The ripples of protests over Union minister VK Singh’s “dog” remark with reference to the deaths of two Dalit children in Haryana reached Kolkata on Sunday, as the Left parties, led by the CPI(M), hit the streets to vent their outrage over the statement.
Left supporters staged demonstrations at Y Channel in the Esplanade area, airport and near Raj Bhavan. They walked the streets holding black flags and even burnt an effigy of the minister and former Army chief.
Reacting to a storm of protest against the incident in BJP-ruled Haryana, the Union minister of state for external affairs said the Centre couldn’t be blamed if someone “stones a dog.”
Even as the minister issued an apology, the opposition forces erupted in protest.
The former Army chief, who was in the city on Sunday for the launch of his autobiography titled Sahas Aur Sankalp by Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi, was shown black flags by Left Front supporters.
The protesters demanded the minister’s arrest for his crass remark. “He (VK Singh) should be removed from the NDA cabinet and put behind bars,” Niranjan Chatter jee, secretary of the CPI(M)’s Kolkata district committee, said.
“Thirty five Left supporters, including women, were arrested for holding a demonstration against Singh near Raj Bhavan,” Chatterjee told HT.
Faced with howls of protest, the minister issued an apology saying he didn’t mean to draw a parallel between the Haryana incident and the stoning of dogs.
Left supporters protesting at the Y Channel slammed both the Union minister and chief minister Mamata Banerjee.
“The chief minister maintained a studied silence even as the nation erupted in protest over the attacks on intellectuals. She also hasn’t uttered a word of protest against the minister’s remark,” Anadi Sahu, former state labour minister and the CPI(M)’s state committee member, said.
The Left supporters also hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his silence in the matter.