'They never returned, we got bodies next day'
KOLKATA: People over the years have forgotten that the voters' identity cards which they carry to exercise their franchise is the result of sustained movements launched by Mamata Banerjee in 1993. The Election Commission of India made EPIC cards mandatory in 1995.
The memory of July 21, 1993 haunts the members of Roy family of Baranagar and Bairagi family of Kakinara as they lost their near and dear ones on that day. Banerjee had led a movement, demanding "no card, no vote."
The police opened fire killing 13 youths. Biswanath Roy of Behari Lal Street in Baranagar and Keshab Bairagi of Puddapukur Road in Kakinara were among the martyrs.
Mitali Roy, Biswanath's widow said: "How can I forget the day? He dropped our son to school and told him that he would take him to private tuition in the evening. He never came back."
Both Roy and Bairagi had told their family members that they had work in Kolkata and would return home before sunset. "He did not come. We received his body the following day," recollects Rina Bairagi.
Both Mitali and Rina used to go to Mamata Banerjee's house on July 21 every year. "For the past two years, we could not go to her house. Didi keeps in touch with us," said Mitali.
Thirteen youths who lost their lives on July 21, 1993 are Bandhan Das, Murari Chakraborty, Ratan Mondol, Biswanath Roy, Kalyan Bandyopadhyay, Ashim Das, Keshab Bairagi, Shrikanta Sharma, Dilip Das, Ranjit Das, Pradip das, Mohammad Khalek and Inu.