Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Somnath may be questioned over killing of monks

Somnath may be questioned over killing of monks

KOLKATA: Somnath Chatterjee, the 85-year-old former CPI(M) leader and also former Lok Sabha Speaker is likely to be called in for questioning for his alleged role in the massacre of 16 monks and a nun of Ananda Marga in Kolkata in 1982.
Sources in the Justice Amitava Lala commission, formed to probe the massacre after the Mamata Banerjee government came to power in 2011, said two other Leftist veterans — Samir Putatunda, who left the CPM in 2001 and launched his own outfit, and Kanti Ganguly, still an influential CPM leader and a minister in the last Left government — would be called.
On April 30, 1982, a mob comprising mainly CPM cadre and supporters dragged out 17 members of the Hindu spiritual group from taxis in three different points in south Kolkata between 9am and 11am and beat them up before burning them alive.
Justice Lala told HT his probe focused on these CPM leaders as they had reportedly made provocative speeches, branding the monks child-lifters, at a party-organised citizens’ convention on February 6 that year.
While Chatterjee said he didn’t even remember attending such a convention, Ganguly confirmed his presence, though he said the event was held on May 1 and the incident was condemned. Putatunda said the Margis were not above suspicion.
A major source of information for the commission was the deposition of Sher Singh, then additional district magistrate of 24 Parganas, who claimed he had come to know about the plan two months before the incident and alerted his boss, district magistrate Ranu Ghosh, on January 16. But no step was taken to stop the killings.
Singh also blamed Chatterjee, then chief minister Jyoti Basu, the DM and then legislator from the area Sachin Sen for the massacre. Most witnesses reportedly corroborated his version of the incident.

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