CPM student leader dies in police custody in Kolkata, another critical

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Kolkata: The post-mortem report of a CPI(M) student leader, who died when police allegedly used excessive force while rounding them off during a protest in Kolkata, is expected today. Another injured youth leader is reported to be critical.

Sudipta Gupta, 24, and hundreds of other activists of the Students’ Federation of India (SFI) were protesting yesterday against the Mamata Banerjee government’s decision to put off college union elections. They had courted arrest and were being taken to jail in buses by the police.

Police say Mr Gupta hit an electricity post while getting off the bus in front of the Presidency Jail and suffered head injuries.

But SFI activists allege that police hit Mr Gupta with batons while pushing him out of the bus.

“We were protesting peacefully when the police baton-charged us,” said Ritabrata Bhattacharya, a student leader.

On being taken to hospital, doctors declared Mr Gupta dead. An outraged CPI(M) blamed the Mamata Banerjee government for the death. “It’s very clear what level the Mamata Banerjee government can sink to. This is an attack on democracy,” said CPI(M) leader Nilotpal Basu.

Another student leader was injured and underwent surgery for almost seven hours. His right arm was nearly severed when police allegedly smashed the window of a bus and a piece of glass injured his arm.

Mr Gupta’s family has demanded that those responsible for his death be booked. “The people responsible should get adequate punishment,” Pranab Kumar Gupta, the student leader’s father, said.

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