State Sponsored Terror On Student Protest Rally at Kolkata
State aided violence reigned again at Kolkata on Thursday, 2nd April, 2015, at a students’ rally organized by SFI (Student’s Federation of India) and its allied student unions (AISF, AISB, PSU) . The students had assembled to observe the death of their late comrade Sudipto Gupta and protest against the unfair investigation and result of the case of his death in police custody along with other educational issues and gender violence. The rally started from College Square with thousands of students and reached Dharmatala where they then carried out a law-violation program at Rani Rashmoni Avenue around 3pm.
During the law-violation program which is a legitimate way of protesting within our democratic system, the first police barricade was brought down by the students; then the police clashed with the students, and instead of arresting them as is the rule in such situations, assaulted them with batons, as a result of which many students were severely wounded. Ten protestors have been hospitalized, currently in a critical condition.
The students, as well as Ritabrata Banerjee (National General Secretary, SFI) claimed that the lathicharge took place without provocation from the students whereas the Commissioner of Police, Surajit Kar Purakayastha, in a press conference, denied the assault on students, and made no mention of the lathicharge. Pictures and videos of the event that have spread over news media depicting the police violence. This is another point in a long trajectory of police brutality unleashed on student movements in West Bengal and around the country, including the recent example of #Hokkolorob, where state sponsored police brutality on a peaceful student protest was sanctioned by the authority.
SFI held protest demonstrations at different places in the city, today from 1-3pm, against this unjust act of state terror. Students from different colleges and universities are showing their support. Tuesday’s protest rally was organized mainly to remember Sudipto, and to demand a fair trial for the cause of his death. Two years ago, on this same day, SFI had organized another rally in demand of a student union election and that protest also followed a law violation program. After the protest around 300 students were arrested and carried to Presidency Correctional Home. Sudipto was one of them. While still in police custody he had died from a hemorrhage caused by concussive blows to his head.
The police claimed that he died because of a collision with a lamp post which caused the head injury and fell on the road from the bus. However students who were present there claimed that he was beaten up over and over again, especially on the head, by the police as he fell on the road without any collision with a lamp-post. The blame was passed onto the bus driver, who was accused of rash driving causing Sudipto’s death. The rally yesterday, at the same place in Dharmatala, demanded a fair judicial inquiry into the matter as no proper resolution has come about for two years.
Such incidents highlight the power abuse by state authority and the police and depict the fascist tendency in the government to silence every voice of resistance by force.
Watch this space for updates .
Cover picture courtesy: Mayukh Biswas.
Eye Correspondent Aritry is a compulsive feminist who works for Eye because mainstream media sucks. She also studies literature and takes photographs because she does not want to be able to have a “career” that really pays and turns her into a wage slave. She believes in resistance and bakes occasional cakes for colleagues.
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