KOLKATA — Opposition parties of West Bengal — the Congress and the CPI(M) — took out rallies in different parts of Kolkata in protest against the one-day visit of Union Home Minister Amit Shah to the city on Sunday.
As Shah arrived in the city in the morning, hundreds of Left and Congress protesters, carrying black flags and anti-CAA posters, demonstrated outside the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport and raised ‘go back’ slogans.
Later in the day, a minor scuffle broke out between police personnel and protesters in Esplanade area when agitators tried to break the barricade and enter Shahid Minar Ground where Shah is scheduled to hold a rally, a senior police officer said.
“Though nobody was arrested in the incident, police will act strictly if the situation goes out of control,” he said.
CPI(M) Legislature Party leader Sujan Chakraborty led a large 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.
CPI(M)-affiliated SFI and DYFI also took out rallies in Shyambazar, Gariahat, Behala, Kaikhali and Entally areas.
“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 (Shah) is not welcome here. 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,” Chakraborty said.
The CPI(M) leader hit out at the West Bengal government for granting permission for Shah’s rally.
“The understanding between the Modi and the Mamata governments is the reason why permission was granted to hold a rally even when class 12 board examinations are around and blaring of loudspeakers is prohibited. This is a courtesy of the state government to Shah,” Chakraborty said.
At Shah’s rally, state BJP leaders will felicitate him for the passage of the amended citizenship law in Parliament. BJP national president JP Nadda will also attend the public meeting.
“We have taken all forms of precautionary measures to counter any untoward incident during the Union home minister’s visit to the city. Additional personnel have been deployed at all crucial points,” a senior officer of Kolkata Police said.
The Union home minister also inaugurated a new building of National Security Guards at Rajarhat and will hold closed-door meetings with the state BJP leadership along with Nadda.
Shah will also visit the Kalighat Temple in south Kolkata.