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Mamata terms SFI leader's death 'small and petty'

April 04, 2013 20:08 IST

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday triggered off another controversy when she termed the death of Student’s Federation of India leader Sudipta Gupta a “small and petty matter”.

The Kolkata police have called for media restraint amid allegations he was beaten to death in police custody.

Sudipta’s father Pranab Gupta and the SFI’s parent body Communist Party of India - Marxist has claimed the SFI leader’s death was not an accident and he died due to the police’s lathicharge.

CPI-M has demanded a judicial probe into the incident while the victim's family has called for investigations by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

Protesting members of SFI, the student wing of CPI-M, observed a strike in Kolkata.

The CPI-M also called for a 12-hour general strike at Garia and Tollygunge in the southern suburbs, where Gupta lived and studied during his school and college days

On the SFI observing a student strike, Banerjee said, "Why, for what purpose?"

The post-mortem would reveal that it is an accident, she said, adding "It is unfortunate. It is not police assault."

Banerjee was replying to questions by reporters in Bangalore during her visit to the city to confer West Bengal's prestigious 'Vishes Sangeet Mahasamman' award to eminent playback singer Manna Dey at his residence.

With preliminary reports indicating that Gupta's death occurred due to a head injury, the Kolkata police urged the media not to jump to conclusions as investigations were underway in the case.

"Our appeal to the media is please don't jump to a conclusion because the way the incident is being projected is not right. We have launched a thorough investigation and the forensic team has visited the spot," Joint Commissioner of Police Javed Shamim told reporters in Kolkata.

Asked whether the chief minister's statement -- that Gupta died after he fell of a police vehicle and hit a lamp post -- would affect the investigation, Shamim said, "Why should it? I, on the basis of the primary report, had said the same thing."

Stating that the investigation would look at all aspects of the incident, Shamim said the preliminary autopsy report had suggested that Sudipta died due to a head injury, after being hit by a blunt object.

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