrying brooms, a symbolic gesture of protest against injustice, they slammed Goswami for his remarks. This counter-rally highlighted the political divide on this issue, with Trinamul backing the government's initiative and BJP raising concerns about transparency.

Beyond the Politics:

While the controversy hinges on political accusations, it also touches upon the sensitive issue of minority language education. The recognition of Rajbanshi-medium schools and recruitment of teachers represents a significant step towards preserving and promoting the indigenous language and culture. However, concerns about corruption and fair practices threaten to undermine this positive development.

The Road Ahead:

Goswami's claims have undoubtedly cast a shadow on the recruitment process. Whether his allegations hold merit and lead to further investigations remains to be seen. Meanwhile, the strong reaction from the Rajbanshi community underscores their desire for educational opportunities and their sensitivity to accusations against their language and culture. The Cooch Behar episode highlights the complex interplay of politics, education, and minority rights in West Bengal, and its resolution will be closely watched by all stakeholders.

Rajesh Mondal I am founder of Press Time Pvt Ltd, a News company. I am also a video editor, content Creator and Full Stack Web Developer.