Mamata Banerjee says SFI activist Sudipto Gupta’s death is ‘petty matter’, father objects

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Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee yesterday created a controversy by saying that young activist Sudipto Gupta’s death was a “petty matter” and no reason for students in Kolkata to protest over.

Mr Gupta’s father, Pranab Kumar Gupta, anguished by Ms Banerjee’s comments, today said he does not understand why such statements are being made. He said he just wants a fair and impartial inquiry.

“Have I asked for any compensation or any money… I do not need anything except a fair and impartial inquiry… any kind of statements are not going to get my child back,” he said.
Sudipto Gupta was a member of the Students Federation of India (SFI), which says that he was beaten repeatedly on the head by the police when it arrested a group of activists protesting against Ms Banerjee’s decision to postpone college union elections. The SFI is the youth wing of the CPI(M).

Ms Banerjee has backed the police, which says he hit his head on a lamp-post when he fell out of a bus that was meant to move the arrested students to prison.

An autopsy report shows Mr Gupta had a broken jaw and fractures on his head as well as injury marks all over his body, and that all the injuries were sustained before his death.

The Kolkata Police has come out strongly contradicting the post mortem report. The police said that the head injuries suffered by Mr Gupta indicated that he had run into a blunt, stationary object.

“Death due to head injuries… And no injuries due to lathis or rods… He hit head on lamp post,” said Javed Shamim, Joint Commissioner of Police, Law & Order, Kolkata.

The State Human Rights Commission will investigate the death, and has asked the police to submit a report within a week.

His daughter created a controversy last night when she said on a television channel, “The CPM brainwashed my brother. The leaders used him for the party’s interest.”

Today, she clarified that her remarks had been made under emotional stress.

“Our appeal to the media is please don’t jump to a conclusion because the way the incident is being projected is not right. We have launched a thorough investigation and the forensic team has visited the spot,” Joint Commissioner of Police (Hqs) Javed Shamim said.

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