Report on Kolkata firing may spark a fresh row

The police firing at a rally, led by Mamata Banerjee as an Opposition leader in 1993, was “unprovoked and unconstitutional,” said an inquiry commission appointed to investigate the incident.

The commission — headed by Justice (retired) Sushanta Chatterjee, former Chief Justice of the Orissa High Court — has said the incident was “worse than the Jallianwala Bagh massacre” and awarded compensation to the family of the deceased and injured protesters. In all, 13 persons were killed on July 21, 1993, when the police opened fire at the Youth Congress rally near Metro Cinema in Central Kolkata. It awarded a compensation of Rs. 25 lakh to the families of those killed.

However, one person died because of illness, the panel concluded. The then West Bengal Chief Minister, Jyoti Basu, had said the “police had done a good job.” Soon after becoming Chief Minister, Ms. Banerjee appointed the commission, which submitted its report on Monday.

“The commission has come to the conclusion that the case is even worse than Jallianwala Bagh massacre,” said Justice Chatterjee. “The people who were at the helm of the Home Department as well as the police brass cannot escape responsibility,” he added.

The panel examined over 300 witnesses, including the former Chief Minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, and Left Front chairperson Biman Bose. The Commissioner of Police (Kolkata) at the time of the incident, Tushar Talukdar, also appeared before it. The other senior officers implicated in the firing challenged the notice served on them in the High Court, which stayed it. The commission, however, has not named any officer but blamed both the Home Ministry and the police for the firing.

The commission could not find any report of the executive inquiry conducted after the firing.

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Printable version | Nov 30, 2021 5:03:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/1993-kolkata-police-firing-worse-than-jalianwallah-bagh/article10963265.ece

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