November 19, 2023

WB: Kolkata Erupts in Protest over Massacre in Gaza

Subinoy Moulik

IN keeping with its anti-imperialist spirit, Kolkata rallied to demand an end to Israeli genocide in Gaza. On November 8th afternoon, the peace-loving people of Kolkata responding to the joint call of ten Left  parties voiced their protest by joining a huge march from  Mahajati Sadan in central Kolkata to Ramlila Park in Moulali. Many people from the districts of South Bengal also came and participated in this march. Thousands of people shouted slogans against Israeli aggression while demanding an end to attacks on Gaza. The Left leaders said, "People of India are in favour of the freedom-seeking people of Palestine. Let the Government of India stop being the cronies of imperialism and pursue an independent foreign policy as before.”

In two brief meetings at the beginning and end of the rally, Left leaders strongly condemned US-backed Israel for brutal killings and oppression of the Palestinian people. CPI(M) state secretary Mohammad Salim said, this protest embodies the spirit of resistance that defines Kolkata.  Wherever in the world injustice is done to people, freedom-seeking people are attacked, Kolkata will raise its voice of protest. Describing the Left's protest against Israeli aggression and solidarity with the people of Palestine as a continuity of the tradition of India's freedom movement, Salim said Mahatma Gandhi had championed the cause of the people of Palestine. He had declared that Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English and France to the French. But we all know that BJP played no part in India's fight for independence. In fact, their political ancestors had worked against it. The RSS was on the side of the British. So they have decided to support Israel. That is why India's representative in the United Nations has refrained from speaking against Israel. People all over the world are protesting Israel's genocide, but the RSS is supporting Israel because they find similarities in their political Hinduism with Israel's Zionism. Curiously enough, the ruling party in West Bengal is also silent.

He said that Israel is carrying out genocide against the people of Palestine by blocking it every day. Just as Hitler killed the Jews, Israel is killing the Palestinian people today. This is not a Muslim vs. Jew war. The Arab countries in the US tent are also silent about it. But the RSS in India which supported Hitler is now supporting Israel's genocide while fomenting Islamophobia. Like Netanyahu, they also want to take away the rights of the people of Kashmir, and carry out massacres in Manipur. They aspire to establish a typical variety of neofascism (corporate-communal fascism). That is why they want to divide Hindus and Muslims in India by portraying the struggle and aspirations of the Palestinian   people as terrorism, using it as an excuse for supporting Israeli attacks. Such religious division cannot be allowed. Hindus and Muslims fought together in India's freedom struggle. Today too we will protest together against the brutality of imperialism.

Left Front chairman Biman Basu said that Israel is committing genocide with the help of the US, the centre of imperialism. More than 10,000 people have been killed in Gaza. There were protests in London, marches in Paris despite the French government's objections. The whole world is roaring with protests, we must also protest. The protest in Kolkata should be spread to the districts. On November 10, Left parties held sit-in protests at district headquarters.

Bengal committee secretary of Forward Bloc, Naren Chatterjee, RSP state secretary, Tapan Hore and party leader Rajiv Banerjee, CPI state secretary Swapan Banerjee and party leader Gautam Roy, CPI(ML) Liberation state secretary Abhijit Majumdar and party leader Kartik Pal, SUCI(C) leaders Tarun Mandal and Juber Rabbani took part in the protest meetings. Recalling Kolkata's anti-imperialist tradition that had rocked the city in protest against the Vietnam War in the 1960s, the speakers said, "Whenever and wherever imperialism strikes in the world, Kolkata will roar in protest." Despite the UN ceasefire proposal and appeals from the international community, Israel did not desist from military attack. The people of Gaza are now facing a terrible humanitarian disaster. The United States and some of its western allies are providing full support and cooperation to this attack by Israel. They are supplying Israel with weapons and military equipment. This cannot be tolerated.

As the huge march, festooned with anti-war banners and shouting slogans, proceeded towards Moulali through Chittaranjan Avenue, Mahatma Gandhi Road, and Sealdah flyover, many people crowded on both sides of the road watching the march go past and condemning the Israeli genocide. The main banner carried the essential slogans: Immediate cease-fire, adequate and life-saving aid to Gaza and recognition of   independent sovereign Palestinian state along with reorganisation of Israel along pre-1967 borders as per the UN resolution.  Moreover the demand was raised    that the Government of India continue to stand by Palestine while condemning US imperialism for supporting the aggressor Israel. Leaders and workers of CPI(M), CPI, All India Forward Bloc, RSP, SUCI(C), CPI(ML) Liberation, RCPI, Marxist Forward Bloc, Workers' Party and Bolshevik Party were also present in the rally. CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Surya Mishra also walked the whole way. Leaders of various mass organisations also participated in the march.