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HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

22-yr-old’s custodial death sparks fresh crisis for Mamata

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times  Kolkata, April 03, 2013
First Published: 17:07 IST(3/4/2013) | Last Updated: 17:10 IST(3/4/2013)

The Mamata Banerjee government is staring at a fresh crisis with the death of a student SFI activist in police custody, a first after Parivartan.

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The incident is expected to give political mileage to CPI(M), which has planned a series of programmes, including agitations and rallying the body in the city targeting chief minister Mamata Banerjee who is also the home minister. Even the Congress and the BJP have trained guns at the government.

Twenty-two-year-old Sudipta Gupta died in police custody after a pre-scheduled law violation programme by SFI.

From arrest of party leaders like Arabul Islam and Muhammed Iqbal to State Election Commission rushing to court against the government over the panchayat poll dates, Mamata has been in a spot. “This is cold-blooded murder. Mamata Banerjee is the home minister and she should take responsibility,” said CPI(M) central committee member Md Selim.

Following the incident senior leadership including Left Front chairman Biman Bose rushed to SSKM hospital and later huddled into a meeting at Alimuddin Street headquarters, charting out a plan for a series of agitation to get as much mileage as possible.

SFI planned to parade the body in the city on Wednesday. After post-mortem the body will be taken to CPI(M) party headquarters at Alimuddin Street. Thereafter it will be taken to Dinesh Majumdar Bhawan, SFI headquarters. Later the body will be taken to Netaji Nagar College where the victim studied. Then it will be taken to his home near Garia station for last rites.

“This was an announced, prescheduled simple law violation programme. How could this lead to death? Is it government’s job to kill students? People throughout the state will organise protest rallies against this,” said Sujan Chakraborty, member of CPI(M) state committee.

“We demand a thorough investigation into the incident and strict punishment for the policemen responsible. Police atrocities are on the rise in Bengal and what is the government doing?” said Pradip Bhattacharjee, president of West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee.

“How can police beat a political worker to death? It is a sad incident,” said Rahul Sinha, BJP state president.

Till late evening, senior leaders of Trinamool remained tight-lipped about the incident. “Any death is painful and sad but irresponsible SFI leaders are to be blamed for this death. How can they get so many students and not be able to control them?” said Sonkudeb Panda, president of Trinamool Chattra Parishad, the party’s student wing.

The fresh crisis comes at a time when Mamata is already inundated by a series of embarrassing incidents and developments recently. Two senior party leaders were recently arrested for murder and attempt to murder, including Bhangar party strongman Arabul Islam and Borough chairman in Garden Reach Muhammed Iqbal.

Police are on the hunt for another party councillor Shambhunath Kow in Dhapa accused in the murder of a partyman recently. The latest headache for the government is the state election commission, which knocked the doors of Calcutta High Court over panchayat polls.


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