Congress activists, led by West Bengal PCC chief Adhir Chowdhury, took to the streets of Kolkata on Sunday, demanding justice for student leader Anish Khan, whose mysterious death in Howrah district on February 18 has triggered state-wide protests.
Anish, a former Left student leader who later joined the Indian Secular Front, was found dead outside his residence at Amta on the night of February 18.
His father Salem Khan had alleged that three persons wearing police uniforms had raided their house on that night and while one of them held the elderly person at gunpoint, two others went to the incomplete third floor of the house and after a brief argument with the Aliah University alumnus, pushed him to his death.
Chowdhury, who met the family of the deceased at their house in Amta the day before, led the procession of around 300 Congress workers from Bidhan Bhavan, the state party headquarters in central Kolkata’s Entally, to the seven-point crossing in Park Circus in the southern part of the metropolis.
The senior Congress leader was holding a placard which read in Bengali: “We demand justice, we demand high-level independent probe against state conspiracy.” A woman activist of the party, walking side by side with Chowdhury, held a placard which read: “We demand CBI probe into the murder of Anish Khan.”
After covering a distance of one kilometre, Chowdhury, also the leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha said, “I have spoken to the victim’s father Salem Khan. I have promised him all help in his fight for ‘insaaf’ (justice) for his son who was murdered. He was a son of Bengal and belonged to the entire state.”
Pointing out that he will take the battle ‘Justice for Anish Khan’ to New Delhi if required, Chowdhury alleged that “the chief minister and her government wants to mute the voice of protest of Anish Khan’s family by giving a job to his brother. But she cannot silence the call for justice. Anish was a strong voice against communalism and any divisive agenda. He was a prominent face in the anti-CAA movement. He stood against the graft of the local establishment. So we need to know who killed him, and the reason as to why he was killed. We want a high-level probe not influenced by the powers-that-be into the cold-blooded murder.”
The state government has constituted a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the death of the student activist. DGP Manoj Malviya had said the SIT would expeditiously unravel the truth within 15 days from February 24 and announced the arrest of two persons — a home guard and a civic volunteer of Amta police station – in connection with the incident.
West Bengal minister Pulak Roy had recently visited the family and blamed Left parties and organisations for trying to influence them for political reasons and derail the SIT probe.
A second inquest on the body of the slain leader was done on March 1, after exhumation from a burial ground close to his residence, on the orders of the Calcutta High Court.