Kolkata, July 21 (IANS) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday announced that FIRs would be filed against police personnel who had fired on youth Congress workers during a protest march here 24 years back.
The government would also pay Rs 2 lakh each to families of the 13 Youth Congress workers killed on July 21, 1993 during the “March to the Writers Buildings” (the erstwhile state secretariat).
Banerjee, who had led the march as a Youth Congress stalwart then, declared that all cases against the workers slapped by the Left Front government of the day for alleged violence, were being withdrawn, as per the recommendation of the judicial commission set up to probe the firing.
The commission, headed by Justice (retd) Sushanta Chatterjee, had, however, said in its report that 12 people died in police firing, and another later from illness.
“We condemn the firing. The commission of inquiry had said the firing was a big conspiracy and our workers were killed,” Banerjee said at the martyrs’ day rally organised in remembrance of those killed in police firing on that day.
The Chief Minister said FIRs would be lodged against those who had resorted to the firing as per the report of the commission, which had termed the police action “worse than the Jallianwala Bagh massacre”, and “unprovoked and unconstitutional”.
The commission, in its report presented in December 2014, had held responsible the people at the helm of the state Home Department and police top brass for the firing.
“I won’t touch (late Chief Minister) Jyoti Basu or (then Police Minister) Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. But action will be taken against those who had fired. FIRs will be lodged against them,” said Banerjee.
She claimed that close to 1000 workers – 100 of them with bullet injuries – had been hospitalised on that day “following police brutality”.
“But the then government filed cases and issued arrest warrants against those who were victims of the police action. The commission has recommended withdrawal of cases against our workers,” she said, adding this is being done.
The commissio had also ordered Rs 25 lakh compensation for the kin of the each dead and Rs 5 lakh for those injured in the police firing.
But Banerjee said an amount of Rs 1.65 lakh collected from the public after the incident had been given to the families of the workers who had died due to the firing.
“After coming to power, I had also given jobs to one family member of these victims. But still, in deference to the commission, we would give a further Rs 2 lakh to each of these families,” she said.
Immediately after assuming power in May, 2011, the Trinamool Congress government constituted the July 21 Commission of Inquiry to ascertain who issued the order to police to open fire at the rally.