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Thursday, 4 April 2013

Sister’s voice drowns slogans ‘I would have hit him to stop him’


Sister's voice drowns slogans 
'I would have hit him to stop him'

SUBHAJOY ROY
Pranab Gupta, Sudipto's father, plays the violin to mourn his son's death at the family's Garia residence on Wednesday. Picture by Bivas Lodh
Calcutta, April 3: The elder sister of Sudipto Gupta, the 23-year-old SFI leader who died yesterday, has said she wants "this violent student politics" to end.
"I only thought he was into some sloganeering in college. Had I known the extent of his involvement, I would have hit him before the police baton fell on him and brought him out of all this," Sumita Sengupta toldThe Telegraph a day after losing her brother in the aftermath of a law-violation programme.
"I am not against politics but students should be free to pursue their own cause. If they have a problem, they should approach the principal. Why should students be fighting under the banner of a political party?" she asked, grieving in her apartment at New Garia.
Political parties across the divide have expressed concern about student violence in Bengal but have done little about it.
Pointing at her 10-year-old son, Sumita said: "I will never allow my son to get involved in student politics, never."
Across the road, where Sudipto lived with his father, party supporters were chanting "amar rahe (long live)" in his name. Unable to summon the courage to see her brother lifeless, she stayed put in her apartment as the slogan-shouting became shriller.
Sumita, Sudipto's sister, at her home on Wednesday. Telegraph picture
The Guptas live about 2km from New Garia Metro station, in a locality called Dhalua.
"Leaders use young and impressionable children like my brother to pursue their own agenda…. There have been so many instances of violence. People must rise above politics. The SFI or Trinamul don't lose anything. It's the families that lose their loved ones," Sumita said.
Every time there has been violence in a college, the Mamata Banerjee government has promised to do what most parties have shied away from: implement the Lyngdoh commission's report. But it has remained a promise.
The commission had wanted dissociation "of student elections and student representation from political parties".
The law-violation programme in which Sudipto had participated on Tuesday in the heart of the city was organised to demand resumption of student union elections in colleges.
The elections have been put on hold for six months following violence in front of a Garden Reach college that killed a police officer. The violence was perpetrated by political masters who used the students as puppets.
According to the Lyngdoh commission, a college poll candidate should have the minimum attendance percentage as prescribed by the university or 75 per cent, whichever is higher.
Although the committee refrained from prescribing minimum marks, the candidate, it said, should have no academic arrears in the year of contesting the election.
Sumita told ABP Ananda tonight: "The CPM brainwashed my brother. They have used him. They are as responsible as my brother. I told him so many times not to get involved in all this."
SFI and DYFI supporters pasted posters against police atrocity and put up banners outside the Guptas' house. Loudspeakers blared paeans to the comrade.
"It's a personal loss. Not everyone will understand," Sumita said.
Sudipto's 64-year-old father was helped out of the house by party leaders when his body arrived.
Pranab Gupta, a retired central government employee, started chanting "Guru Brahma, guru Vishnu, gurudeva Mahaswera, gurudeva Parambrahma".
But soon the SFI activists started shouting "Comrade Sudipto Gupta, lal salaam", drowning the father's voice.
Earlier, Pranab played Tagore's "purano sei diner katha" on his violin. "I can't explain how I feel being a father. The will to live is ebbing…. I play the violin. He used to listen standing outside. Will he ever listen again?" he asked.
When CPM leader Kanti Ganguly went to speak to him, Pranab spoke for only a minute and again picked up his violin. A young man who had taken a portion of the Guptas' house on rent said the sexagenarian would regularly practise violin till late in the night. Sudipto would stay awake to read.
Some school friends remembered Sudipto as a good singer. "His mother trained him. We told him to do something with his voice, but he had dived deep into politics by then," said a friend from school.