Chief minister Mamata Banerjee today led the state in mourning police officer Amitabha Malik, describing him as a “brave boy” she personally knew and penning a couplet in his honour.
If the chief minister gave voice to the widespread shock at the death of the young officer, his mother articulated what appeared to be the pronounced mood in the plains by saying that her son’s soul would rest in peace only if Bengal remained undivided.
In her first comments in public on the 28-year-old officer who was killed during a raid on a suspected jungle hideout of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leader Bimal Gurung, Mamata said: “I knew him. I met him in Darjeeling. He was a brave boy. The incident is so devastating that the entire state is mourning his demise.”
She added: “I have penned a couplet…. Kal tnar dehey chhilo pran/ Aaj jey shey ek mormantik coffin (Yesterday, his body had life/ Today, he is but a devastating coffin).”
“The DG (director-general of police Surajit Kar Purkayastha) has told me that his family, a humble family, had worked very hard to see him established in life. We are proud of his parents. We will always stand by the family,” Mamata said.
At her behest, senior Trinamul politicians and police officers were present to supervise Malik’s last rites with state honours. Sources said Mamata wanted to send a message of reassurance to the police force. They added that the police chief was expected to visit Darjeeling.
At Madhyamgram in North 24-Parganas, Malik’s mother Ganga said: “Whenever I would tell him to come back as it was too risky in Darjeeling, he would always say ‘I will not allow Bengal to be divided’.
” Bangla jeno bhaag na hoy, taholei shanti pabe Amitabha’r atma (Amitabha’s soul will rest in peace only if Bengal remains undivided).”