Asection of BJP supporters today raised the ‘Desh Ke Gaddaro Ko Goli Maro Saalon Ko’ (shoot all those who betray the country) slogan while on their way to attend the pro- CAA rally at Shahid Minar ground. Widespread protests marked different parts of the city as Union home minister Amit Shah arrived here to attend the rally. Videos showing the purported BJP supporters shouting the ‘Goli Maro’ slogan were circulated on the social media platforms.
The group, carrying party flags and wearing saffron clothing, were seen shouting the slogan en route to the Shahid Minar ground. Police declined to comment on the incident and there were no reports of any arrest or complaint being lodged in this connection. Thousands of Congress and Left Front activists as well as many students hit the streets in protest against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act and raised slogans ‘Go Back Amit Shah’ while waving black flags. Scuffles broke out between the protesters and the police at Esplanade and Chittaranjan Avenue as the agitators tried to pull down barricades.
Members of Students’ Federation of India (SFI) and Chhatra Parishad (CP) got involved in a scuffle on Chittaranjan Avenue while a section of students tried to break through a police barricade at Esplanade. However, the police quickly dispersed the mob. The agitating students traded slogans with the BJP activists and supporters who were coming from the opposite direction to attend the rally.
“Though no one was arrested in the incident, police will act strictly if the situation goes out of control,” said a police officer on duty. Chhatra Parishad members took out a protest rally from New Market police station to Dharmatalla crossing. Raising slogans of ‘No NRC, No CAA, No NPR’ and holding placards of ‘Rioter of Delhi – Go Back Amit Shah’, they staged a demonstration and blocked the road for half an hour. Members of the CPI-(M) also took out rallies in Shyambazar, Gariahat, Behala, Kaikhali and Entally areas.
As the home minister arrived in the city in the morning, hundreds of Left and Congress protesters, carrying black flags and anti-CAA posters, demonstrated outside Kolkata airport and raised ‘go back’ slogans. Jadavpur MLA and CPI-(M) Legislature Party leader Sujan Chakraborty led a large protest rally in Santoshpur in south Kolkata while Congress activists took out a protest march from Beckbagan to Park Circus and burnt an effigy of the Union home minister.
“Kolkata had shouted ‘go back’ slogans during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the city in January. We will not allow Shah to hold a rally here. He is not welcome here. The hands of both these leaders are soaked in the blood of people killed in Gujarat riots. The Union home minister is equally responsible for the violence in Delhi,” Mr. Chakraborty said. He also slammed the state government for granting permission for Shah’s rally.
Meanwhile, a BJP activist was detained by police officers while he was trying to enter the rally venue through the VIP gate. Sources said that the man, who is learnt to be a retired personnel of CRPF, was detained by the police after the metal detector signalled the presence of a gun in his pocket. However, later he was let off after he produced valid documents required for carrying the pistol and claimed that he carries it for self-defense.
A large number of police personnel were deployed in and around the rally venue as well as key points to prevent any untoward incident during the rally. Barricades were put up at strategic points and traffic movement was diverted for several hours. All shops in Dharmatala and New Market kept their shutters down during the day. The controversial Trinamul Congress district president of Birbhum, Anubrata Mondal once again created a furore today when he said that government officials come for CAA and NRC work he will skin them.
At a party meeting organised at Sainthia in Birbhum district, Mr Mondal said that sitting in Delhi the BJP leadership has decided that 2.5 crores people are outsiders and they will throw them out. He said that the trunks of trees have been truncated as they become longer. Similarly, the wings of BJP will be clipped.