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SFI leader death: Mamata govt under fire, oppn demands judicial probe

Kolkata: The Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal came under fire today from opposition parties which pressed for a judicial probe into the death of a young SFI leader in police custody under controversial circumstances which sparked an outrage.

Amid protests, thousands of people joined the funeral procession of 22-year-old Sudipta Gupta after former Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, Left Front chairman Biman Bose and Leader of the Opposition Suryakanta Mishra among other top CPI-M leaders paid their last respects at the Dinesh Mazumdar Bhavan, the SFI state headquarters.

Sudipto Gupta. Ibnlive

Sudipto Gupta. Ibnlive

Bose said the Left Front has demanded a judicial probe into the death of the MA student of the Rabindra Bharati University.

The Chief Minister was also targetted by the Opposition for watahcing the IPL cricket tournament inauguration here yesterday on a day when the student leader died.

The funeral processionists shouted slogans condemning alleged police brutality on the students at yesterday's rally even as the Trinamool government was dubbed by opposition as "insensitive".

The West Bengal Human Rights Commission took suo motu cognisance of the death of the student after arrest while being taken to Presidency Jail here following a law violation programme by the SFI.

WBHRC chairman Justice (retd) Ashok Ganguly told PTI that the Commissioner of Kolkata Police has been asked to submit a report within a week.

Banerjee, who visited the state-run SSKM Hospital where the student leader's body was kept to express her condolences, described the death as unfortunate, but evaded a question on whether a judicial inquiry would be ordered.

"Any death is unfortunate. This is also unfortunate. I will not say anything more than this," she told reporters.

Banerjee claimed the student leader was killed when he hit a 'post' and that many of her own party workers had died similarly when they had thrust their heads out while travelling by train. Sudipta's father Pranab Kumar claimed he was beaten to death by police.

SFI members present at the hospital shouted slogans against the chief minister during the visit.

Sudipta's elder sister demanded a CBI inquiry.

A doctor, who performed the postmortem on Sudipta, said he received a fatal head injury after being hit by a blunt object but did not elaborate.

The doctor said that the details will be mentioned in post mortem report to be submitted within the next 48 hours.

"He had a head injury. He received a head injury after being hit by a blunt object. I can't say anything more than this," head of SSKM's forensic department B N Khali told PTI.

Asked about the blunt object, Khali refused to elaborate and said,"everything would be mentioned in the post mortem report to be submitted within the next 48 hours".

Meanwhile, the student leader's father Pranab Kumar Gupta, declined 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 money. It is against my principles. She is offering me money, but can she return my son?" he questioned.

Asked about Banerjee's statement that Sudipta died after hitting a post, Gupta reiterated that his son "was beaten to death and he would fight for justice".

CPI(M) state secretary and politburo member Biman Bose said "When we have demanded a judicial probe, she should not have made such comment. What will be the inquiry if she made advance comment?We want that the culprits should be punished."

Bose, also the Left Front chairman, said,"It was good that she visited hospital today. She was watching the IPL inauguration when Sudipta died."

Reiterating the demand for a judicial inquiry, CPI-M leader Md Salim said the victim had courted arrest and had been in police custody.

Accusing her of showing insensitivity, the CPIM leader said, "She was watching the IPL inauguration yesterday instead of consoling Sudipta's family. Today she described it like any other accident. She is not acknowledging her responsibility."

Sudipta's elder sister demanded a CBI inquiry into her brother's death saying her family wanted justice.

WBPCC President Pradip Bhattacharya said "I had never thought that the CM would guard the police who killed the boy.

"I thought the chief minister will order a judicial probe. It is not an unjustified demand. But she said it was an accident," he said.

PTI