Protest in Delhi over Kolkata student’s death

New Delhi, April 3 (IANS) The death of a 22-year-old student union leader in Kolkata led to a noisy protest in the national capital by college students, even as both the Left and the Congress condemened the incident.

Around 100 student union members of the Jawaharlal Nehru University gathered outside Banga Bhawan in central Delhi, shouted slogans and demanded action.

“Our demand is that all those involved in the incident should be punished,” JNU Student’s Union president Lenin told IANS about the Students Federation of India (SFI) leader Sudipto Gupta’s alleged death in police custody in Kolkata.

He refuted the police’s claim that he died after falling down from a bus.

Carrying placards and banners, the students also raised slogans against the West Bengal government and criticised its inaction.

Some students also tried to scale the perimeter wall of the building, which is used by the state officials during their stay in the national capital, and were stopped by police.

“This is the first time that a student died in police custody. Action should be taken against the errant police officers,” said Siddhartha Kumar, another JNU student.

Meanwhile, the Communist Party of India- Marxist leader Sitaram Yechury demanded a judicial probe into the death.

“We just cannot accept this act of the police in any state where the police grants permission for peaceful demonstrations to be held. But in Kolkata, it beats up the students, arrests them, takes them in buses and in the process virtually murders a student,” Yechury told reporters here.

“Under police custody, such a death is something that cannot be accepted. The police version (that he died after falling from the bus) is incredulous. Therefore, we think there should be a judicial inquiry into this,” he said.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari also said he was disturbed by the death.

“As a (former) student activist, I have been at the receiving end of the tender mercies of police lathis during my career. I feel extremely disturbed at this young boy’s death,” Tewari said here.

“This is not about politics. There are people in the West Bengal government who were our colleagues in Chattra Parishad and Youth Congress, who have similarly been at the receiving end of police atrocities,” he said.

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