Left Front, Congress take out joint rally in Kolkata over JNU row

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Kolkata, Feb 15 (IANS) Amid an alliance buzz in West Bengal, leaders of the Left Front and the Congress on Monday marched shoulder to shoulder alongside other political workers in a rally here protesting against the ‘atrocities” perpetrated on Jawaharlal Nehru University students by the Narendra Modi government.

The rallyists set out from College Square — the city’s educational hub — and covered a three km stretch to Dorina Crossing near the city centre under apolitical banner Democratic Forum against Suppression.

The rally, christened “Kolkata Marches for JNU”, saw the participation of representatives of the Janata Dal-United, Rashtriya Janata Dal, besides the civil society.

West Bengal Congress general secretary Om Prakash Mishra said the rally was taken out to defeat “fascist” forces.

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“This rally has huge importance. India now needs ideological unity. CPI-M, Congress, Forward Bloc, JDU, RJD — they have all joined hands here. And those of you who think ‘JNU idea is India’s idea’ if this has to survive, we need the alliance. We are moving towards that,” said Mishra, who was the main organiser of the protest.

State leaders of both the Congress and the Left Front have been pitching for an alliance to put up a strong fight against the ruling Trinamool Congress.

Communist Party of India-Marxist Rajya Sabha member Ritabrata Banerjee, state secretariat member Sujon Chakraborty, former city mayor Bikash Bhattacharya, Congress leaders Somen Mitra, Abdul Mannan, Arunava Ghosh, Communist Party of India state secretary Manju Kumar Majumdar, all India Forward Bloc’s Naren Chattopadhyay and theatre personality Kaushik Sen took part in the rally.

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Ridiculing the BJP’s claims that those who were supporting the JNU agitation were acting against national interests, Ritabrata Banerjee said: “How can a force like the RSS, which killed Mahatma Gandhi, give certificate fo patriotism?

“The people of India have not reached such a state where they will have to take such certificates from such forces. People have hit the streets today against an undeclared state of Emergency. There is no political colour here.”

Kaushik Sen said one has to react immediately whenever such issues emerge.

“The BJP and organisations like the RSS which bolster the BJP, are regimented and have a wrong ideology. The combination of a disciplined party and a wrong ideology is dangerous. The sooner we react, the better it is for us.”

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The Trinamool and its leader Mamata Banerjee were also criticised by the rallyists.

AIFB leader Chattopadhyay questioned Mamata Banerjee’s silence at a time the Modi government has brought down “inhuman torture on JNU students”.

JNU is on the boil over the arrest of its students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar on sedition charges after some students organised a meet to mourn the hanging of parliament attack convict Afzal Guru and Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front co-founder Maqbool Bhat. Anti-India slogans were allegedly raised at the gathering.

Delhi Police registered a sedition case on Thursday and arrested Kanhaiya Kumar. He was sent to three days police custody on Friday although he denied raising the slogans.

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