Under Opposition pressure, Mamata terms SFI leader's death unfortunate
Under pressure from opposition after the death of a SFI leader, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee today termed the episode as "unfortunate". SFI leader's death triggers protestsUpdated: Apr 03, 2013, 21:00 IST
Under pressure from opposition after the death of a SFI leader, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday termed the episode as unfortunate", but evaded a question on whether a judicial probe would be ordered as demanded by the CPI-M.
CPI(M) today demanded a judicial inquiry into the death of Sudipta Gupta alleging he was beaten to death by the police. "We have demanded a judicial probe into the killing of Gupta," who was brutally beaten by the police, state CPI(M) leader Rabin Deb said.
"Any death is unfortunate. This is also unfortunate. I will not say anything more than this," Banerjee told reporters here outside the state-run SSKM hospital where SFI leader Sudipta Gupta's body was kept.
She said this in response to a media query that whether the state government would order a judicial inquiry into the death as demanded by opposition CPI-M.
Banerjee said the SFI leader was killed after he collided against a post, and claimed many of her own party workers had died in this way.
The chief minister said she visited the hospital to express her sympathy and assured all help to the bereaved family.
SFI activists present at the hospital raised slogans against her during the visit. Sudipta Gupta's father Pronob Kumar Gupta, however, refused to accept any help from the state government. "My son was beaten to death. Is it justice? I was a central government employee. I get pension. I cannot accept any money. It is against my principle. She is offering me money, but can she return my son?" he said.
Asked about Banerjee's statement that Sudipta died after he hit a post, Pronob Kumar reiterated that his son was beaten to death and he would fight for justice.
Sudipta's death has triggered a row with the police claiming it as an accident while CPI-M alleges that he succumbed to injuries sustained in police lathicharge.
In a separate development, the driver of the bus in which the SFI leader along with other supporters were being taken away after arrest by the police was arrested today.
Further investigation into the case is being conducted with the arrest of the bus driver, a senior police official said.
The police claimed that SFI supporters had turned violent and threw rotten tomatoes and eggs at the policemen deployed in their protest venue.
In protest against the incident, the SFI has called for a 12-hour 'bandh' in some area of south Kolkata tomorrow.
In Delhi, Union minister Manish Tewari expressed anger over the death of a CPI (M) student leader allegedly due to police action in Kolkata. He said the West Bengal government should overcome partisan politics and ensure justice in the case.
"As a student/youth activist who often was at the receiving end of the tender mercies of police feel sad and angry at Sudipta Gupta's death," Tewari said in a post on social networking website Twitter.
"Hope the government of W Bengal that consists of former Chattra Parishad/ Youth Congress activists would surmount partisan politics for justice," he added.
22-year-old Sudipta Gupta, who was arrested after a clash with police, died yesterday triggering a row with police who claim Gupta fell from a vehicle, while opposition leaders alleged he had succumbed to injuries sustained in lathicharge by police.
The incident happened when SFI supporters gathered in Rani Rasmoni area of Kolkata in connection with a protest rally to demand holding of college union elections in the state.