People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 41

October 14, 2012



Thousands Defy Ban to Hold

Massive Protest Rally in Kolkata 

From Our Special

Correspondent in Kolkata


THOUSANDS of people defied ban to throng to a rally in front of Kolkata Municipal Corporation to protest against rampant corruption, callousness of the body to prevent near-epidemic outbreak of diseases like dengue and collapse of civic services in the city. The rally, called by Left Front on Tuesday (October 9) gained an added importance in view of the sudden ban declared by Kolkata police. The permission to hold a public meeting in front of Corporation headquarters was formally sought nearly a month ago. During this period intensive public campaign was also conducted. But the police, without providing any definite reason, cancelled the permission to hold the rally just  four days ago. Left Front district leaders categorically announced that the rally would be held as scheduled in the declared venue with or without police permission. 


On Tuesday, police initially showed high handedness and obstructed the organisers in constructing dais and threw away flags of Left parties. Police, in numbers, also blocked roads to prevent the rally. But more than a hour before the scheduled time, thousands of people began to march towards the venue. As the surge of people began to rise, the police started retreating. Finally, nearly 50,000 strong mass proceeded towards Corporation building and the rally was held with leaders addressing the masses from an impromptu dais erected on a small truck. Red flags swamped the entire area, even Corporation building. Left councilors, meanwhile organised a procession from within the building and came out to join the masses. The police administration did not dare to intervene in face of such a determined protest.


Suryakanta Mishra, leader of opposition, throwing a virtual challenge to the West Bengal government and the state chief minister, Mamata Banerjee, said the chief minister should never dare prevent the Left Front from holding public meetings and rallies in future. The banning of rallies, strikes and other forms of protest have become a regular feature in TMC-led rule in the state.


Mishra said the huge turnout has proved to what extent the chief minister’s power held sway. “She herself should understood what is the extent of her ability and she should not dare to impose restriction on our public meetings. The police can resort to use of lathis and even firing. But we are not scared. Actually the chief minister herself is scared of the people now,” Mishra said.


He said the probable next date of direct confrontation with the state government would be November 7, as he has been informed that on that day the Left Front leaders and supporters will be prevented from garlanding the statue of V I Lenin on the occasion of the celebration of November Revolution.“I want to tell the people to assemble on that day like today. No one can prevent us from garlanding the statue of V I Lenin,” the leader of opposition said.  


Mishra said, police is being used not to protect law and order but to protect the looters. In Kolkata Corporation, crores of rupees have been spent to fit ‘Trident’ street lights without adhering to any rules and regulations. It was a large scale corruption. Much is being touted about turning Kolkata into ‘London’. In reality, peoples’ money is being looted under the guise of this meaningless beautification. He alleged that the chief minister is under the grasp of chit funds, which are looting thousands of crores of rupees from innocent and poor people. “Around Rs 1500 crore was looted by chit funds in West Bengal during the last couple of years and the chief minister is surrounded by the owners of these chit funds,” the leader of opposition said. 


Rupa Bagchi, leader of opposition in the KMC, alleged that the civic body's trident light scam was worth Rs 27 crore.


Tuesday’s massive rally was held within nine days of another mammoth rally by CPI(M) North 24 Parganas district committee around the same place at the heart of the city.