After KK: Death of a singer, and discordant political note

“Once Kolkata was known as the cultural capital of Bengal. Now, an artiste is returning from here in a coffin.”

Two days after the sudden death of Bollywood singer Krishnakumar Kunnath a.k.a KK in Kolkata, thus spoke CPM leader Shatarup Ghosh, indicating that politics over the incident shows no sign of letting up, and is no more restricted to the two principal parties, the BJP and Trinamool Congress.

The BJP was the first to allege negligence in KK’s death, with party national vice-president Dilip Ghosh calling the demise of the 53-year-old a “murder”. MP Saumitra Khan wrote to Union Home Minister Amit Shah demanding a probe by the CBI. Other Opposition parties such as the CPM and Congress joined in, seeking a “neutral investigation”.

Quick to contain any damage, the Trinamool Congress government rolled out the State machinery for KK’s funeral. He was given a gun salute, with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee present and seen consoling KK’s family. The funeral was attended by senior ministers.

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West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee along with the family members of KK pay homage to the singer at Rabindra Sadan Kolkata. (Express photo by Partha Paul)

KK had returned to his hotel on Tuesday night after a performance at a packed concert in Kolkata when he complained of uneasiness. Rushed to hospital, he was declared dead. Shortly after, videos surfaced of him at the concert, sweating profusely, and being rushed out of the venue looking fatigued. Police have registered a case of unnatural death. As per some sources, the singer was taken to the hotel as he was feeling unwell.

Soon after reports of KK’s death, former BJP state president Dilip Ghosh alleged: “It was not a programme organised by any college. TMC leaders organised the programme. He was forced to sing despite complaining of uneasiness. He was feeling unwell and sweating. He wanted to leave but was not allowed. He was murdered.”  Seeking a CBI probe, Khan said there were many questions surrounding KK’s death. Congress state president Adhir Chowdhury also talked of “unsavoury questions” while demanding an inquiry into “the situation at Nazrul Mancha (the venue of the concert) during the performance”.

The CPM’s Shatarup Ghosh said, “TMCP (TMC Chhatra Parishad) student cadre have no sense of science. First of all they brought 7,000 people into a hall with a capacity of 2,000. Air-conditioners were not working properly. Then they sprayed fire extinguishers in the hall, which increased the carbon dioxide level. They basically made Nazrul Manch a gas chamber, where a renowned singer like KK was basically murdered.”

Denying the claims, senior TMC leaders Shashi Panja and Kunal Ghosh accused the BJP of doing “vulture politics” and trying to malign the face of the state.

Panja said, “Our Chief Minister sincerely stood by KK’s family, relatives, friends and fans. The West Bengal government has given a gun salute and extended its sympathy and condolences to the well-wishers of KK around the world… It is unfortunate that BJP leaders are politicising the incident.”

The Minister for Women and Child Welfare, Panja added: “Doctors have clearly stated the cause of KK’s death in the autopsy. It is unfortunate that BJP leaders in Bengal are tarnishing the image of the state and attacking its social and cultural fabric.”

The autopsy report is not yet out. Sources have suggested he died of a heart attack. Ghosh said: “They should stop politicising the death. We won’t be surprised if the BJP starts claiming that KK was their party leader.”

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