The DPS Megacity schoolbus has been escorted by armed and uniformed policemen in two police vehiclesaone in front and one behindasince Thursday, a day after it was assaulted by alleged BJP members near BT College during the bandh called by the party. Twenty-five students and teachers were on board the bus when the group attacked it and threatened to set it on fire. Police vehicles now follow the bus as it picks up children from Madhyamgram and other parts of North 24 Parganas at 6.30 a.m. and transports them to New Town. On the return voyage, the police vehicles rejoin the bus near the Kolkata airport and travel in convoy, delivering each of the forty children on board to their respective homes. aWe understand that the students and their parents are rattled by the attack. Amit Javalgi, deputy commissioner (headquarters) of the Bidhannagar Commissionerate, stated that awe are providing them with police escort to build confidence, even though there have been no further incidents along the route.The attack has made parents so anxious that as soon as their children board the bus, they call the vehicle supervisor multiple times to check on them. The BJP called yesterday’s Bangla Bandh as a protest against the firing of two students. The throng attacked a school bus from my son’s school that was traveling the same route as ours. It could have also been his transport! Even he was preparing for school when I received the news from the bus personnel, which I learned as he was getting ready for school. The throng struck the windows of the bus with bamboos, shattering the glass and cracking the windscreen. This lasted approximately 15 minutes. They threatened to set the carriage on fire. I have learned from various sources that this has traumatized the children on the transport. The mother of a seven-year-old child who travels in the same bus but in the second shift posted on Facebook on Thursday, aI wonder how they are protesting crime against students by committing severe crimes against other innocent children,a and aParents have been calling us every few minutes to inquire if the children are safe and how far we have traveled. We assure them of police protection, which has significantly boosted the guardians’ morale. Some parents have even driven a certain distance to ensure their children’s safety, according to the bus superintendent Gopal Chandra Das. Bus driver Ravi Prasad Mahato said he was reassured by the police presence. The police escorting us encourages me to travel along the designated route. The children feel secure as well,a he said.The bus is part of a fleet of approximately 750 buses operated by Urban Paribahan Services Pvt Ltd, a travel agency that provides schoolbus service to 21 main schools in the city, including DPS Megacity. We have been operating school transport services in the city for over twenty years. Since 1995, this is the first occasion a schoolbus has been assaulted. We operate vehicles on every bandh day and have become confident that nothing will go wrong over the past few years. However, this incident has diminished our confidence, as stated by the company’s director, Anurag Agarwal.
Authorities of the toll plaza at Farakka, however, dismissed the allegation that local MLA Monirul Islam was attacked and claimed that commoners protested after he