The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Father in court for missing son
- Search for ‘wounded’ Nandigram youth

Calcutta, March 30: Their eyes burning because of tear gas, Pranab Samanta and his son were searching for some water when a bullet allegedly hit Subrata in the chest and he slumped to the ground.

His father said he last saw Subrata when a policeman dragged him away by his feet in Nandigram on the bloody morning of March 14.

The 62-year-old farmer today moved Calcutta High Court demanding a CBI probe into his son’s disappearance and compensation. The court admitted the petition.

“I saw my son fall to a police bullet. That was the last time I saw him…. His name does not figure on the lists of the dead, injured or missing,” he said in the petition.

The court asked the state to file an affidavit spelling its stand on the allegation and said that as a higher bench had already ordered a CBI probe into the police firing, it should not pass a similar order.

“On April 16, a division bench of this court will hear the matter relating to the CBI probe into the police firing in Nandigram,” Justice Dipankar Dutta said. Samanta’s petition will be heard again on April 19. “The state is directed to file its affidavit in the meantime,” the judge said.

The Samantas are residents of Garchakraberia, the scene of the police action in which at least 14 people were killed. “When the father and son were going to the field around 9.30 am on March 14, a large force led by western range inspector-general Arun Gupta crossed Bhangabera bridge and started firing tear gas shells,” said advocate Kalyan Banerjee, who appeared for Samanta.

“While they were searching for water to wash their eyes, the police firing began and a bullet hit Subrata in the chest. He died on the spot. My client saw a policeman dragging the body away,” he added.

Subrata, 24, had a 45-day-old son. “My client is old. How can he run the family'” Banerjee said while demanding compensation for the family.

Advocate-general Balai Ray pointed out to the court that the CBI has already submitted its report on the police firing before the court.

Tension on the two sides of the Bhangabera bridge is said to be building up again with supporters of the CPM and the Bhoomi Uchchhed Pratirodh Committee hurling bombs at each other every night over the past five days.

“We’ve also received complaints of people getting beaten up. But we cannot do anything as the people do not want us to enter their villages,” said Champak Chowdhury, the Nandigram officer-in-charge.

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