Representational Image. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Representational Image. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

CPIM youth wing activist dies in Bengal; party alleges police brutality

The victim has been identified as Maidul Islam Midda who allegedly sustained severe injuries on February 11 when police used tear gas, water cannons and resorted to lathicharge to disperse protesters in central Kolkata
By HT Correspondent | Edited by Smriti Sinha
PUBLISHED ON FEB 15, 2021 11:54 AM IST

A 31-year-old activist of the Democratic Youth Federation of India, the youth wing of the CPIM, died on Monday, four days after he was allegedly beaten up by the police during a protest march in Kolkata.

The victim has been identified as Maidul Islam Midda who allegedly sustained severe injuries on February 11 when police used tear gas, water cannons and resorted to lathicharge to disperse protesters in central Kolkata.

“He was murdered on the chief minister’s orders. We want justice. We are going for a state-wide protest,” DYFI secretary Sayandip Mitra said.

Midda, an auto-rickshaw driver and a resident of Bankura district, had come to Kolkata to participate in the protest. The activists were marching towards the state secretariat at Nabanna with a set of demands, including jobs. When police stopped them in central Kolkata, the activists reportedly tried to break the barricades and a clash followed. The activists reportedly attacked the police with stones and sticks. Dozens of Congress and Left activists, and some police personnel were injured in the clash.

The next day, the Left Front called for a 12-hour state-wide bandh with the Congress supporting it.

Reacting to the death, minister Subrata Mukherjee said, “Any death is unfortunate. But I am aware of the CPIM’s game plan as I have been fighting them for the past few decades. They wanted this to happen. Police were restrained on that day. But if someone wants to commit suicide, no one can help them.”

Meanwhile, the Opposition mounted attack on the Mamata Banerjee administration, saying that the government was trying to throttle all protests.

“This is a murder by the state government. The way police attacked the students can only be compared with the Jallianwala Bagh incident. More than 500 students were injured when police brutally attacked them,” CPIM leader Sujan Chakraborty said.

“This is an autocratic government. The administration is trying to snatch the people’s democratic rights. People are not being allowed to protest...People have to organise a mass movement against this,” said Abdul Mannan, veteran Congress leader and the Leader of the Opposition in the West Bengal assembly.

“Police have turned violent. Even BJP protesters were attacked when they marched towards Nabanna on October 8, 2020. Even protesting teachers were attacked. The administration has lost the people’s confidence and is now unleashing terror,” said Dilip Ghosh, state president of BJP.

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