THE march to Nabanna witnessed hundreds of people injured, brutalised, many of them with serious injuries. But within a week of the march, the militant movement had to suffer the pain of martyrdom. Comrade Salil Basu of Dum Dum in North 24 Parganas district (60) succumbed to physical injuries, a result of police lathicharge on that day.
Bread earner of a poor family, Comrade Basu was a committed CPI(M) worker of Nayapatti in Dum Dum, a traditional base of the Party. He was popular in the locality for his helpful attitude to people. He went to Nabanna march with other comrades of the area. He faced police attack in Mayo Road area in Kolkata, the same place where leaders like Surjyakanta Misra, Biman Basu, Madan Ghosh also faced the wrath of the police. Comrade Basu suffered head injury along with injuries on hand and legs. He could not apprehend the risks of such injuries and participated in protest rally on the next day in his locality. There he suffered a cerebral attack and was admitted in RG Kar Medical College and Hospital where he died on Sunday. His family was informed of the death news in a very casual manner and the hospital authorities did not consider conducting a post mortem of his body.
The news of Comrade Basu’s death ignited fury and revulsion against Kolkata police. His body was brought to his home and then to CPI(M) state committee office. Party and mass organisations leaders paid their respect to the martyr there. Later his body was taken to Dum Dum and condolence procession was organised.
Meanwhile Kolkata police denied any involvement and alleged that ‘political mileage’ is being sought from the death. In unprecedented social media posts, Kolkata Police threatened to take legal actions against those who are out to malign the police. This created a huge counter reaction. Comrade Basu’s brother and sister along with CPI(M) leaders strongly demanded post mortem of the body. Comrade Basu’s family tried to persuade the police officials but were threatened with consequences. Comrade Basu’s body was kept in a mortuary.
In a determined fight Comrade Basu’s family moved to Kolkata High Court urging for a direction to conduct post mortem. The state government opposed the move but was rejected. Petitioner’s counsel Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya submitted before Justice Jaymalya Bagchi that a postmortem was required to find out the reason behind Basu’s haemorrhagic stroke, which was stated as a cause of his death in his death certificate. The court directed the superintendent of SSKM Hospital to set up a three-member team of doctors and the postmortem was done there. The court has also directed to submit the report of the post mortem on the next day of hearing.
After the post mortem, Comrade Basu’s body was received by family members and Party activists. He was cremated with agony and respect.
Meanwhile, rallies and processions were organised throughout the state condemning the police attack and mourning the death of Comrade Salil Basu. Spontaneous demonstrations, road blockades were done in many areas.