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Two held for student leader's death in Bengal

Kolkata, Jan 16 : Two people were arrested Thursday for the murder of a leader of the Trinamool Congress students wing, police said.


Leaders of West Bengal's ruling party, however, contradicted themselves over the involvement of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-affiliated Students' Federation of India (SFI) in the murder.

"We have arrested two people for the murder of Paresh Mandal. They have been booked for murder," Assistant Superintendent of Police (North 24 Parganas) Bhaskar Mukherjee said.

Mandal, a Trinamool Congress Chatra Parishad (TMCP) leader, died Wednesday after allegedly being beaten during a scuffle in Sandeshkhali in the district.

While Food Minister Jyotipriya Mullick indicted the SFI for the "murder", his party colleague and Education Minister Bratya Basu attributed illness as the cause of death.

"He was mercilessly beaten to death by SFI supporters and CPI-M patronised goons. We have asked the administration to act in this matter and we will counter it politically," Mullick said during a rally in Kolkata held to protest the death.

However, party secretary general and state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee preferred to play safe and refused to comment before police investigation was complete.

"The involvement of SFI activists cannot be ruled out. However, nothing can be said until investigation is complete," Chatterjee said.

"I don't think there is any politics behind his death. I think he died because of illness," Basu said after the student's death.

The SFI has condemned the incident assuring that it would hold a probe to see if any of its members was involved.

With elections to students' unions being held across the state and political parties alleging threats and counter threats, heavy police deployment has been made to ensure peaceful polls.

Meanwhile, with reports of scuffles and violence involving rival students unions, Governor M.K. Narayanan Thursday called for removing politics from educational institutions.

"So long as politics is there in educational institutions, there will be problems. The need is to remove politics from them," Narayanan told media persons here.

Student elections resumed after being suspended following the shooting of a policeman during election process at a city college in February 2013.

The state higher education department has issued guidelines to complete the election process in all colleges and universities by Jan 31.

--IANS (Posted on 16-01-2014)

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