SFI sorry, says Delhi heckling embarrassing

HimPranab Gupta plays violin at his son’s condolence meeting. Ritabrata is seated beside him.

The SFI leadership on Wednesday admitted that the heckling of state Finance Minister Amit Mitra in Delhi a week ago had caused a huge embarrassment to it as well as its parent party — the CPM — and offered "unconditional apology".

Speaking at the condolence meeting of young SFI activist Sudipta Gupta, whose death in police custody was the reason behind the protest in Delhi, the outfit's general secretary Ritabrata Banerjee said: "We do not have any hesitation to admit the fact that the incident of manhandling of Amit Mitra in Delhi has brought a huge embarrassment to the party." He was speaking at a gathering of party workers who had come to pay tribute to Sudipta at Nazrul Manch.

Banerjee, however, justified the aim of the protest and denied his involvement in the gherao of senior Trinamool Congress leaders outside Yojana Bhawan in Delhi on April 9. "The agitation was justified as it was organised to protest against the custodial death of Sudipta Gupta. All the senior leaders of the SFI were present. I was also present there. But as I said earlier in Delhi, I was not involved in manhandling Mitra," he added.

Banerjee has been named in the FIR that was filed by Delhi Police on the complaint lodged by Trinamool leaders. He has, however, not been arrested — a demand regularly put forth by Trinamool.

"I told the mediapersons in Delhi too that if anybody can show the footage in which, I am seen heckling Mitra, I would happily go to the jail and would never raise voice against it. But the incident was never planned and I was not involved in the incident. Even though I beg for unconditional pardon for the incident and I want to reiterate that this is not the culture of our party," he added.

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