Kolkata: Following the footsteps of Union home minister Rajnath Singh, union minister of state for heavy industries Babul Supriyo lent his shoulder to carry one of the two coffins of martyred Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawans: Bablu Santra and Sudip Biswas following its arrival at the Kolkata Airport on Saturday afternoon.
He also paid floral tribute to them following a “Guard of Honour” in presence of senior officers from the Indian Air Force, CRPF and state police. Many BJP leaders including national general secretary Rahul Sinha, state women wing functionary Locket Chatterjee and spokesperson Sayantan Basu were present at the airport amidst a sea of common people who shouted patriotic slogans.
In sharp contrast, ministers of the Mamata Banerjee government were however conspicuous by their absence though some administration officials were present. Why no Trinamul minister was not present at the airport is not clear. But sources indicated that most of the leaders and ministers were busy with their supremo Mamata Banerjee’s silent candle light rally in memory of the CRPF jawans martyred in Pulwama in the city.
Later the coffins carrying the mortal remains were escorted to the respective homes of Santra at Bauria in Howrah and Biswas at Palashipara in Nadia where their last rites were performed after a ‘Gun Salute’ by the CRPF and state police.
In the evening Mr Supriyo tweeted, “Have attended several cremations & last rites of near & dear ones, given a hand to carry the hearse too and in every such the dominating emotion was ‘grief’. Today while touching the Coffins of the Martyrs, I could sense that it was deep anger against Rogue Pakistan that often shook & overpowered the profound grief.”
Ms Banerjee visited Santra’s family members and offered her condolences to them. Saantra’s wife said, “We do not want war. We want peace be restored. Lives are lost on both sides of the border.” In the afternoon Ms Banerjee and Left Front took out separate rallies in memory of the CRPF jawans martyred in Pulwama. Ms Banerjee led the candle-light-silent rally from Hazra More to Gandhi Statue on Mayo Road.
The Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief condemned the attack and said terrorists “have no religion or caste”.