Kolkata, April 3: Even as thousands of Kolkatans took to the street on Wednesday to accompany of the funeral procession of slain SFI leader Sudipta Gupta, who was killed after being thrashed mercilessly by the police on Tuesday, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) government in the state refused to acknowledge that it was a case of police atrocity.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had gone to the SSKM Hospital on Wednesday where Gupta succumbed to his injuries but instead of criticizing the police action, she said that it was an accident and that many supporters of her own party were also killed while travelling on train roof. She instantly faced protest from the SFI supporters after making the statement and the latter alleged that the CM guarded the police department and there was little chance that the guilty would be punished.
Banerjee went to the police headquarters at Lal Bazar from the hospital where she met top police officers. The CM although said it was just a courtesy visit.
Meanwhile, the father of the slain youth leader, Pranab Gupta, refused to accept help from the chief minister. "We are not beggars," said an emotional Pranab.
TMC MP Derek O'Brien also said on Wednesday that CCTV footage suggested that the tragedy was an accident and the police was not responsible for Gupta's death. He said the state police was turned into a political agent during the Left rule but the situation had changed after the TMC came to power. He said the state police no more worked under any kind of political pressure. The TMC MP said what happened on Tuesday "was history".
He said the youth's death was a tragedy but this was not the time to indulge in political blame game and break all barriers. He said the TMC supremo had no problem in visiting a Left supporter's family at this hour of humanitarian crisis.
Meanwhile, the driver and the helper of the bus from which Gupta was thrown out by the police were arrested on a number of charges but were given bail later. The police were also taking stock of the lamp-posts in the city which were ‘dangerously placed' so that they could not removed and ‘accidents' could be averted. Gupta had hit a lamp-post after being pushed off the bus and was seriously injured.
Critics said that these steps were being made to divert the attention from the murder of the 22-year-old student leader.
The state human rights commission has ordered a probe into the incident and sought a report within seven days.