Turning down West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s offer of help, the family of an SFI leader, who was allegedly beaten to death by the police while in custody, on Wednesday took exception to her remarks on the incident.
“You [Ms, Banerjee] should not tempt me with money … I am not a beggar. I will not accept anything,” said Pranab Kumar Gupta, father of Sudipta Gupta, leader of the Students Federation of India — student wing of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).
“Is this justice? … Can you bring my son back?” the inconsolable retired government employee asked here.
Earlier in the day, Ms Banerjee during her visit to the state-run SSKM Hospital in the city, where the body was kept, said the government was ready to offer all possible assistance to Sudipta’s family.
Demanding justice, Mr. Gupta, who saw his son in the hospital on Tuesday, said his face had become deformed with injuries. Sudipta was arrested when he was participating in a protest and he died of injuries in the hospital. Asked about Ms Banerjee passing off Tuesday’s incident leading to his son’s death as an accident, Mr. Gupta said, “There is no answer to such mad ramblings and unparliamentarily utterances.”
“I might be old but will fight for justice on my own,” Mr. Gupta, going on to play on his violin the tune of a song by Rabindranath Tagore, Purano Sei Diner Kotha (memories of the old times).
Sudipta’s sister Sumita Sengupta said Ms. Banerjee’s comments had not comforted the family in any way. “What is needed is a probe into the cause of his death and providing justice,” she said adding her brother was “tortured” to death. “She [Ms. Banerjee] could have come and offered us an assurance that justice will be done. We are aware that nothing will happen in future, but that [the assurance] would have given us some peace.”
Referring to the Chief Minister’s assurance of assistance to the family, Ms. Sengupta asked, “What does one do with money? … Can money be a substitute for a brother?”