No One Killed Sudipto Gupta?
“Sarfaroshi ki tamanna aab hamare dil main hai, dekhna hain jor kitna bajuye katil main hain”, these are the words posted on the Facebook page of Sudipto Gupta updated on March 23, 2013, his last post on the social networking site.
Sudipto is now a familiar name as his name has been in the headlines of leading newspapers and television channels, for almost a week for after his death and the circumstances leading to his death.
Sudipto had participated in a law-violation programme organised by all Left student unions in the heart of Kolkata held to demand resumption of student union elections in colleges. The elections have been put on hold for six months following violence in front of a Garden Reach college that killed a police officer.
Sudipto Gupta, a 22-year-old student, living in a middle class locality in South Kolkata, was a state committee leader of Students Federation of India, a student wing of the Communist party of India (Marxist) and was a student of M.A (Political Science) final year of Rabindra Bharati University.
In one of the most horrific incidents in Kolkata on April 2, 2013, he died of head injury as the post-mortem report reveals, while being taken by police in a bus to Presidency Jail after he and other student activists had courted arrest. The report indicated that Sudipto might have hit his head with a lamppost when he along with over a hundred other arrested students were being taken to Presidency Jail. But going by the account of an eyewitness, who was on the bus, said, “Yes, he did hit the lamppost. But that did not kill him. Even after he fell on the ground, he was beaten up with rods and hit on the face. His eyes had popped out.”
Sudipto is different from other students and youths of his age because he was a student leader of SFI, student wing of Communist Party of India (Marxist). It is for this reason that state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is the president and founder of Trinmool Congress, did not find time to visit the grieving father of the student on the day. But later next day when she found time to visit the body of the student in hospital, it became more pathetic when she said, “Any death is very unfortunate, and this one is too, I also have lost many party workers like this.” The statement was shocking and was not expected from the chief minister of the state.
The CPI(M) and Left Front reacted strongly demanding judicial inquiry into the death of the student. Biman Bose, chairman of the Left Front in West Bengal, said, “The SFI student leader has died in police custody, so the state government is solely responsible.”
Meanwhile, the grieving father of the victim, Pronob Gupta, who had lost his wife a year ago, met Governor of West Bengal M K Narayanan and demanded a CBI probe into the death of his son saying that he did not have faith in police and state government. He also declined to accept any compensation from the state government.
Political circles believe that the death of Sudipto had benefitted the Left politics by giving them an issue. He has been made a martyr, which is evident from the countrywide protest of the Left after Sudipto’s death. When approached by Uday India, Derek O’ Brien, chief whip of Trinmool Congress and national spokesperson of the party, said, “I don’t want to politicise the issue, so no comment.”
This incident also brought into focus student politics, the need and viability of student politics in the country.
The elder sister of Sudipto Gupta, Sumita Sengupta, also insisted to end the violent student politics, saying, “I am not against politics, but students should be free to pursue their own cause. If they have a problem, they should approach the principal. Why should students be fighting under the banner of a political party?”
The Lyngdoh Committee had wanted dissociation “of student elections and student representation in political parties”.
According to the Lyngdoh report, a college poll candidate should have the minimum attendance percentage as prescribed by the university or 75 per cent, whichever is higher.
Although the committee refrained from prescribing minimum marks, the candidate, it said, should have no academic arrears in the year of contesting the election.
Sudipto, who according to his friends always used to say, “Without education, politics is not possible.”
The face of today’s modern youths, who are conscious, educated and who want to bring change in society, are seen protesting on the streets of Jantar Mantar to have a corruption free country with national flags in their hands, while at different occasion they are is seen protesting on the lawns of the India Gate, in Delhi, against the brutal gangrape of a Delhi girl.
Anyone has the right to choose his or her own career. Sudipto, who was also a good singer, poet and writer, might have chosen politics as his career rather than becoming a doctor or engineer.
It is always said that those who want to make politics corruption free should join politics. But if their fate turn like Sudipto, who will dare to enter politics?
Here, we can rightly conclude with the words of Sudipto Gupta’s sister Sumita Sengupta, who says, “It’s a personal loss. Not everyone will understand”.
By Joydeep Dasgupta from Kolkata