Kolkata: Giving a fillip to the widespread protests in West Bengal against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) on Thursday, a large number of students gathered in the heart of the city to protest, while the major political parties, the Trinamool Congress, Congress and the Left also organised meetings and processions here and in other districts.
Holding aloft banners and carrying the tricolour, the students from various universities and colleges assembled at the Ramlila ground in central Kolkata. Many had — “no CAB, no NRC” — written on their shirts.
West Bengal Chief Minister and ruling Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, who led massive marches in Kolkata and neighbouring Howrah on the twin issues over the past three days, is scheduled to address a meeting at the Rani Rashmoni Road. Hundreds of Trinamool workers and supporters have already started arriving at the spot.
The Congress would take out a procession from the Tipu Sultan Mosque in Dharmatala area to Ram Mandir on Central Avenue as part of its “save the Constitution, save the country” political programme against the “black” law.
However, state Congress spokesman Amitabha Chakraborty said the state administration had refused to give permission for the rally. “The communal BJP always gets the green signal to hold meetings and processions, but when the Congress wants to hold a Satyagraha movement, inspired by the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi, the government refuses to give the nod.
“We will begin our procession at 3 p.m. from the Tipu Sultan Mosque irrespective of whether the government gives us the permission or not,” Chakraborty said.
Seventeen Left parties have called a mega rally from Ramlila Maidan to Park Circus in south Kolkata against the CAA and the NRC.
“The CAA and the NRC are ploys to destroy the country’s secular democratic structure and create a communal divide. We will also protest against the skyrocketing prices of essentials and in support of the Janaury 8 general strike called by the central trade unions,” said Left Front chairman Biman Bose.
Top leaders, students, youths, women, workers and a number of eminent persons would participate in the rally , which is part of the pan-India protests called by the Left. Over the past three days, the 17 parties had organised an extensive campaign in municipal wards and various Panchayats.
West Bengal has been rocked by violent protests against the CAA and NRC since Friday. Several trains, railway stations and railway property have been torched and vandalised by the protestors, who also blockaded train movement and key highways.