In the last few days, both the city and the state witnessed repeated protests over the recent rapes in Bengal. And on Wednesday, it was the turn of the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA), along with three other Leftist organisations, to hit the streets of the city during peak hours, triggering massive traffic snarls and utter chaos.
Even though the programme of the protesters was declared much ahead of time, there was nevertheless a huge traffic snarl around 12 noon at prominent city junctures such as Shyambazar fivepoint crossing, Rashbehari crossing, Moulali crossing, Behala Chowrasta and their arterial connectors.
Police said this was because the demonstrators at Rashbehari and Shyambazar started protesting much earlier, thereby causing a massive snarl in the afternoon. The protests were not confined to these four points in the city though. There were demonstrations in several pockets of all the districts of Bengal.
Despite the huge traffic disruption on city streets, the AIDWA leaders, however, claimed that the public spontaneously joined in the protests. “I saw men, women and schoolgirls getting off from buses to join us in our protest. Instead of being inconvenienced by the disruption, they supported us,” said Lakshmimani Banerjee, the secretary of the Kolkata wing of AIDWA.
The protestors demanded that since the government was headed by a woman (Mamata Banerjee), it should focus all the more on the security of the fairer sex. “We demand exemplary punishment for the accused so that the Barasat, Gaighata and Murshidabad rape victims get justice. The government will also have to ensure that such incidents do not occur in the state again,” added Banerjee.
The association also threatened to launch more protests and a bigger agitation if the government remains inactive despite the spate of protests. “We carried out a law-violation programme in September. Today (on Wednesday), we staged a bigger protest. We will continue organising conventions and other programmes demanding justice if no action is taken,” said Banerjee.