| SPONTANEOUS PROTEST: The candle-light vigil outside St Xavier’s College, seeking justice for Rizwanur Rahman, entered its 14th day on Friday. Picture by Amit Datta
The chief minister thinks it’s his misfortune that Rizwanur Rahman’s mother does not want to meet him.
“It’s my misfortune that she doesn’t want to meet me. But what can I do' If she changes her mind later, I’m ready to talk to her,” Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said at Writers’ Buildings on Friday, in reaction to reports that Kishwar Jahan had refused to meet him since she had no faith in his administration.
Bhattacharjee said he had arranged a meeting with Kishwar through CPM leaders Mohammad Selim and Rabin Deb after learning from news reports that she wanted to meet him.
“We’d arranged to meet at my house on the evening of October 10. Till the 9th, I knew she was coming, but on the 10th, I was told that she would not come. What can I do'” he asked.
Bhattacharjee then headed off to the elevator, ignoring a barrage of queries from reporters, and descended to the ground floor of the secretariat. But he was back in less than a minute and asked a reporter to repeat a question shot at him while he was leaving.
Asked if he would visit Kishwar at her house, Bhattacharjee said: “I’ve understood what you’re trying to say, but you must understand my situation as well. She said she would not meet me. When she’s not willing to talk to me at all, it is no more a question of my house or her house. It’s my misfortune.”
PWD minister Kshiti Goswami, however, said a mother in mourning can refuse to meet even the Prime Minister. “In this situation, the chief minister should knock on her door and speak to her. We shouldn’t issue a fatwa on her, asking her to go and meet the chief minister.”
Kishwar and her elder son Rukbanur said they were in “no mood now” to meet Bhattacharjee. Rather, they added, if Bhattacharjee was really keen to meet them, he was welcome to visit their Tiljala Lane home.
“It’s the norm to visit a family in mourning. It has never been the other way round. If Buddhababu wanted, he could have dropped in any time. He lives almost in our mohallah. Even Brinda Karat had the courtesy to come over,” said Rukbanur.
Metro drove down from Bhattacharjee’s Palm Avenue residence to the Rahmans’ Tiljala Lane home in less than five minutes on Friday.
Kishwar denied that any CPM leader had ever invited her to meet the chief minister. “Yeh to jhoot hai… aaisa koi baat hi nahin hai,” she said, adding it would be difficult for her to meet the chief minister after what he said today.
“Leaders from several parties have been coming to our house since Rizwanur’s death on September 21. Some CPM leaders, too, met us on a few occasions. But we were never invited to meet Bhattacharjee,” said Rukbanur. “Rabin Deb had called me up a few times, asking us to meet the chief minister.”
Rights panel: The state human rights commission decided to ask five police officers to appear before it in connection with Rizwanur’s death. The four officers are deputy commissioner (headquarters) Gyanwant Singh, deputy commissioner (detective department) Ajoy Kumar, assistant commissioner (anti-rowdy squad) Sukanti Chakraborty, sub-inspector Krishnendu Das and officer-in-charge of Karaya police station Tapan Mitra.
Panel chief Shyamal Sen said the commission had received reports from the chief secretary and police commissioner Prasun Mukherjee. “We have also examined the video footage of Mukherjee’s press conference (in which he claimed that Rizwanur had committed suicide and defended his officers).”