Widespread protests planned in Kolkata during Shah’s visit

New Delhi: Union Home Minister Amit Shah at the foundation stone laying ceremony of the Integrated Development of East Delhi Hub, in New Delhi on Dec 26, 2019. (Photo: IANS)

Kolkata, March 1 (IANS) Much like the scenes witnessed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vist to the city last month, Kolkata could again see widespread protests during Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) National President Jagat Prakash Nadda’s trip here on Sunday with several political parties and “apolitical groups” planning to hit the streets.

Left parties led by the CPI-M have announced plans to mobilise the students and youths in a big way on the streets of Kolkata in protest against the violence in Delhi, holding Shah responsible for the happenings.

“Kolkata is ready to welcome Shah in the same way Modi was welcomed – with black flags. Shah’s hands are soaked in blood in the Delhi clashes. He is not welcome in Bengal. There will be a Go Back Amit Shah programme across the state,” said Communist Party of India (Marxist) politburo member Md Salim.

He said the students and youth organisations will coordinate among themselves and carry out “novel forms of protest” with spontaneity and creativity.

State Congress president Somen Mitra said the Congress’ mass arms Chhattra Parishad, Mahila Congress and Yuva Congress will stage demonstration at Dharamtala, which could be the epicentre of the protests.

But with the BJP meeting scheduled to be held at the Shahid Minar Maidan around the same area, it remains to be seen whether the police allow the protests in Dharamtala.

A senior police officer said none of the protesting organisations have taken permission, and it would be ensured that the BJP workers and protestors do not cross each other’s path.

Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind state chief and Mamata cabinet minister Siddiqullah Chowdhury has announced plans to lead a “peaceful rally” from Moulali demanding Shah’s resignation for ‘doing nothing’ to quell the Delhi riots.

Social activist Wali Rahmani has urged people to lay siege on the state BJP headquarters by following the Gandhigiri model.

He plans to lead a march from the Maidan with sweets, and bouquets penning a letter to Shah requesting him to “desist from making hate speeches”.

The No-NRC Movement, said to be a protest platform against the National Register of Citizens and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act has also chalked out plans of protest.

But the Trinamool seems to be an exception as it has not spelt out any protest plans.

State BJP General Secretary Sayantan Basu, however, warned that BJP workers would not be idle spectators if any attempt was made to disrupt Shah’s visit.

“There will be one lakh people at our Shahid Minar rally. All protests will get trampled under the feet of our workers and supporters,” said Basu.

 

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