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Kolkata: 2000 Protest against War Orchestration of Chidambaram and Chief Ministers

The citizens of West Bengal again came out on the streets, braving state repression, to loudly declare that they will not allow P Chidambaram and the chief ministers to plot their genocidal plans in the heart of the city.

Around 2000 people participated in a lively and militant march from College Square to the Metro Channel. Many organizations such as MKP, IFTU, APDR, Bandi Mukti Committee, SEZ-Birodhi Prachar Mancha, Lalgarh Mancha, Samrajyabadbirodhi Mancha, various students' organizations and numerous individuals participated.

Also participating was a large contingent of the people from Nonadanga, who have been evicted there from the slums, and who identify their eviction with the eviction of adivasis from their land and resources.

Mahasweta Devi was present in College Square from where the march began. In the beginning, the police set up a barricade with lathi and shield-wielding policemen in front of the gates of College Square and said that they would not allow the march to proceed. After rounds of altercations and negotiations, there was direct physical confrontation between the police and the protesters and when protesters forcibly broke the barricades and went forward, they had to allow the march to proceed.

The march then continued unhindered till the Esplanade area. There were slogans ranging from "Chidambaram go back", to "Vedantar dalal Chidambaram Tatar dalal Budhhadeb ek hai ek hai" to "Lalgarh-er janaganer bullet noy khadya chai" (we demand food, not bullets, for the people of Lalgarh).

The march ended with the burning of effigies of Chidambaram and Buddhadeb at the crossing of S N Banerjee Road and J L Nehru Road. Then participants of the march went and joined the demonstration that had been organized by a forum of ML parties at the Metro Channel where the speakers condemned operation Green Hunt and the state repression on activists, rights workers and trade unionists in the name of combating Maoists.

While this was going on the members of the West Bengal State Govt. employees union (Nabaparjay) held a loud demonstration and a march through the corridors of the Writer's building in protest against the meeting. (Nabaparjay is a militant left-wing anti-CPI(M) union of state government employees, which came out of the Coordination Committee in 1979, because some state government employees thought that the Left Front was deviating from what it had promised. They have 85000 members all over West Bengal and are a major ground force behind the SEZ-Birodhi Manch.)

Chidambaram left through a back gate for the meeting with the new agent of Delhi in the Raj Bhawan, M.K. Narayanan.

(Partho Sarathi Ray, Sanhati, 9 February)