FIRST the students. Then the Left parties. On consecutive two days College Street, the ‘heritage’ road of struggles in Kolkata witnessed defiance.
Mamata Banerjee government has banned all rallies, meetings in College Street – the place where Calcutta University, Presidency College are situated. Many other educational institutions are nearby. The entire area is also called ‘Fleet Street’ of the orient because of its book shops. The road is witness to many historic movements from the days of freedom struggle.
The Left parties, progressive, democratic forces in the state condemned the ban and declared that it would break it.
On July 3, SFI took the lead and marched towards College Street. There was huge police mobilisation but the energetic rally broke through and the security forces backtracked. Students raised slogans for restoration of democracy, against corruption in admission process in the colleges. It was a victory of sorts.
On the next day, 17 Left and associated parties marched towards College Street from four sides in north and central Kolkata. Thousands of people joined in the historic march. Led by Biman Basu, Surjyakanta Misra and other Left leaders, the rallies entered into College Street and virtually swept the road. The entire area was coloured red by flags. This time too, the huge police arrangements became futile.
Presiding over a meeting at the end of the rally on College street, Left Front chairman Biman Basu said that the draconian dictates of the present state government should be resisted at all costs. He also said Mamata Banerjee is courting the BJP government to save her skin in the corruption cases and is trying to destroy the peoples protests. She is putting a ban on places where protests are held, to pave the way for the rise of the communal forces. CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Md Salim in his speech said that this politics of vendetta started by Mamata Banerjee should be defeated at all costs. CPI(M) state secretary Surjyakanta Misra condemned the ban by the TMC’s draconian government, and said people will spontaneously defy such illegal bans time and again.