West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee kicked up a storm during her brief visit to Bangalore on Thursday when she termed the death of Students’ Federation of India (SFI) leader Sudipta Gupta a “small, petty” matter. “It is a small and petty matter. It was an accident, there was no police atrocity. You can see the post-mortem report,” she told television reporters after landing at the Bengaluru International Airport. She was visiting the city to call on veteran singer Manna Dey to confer him West Bengal’s ‘Vishes Sangeet Mahasamman’ Award.
This, she did, in the midst of black flag protests by SFI activists not very far from Mr. Dey’s residence in HRBR Layout. However, her touch-and-go visit happened before the protestors reached the spot. The demonstrations were held at least three kilometres away from Mr. Dey’s residence much later.
Ms. Banerjee reached Mr. Dey’s residence at around 5.40 p.m., with the police keeping strict vigil. After spending about half an hour inside, she refused to answer the queries by reporters waiting outside, choosing instead to interact with some curious children who were watching the proceedings. The most she engaged with presspersons was by stopping the car briefly and flashing a polite smile at them before driving away. Police personnel who accompanied her inside said that during her visit she handed over a basket of fruits and enquired after Mr. Dey’s health.
Even as this happened, the group of protestors, who were misinformed about the time of her visit, were allowed to protest outside the HRBR post office. Chanting slogans against Ms. Banerjee, , the activists demanded justice for Mr. Gupta.
Meanwhile, earlier in the day, activists from four left-wing students’ unions staged a protest near Mysore Bank Circle, coinciding with SFI protests happening across the country, condemning the killing Mr. Gupta in Kolkata, as well as the “anti-democratic polices” of the West Bengal Chief Minister.