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The petition filed by two lawyers also sought a categorical statement from the Central and West Bengal governments on whether the death was a result of conspiracy by then Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru in the police custody of Sheikh Abdullah.
Upendra Bharti | HENB | New Delhi | Aug 31, 2021:: A petition has been filed before the Calcutta High Court seeking probe by a retired Chief Justice of India into the death of Bharatiya Jana Sangh founder Dr. Syama Prasad Mukherjee who passed away in Kashmir in 1953 while in the police custody of then Kashmiri Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah. Jawaharlal Nehru was the Prime Monster of India in that time. Dr. Syama Prasad Mukherjee, the eminent Hindu Mahasabha Leader and Founder of Jana Sangha ventured to Kashmir in May 1953 opposing Art 370 with a demand of Ek Vidhan, Ek Pradhan and Ek Nishan. Till then there was separate Constitution for Kashmir, separate PM for Kashmir and even separate Flag for Kashmir.
Mukherjee was arrested upon entering Kashmir on 11 May 1953. He and two of his arrested companions were first taken to Central Jail of Srinagar. Later they were transferred to a cottage outside the city. Mukherjee’s condition started deteriorating and he started feeling pain in the back and high temperature on the night between 19 and 20 June. He was diagnosed with dry pleurisy from which he had also suffered in 1937 and 1944. The doctor prescribed him a streptomycin injection and powders, however, Mukherjee informed him that his family physician had told him that streptomycin did not suit his system. The doctor, however, told him that new information about the drug had come to light and assured him that he would be fine. On 22 June, he felt pain in the heart region, started perspiring and started feeling like he was fainting. He was later shifted to a hospital and provisionally diagnosed with a heart attack. He died a day later. The state government declared that he had died on 23 June at 3:40 a.m. due to a heart attack.
The present petition filed by two lawyers, Smarajit Roy Chowdhury and Ajit Kumar Mishra sought declassification of all documents relating to Mukehrjee’s death besides a categorical statement from the Central and West Bengal governments on whether the death was a result of conspiracy by then Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru.
“Citizens of India have no information about how the death of Dr. Syama Prasad Mukherjee happened when he was in custody. Hence, all citizens have the right to get information about the mysterious death of Muekhrjee,” the plea said.
Mukherjee, who was the Minister of Industry and Supply in the interim Central government formed in 1947 under Nehru had subsequently parted ways and resigned from Cabinet over issues relating to minority rights and establishment of minority commissions.
He had later founder the BJS which won 3 seats in Lok Sabha in the first general elections held in 1952. He had later strongly opposed Nehru government’s Kashmir policy due to disagreements with Article 370.
While trying to enter Kashmir which then had a permit system, he was arrested by Katua police.
As per the petitioner, he later died under mysterious circumstances while in captivity.
The plea has raised the question of why Mukherjee was not produced before the Court by Sheikh Abdullah’s government which was in power in Kashmir then.
The plea has, therefore, sought directions to be issued to Central government, Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir and West Bengal government to submit detailed report before the Court regarding Mukherjee’s death.
The plea also sought a direction to be issued to Government of India to categorically disclose its stand on the issue.
According to late Balraj Madhok, a close associate of Dr Mookerjee and Co-founder of Jana Sangha, “Dr Mookerjee was murdered in a cool blooded conspiracy hatched by Jawaharlal Nehru and Sheikh Abdullah”.
Mookerjee’s death in custody raised wide suspicion across the country and demands for an independent inquiry were raised, including earnest requests from his mother, Jogamaya Devi, to Nehru. The prime minister declared that he had asked a number of persons who were privy to the facts and, according to him, there was no mystery behind Mookerjee’s death. Devi did not accept Nehru’s reply and requested an impartial inquiry. Nehru, however, ignored the letter and no inquiry commission was set up. Mookerjee’s death, therefore, remains a matter of some controversy.
Many of Indian statesmen claimed that Mookerjee was murdered. Former Indian PM and Stalwart BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee claimed in 2004 that the arrest of Mookerjee in Jammu and Kashmir was a “Nehru conspiracy”. The BJP in 2011 called for an inquiry to probe Mookerjee’s death but sent the same in cold storage!
__Inputs from Br & Bench.