In the afternoon of 28 September 1991, the then BJP Chief Minister of MP, Sunderlal Patwa, called a press conference at Vallabh Bhavan, the seat of power at Bhopal, to announce the sensational murder of Radical Left labour leader Shankar Guha Niyogi.
Niyogi was sleeping at his union office that also doubled as his residence at Bhilai, now in Chhattisgarh, when assassins pumped bullets in him through an open window of the ground floor bedroom.
The sensational killing of the towering Marxist leader, renowned for his widespread influence and reformist ideas, sent shockwaves throughout the State.
At the time of his murder Niyogi was leading a nine-month old strike in many industrial units of Bhilai for proper implementation of the labour laws.
The prolonged agitation brought the Leftwing leader in sharp conflict with the industrialists who suffered losses amounting to billions of rupee.
The Rightwing Government of the day sided with the industry and tried to extern him from the area but the High Court came to Niyogi’s rescue.
As Niyogi had been constantly complaining about threat to his life – he had even given two letters to the police giving details of the conspiracy to kill him –the assassination put the Government in the dock.
Hence Patwa summoned the reporters to brief them and announce a reward on the killers. I was not at the press conference. I was in a train that I had boarded at Bhilai that afternoon to return to Bhopal.
I was with Niyogi just four hours before his murder. I had invited him for dinner to the hotel I was staying at Bhilai. It proved to be Niyogi’s last supper. Continue reading “Niyogi: Disclosures during the last supper”