Kolkata: A West Bengal minister today claimed that Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, who was information and cultural affairs minister in the Jyoti Basu cabinet, had ordered the police to open fire on youth Congress activists that led to 13 deaths in the city on July 21, 1993.
"At the direct instruction of Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, the police opened fire on Youth Congress activists without any provocation that led to several (13) deaths on July 21 in 1993," Sports Minister Madan Mitra told reporters after deposing before the inquiry panel constituted by Mamata Banerjee government into the police firing.
Mitra said he had gone to Kolkata Police headquarters at Lalbazar on July 20, 1993, to seek permission of the police officers and the then police commissioner D C Bajpai to allow erection of dais in the city for the YC rally the next day.
"After I said that the YC will go ahead with the rally programme, the police officers rejected the demand to hold the rally and told me that they had talked to BB (meaning Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, who was then information and cultural affairs minister in Jyoti Basu cabinet), and curtly informed me that Kolkata Police will show its might that day (July 21, 1993)," the minister claimed.
"It is at the direct instruction of BB that the police opened fire on the YC activists without any provocation," he alleged.
Mitra said he challenged Bhattacharjee to prove him untrue, else he would resign from the government.
Mamata Banerjee, who was the state YC chief at that time and led the YC activists to march through the city streets on July 21, 1993, observes July 21 as Martyr`s Day every year.