Kolkata: Thousands of people gathered this afternoon outside the office of the student wing of the CPI(M) to pay tribute to Sudipto Gupta, the 22-year-old activist who died last evening from injuries he received while being transported on bus, along with other students, to a prison in Kolkata.
His body will be brought to his party's office before he is cremated.
Students say he was beaten on the head over and over by the police, which claims that Mr Gupta was leaning out of the bus along with other students who were shouting slogans and hit his head on a lamp-post.
"The death of the student leader is very unfortunate," said Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal. "I'll do everything to help his family." Her party, the Trinamool Congress, urged Left leaders not to turn Mr Gupta's death into a political dispute.
"After Sudipto died, Mamata Banerjee was busy participating in the IPL inauguration. Is this her sense of responsibility towards the state?" asked Satrup Ghosh, All India Joint Secretary of the SFI.
The State Human Rights Commission today asked the Kolkata police chief to probe the death. But the CPM has demanded a judicial inquiry. "The SFI student leader has died in police custody, so the state government is solely responsible," CPM leader Sitaram Yechury said.
The driver of the bus that was taking Mr Gupta and other activists to jail has been arrested and charged with culpable homicide, the alleged result of rash and negligent driving.
"My son had a haemorrhage and died within three hours. He fell beside the bus and was beaten up by the police. He was killed. Is this justice?" cried Pranab Kumar Gupta, the student leader's father.