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SFI student leader dies during protest

Police,accused of brutally beating him up,file counter complaint.

Written by Express News Service | Kolkata |
April 3, 2013 4:43:40 am

Police,accused of brutally beating him up,file counter complaint.

A 22-yeqr-old member of the SFI — the student wing of the CPM — died while being taken by the police along with dozens others after a protest march in Kolkata on Tuesday.

SFI members claimed that Sudipta Gupta,a student of Rabindra Bharati University,died after he was “brutally hit by policemen on his head and face” that led to his fall from the moving bus on which he was being taken to jail. The police,however,termed it as an accident saying he collided against a lamp post,which caused his death.

“The protest rally started from College Street at 12.30 pm and reached Esplanade. As we were heading towards Rani Rashmoni Road,we were intercepted by the police who began to lathicharge on us without any provocation. We were detained and put on two separate buses for being taken to jail. However,the two policemen who were inside the bus,roughed up and abused us on our way to jail. We were beaten up and even pushed out of the bus much before reaching the jail. We suddenly saw Sudipta fell off the bus and hit a lamp post. He was profusely bleeding and even in that state the policemen hit him with the baton on his forehead,” said Tanushree Mondal,a member of the SFI and an eyewitness.

According to Tanushree,there was no police van to take him to the hospital. “While some of the SFI members ran towards him,we were searching for a vehicle to take him to the hospital. But not a single police van could be found,” she said.

He was admitted to the SSKM Hospital in a critical condition where he succumbed to his injuries at 6.20 pm.

Senior leaders of the Left Front,including Biman Bose,Surya Kanta Mishra,Kshiti Goswami,Manju Majumder,rushed to the SSKM Hospital. It was Biman Bose who told mediapersons that Sudipta had died. He demanded a departmental inquiry into the incident and announced a protest rally on Thursday and a 12-hour strike in Garia-Tollygunge area.

Denying the allegations of police torture,Joint Commissioner of Police (Headquarters) Javed Shamim said: “A group of (SFI) supporters,who were being taken to the jail in a bus,had a verbal altercation with the home guard and a constable inside the bus. The altercation led to jostling at the gate where few students were leaning out and shouting slogans. It was unfortunate that this 22-year-old got hit against a lamp post in the melee.”

According to the him,37 others,including Home Guard Biswajit Mondal,have been injured. “Mondal was severely beaten up and had to be admitted at the ICU of Belle Vue,” he added.

Later in the evening,Home Guard Mondal filed a complaint against the SFI under section 307 (attempt to murder) of the IPC. Charges of rioting and damaging public property have also been slapped against the outfit.

Medical Superintendent of SSKM Hospital Tamal Kanti Ghosh said Sudipta had “severe blunt injuries and was in a critical state”. “The patient had head and facial injuries along with multiple fractures,indicating poly trauma. The nature of the injury could be specifically pointed out after the postmortem,” Ghosh added.

Meanwhile,SFI leader Ritabrata Banerjee,who too was arrested,alleged crucial time was lost at the hospital. “ He was left unattended for nearly 40 minutes at the emergency ward. He was then shifted to the new casualty block. Finally,after much persuasion he was shifted to Critical Care Unit,” Banerjee added.

The hospital authorities denied there was any delay in providing treatment to Sudipta. “We had to carry out a number of test for these type of cases,which may have taken time. Our medical team consisting of neuro-surgeons attended him immediately,” said Ghosh.

The death has come as a blow to Sudipta’s father,who had lost his wife a year ago. Pranab Gupta,retired central government employee,was inconsolable. Sudipta’s sister,Susmita Sen Gupta,said: “What can I say? Had my brother died in a road accident it would have been better. But this is unbelievable.”

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