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Bengal youth beaten up for protesting women's harassment dies
Monday February 2, 2015 7:40 PM, IANS

A 20-year-old college student, who slipped into coma after being beaten up for protesting harassment of women during an idol immersion procession in West Bengal's Howrah district, succumbed to his injuries Monday, police said.

The incident led to a fresh outcry by opposition parties against the Mamata Banerjee government over its law and order record and "patronage of criminals".

Battling for his life for last few days, 20-year-old Arup Bhandari who had been comatose since being attacked Jan 28, died at a nursing home in the morning.

The assault took place when Bhandari protested against a gang of drunk youth passing lewd comments and gestures at women who were a part of an idol immersing procession.

With police yet to make any arrest, state Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury slammed the Banerjee administration and claimed the "barbaric incident" to be a result of a conspiracy by the ruling Trinamool Congress.

"Police are aware that those involved belong to the Trinamool that is why there is no arrest so far. There is complete anarchy in the state and the entire responsibility lies with the chief minister who has become impermeable. Repeated barbaric incidents have failed to move her," said Chowdhury after meeting the bereaved family.

He also alleged that three government hospitals had refused to admit a grievously injured Bhandari and the family was compelled to admit him to a nursing home despite limited economic means.

"The young man would have died if the hospitals have not refused admission," said Chowdhury whose party has called a shutdown in the district Wednesday in protest.

Bharatiya Janata Party national secretary Siddharth Nath Singh also did not minced words in condemning the incident.

"Goondaraj is prevailing in Bengal and the chief of this raj is the chief minister herself. Criminals are running then show and whoever tries to stand up is murdered," said Singh.

Former Communist Party of India-Marxist MP Sujon Chakrabarty too slammed the police inaction and accused the Banerjee government of "patronising criminals".

However, rejecting suggestions of police inaction, Howrah Deputy Commissioner of Police Krishnakali Lahiri said: "We have now registered a case of murder since the victim has died. We are investigating the matter and the culprits will be apprehended soon."

Meanwhile advocate Biplab Chowdhury said he will seek the intervention of the Calcutta High Court against the police inaction.

"I have already filed a complaint against police inaction and if the culprits are not apprehended soon, I will move the Supreme Court seeking its intervention," said Chowdhury.

The victim's family as well as civil society members have all condemned the incident and demanded the arrest of the perpetrators.

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