After assaulting Bhumi Uchchhed Pratirodh Committee (BUPC) members, the police in Kolkata turned violent on intellectuals protesting against the Nandigram massacre on Sunday.
More than 100 intellectuals were beaten up and arrested when they refused to disperse from a rally near the popular Nandan complex, where the 13th Kolkata Film Festival is being organised.
Among the protesters were noted film directors Aparna Sen, Rituparna Ghosh and Anjan Dutta, poet Joy Goswami, painters Subhaprasanna, Sanatan Dinda and Samir Aich, theatre personality Suman Mukherjee and singer Pallab Kirtania.
The intellectuals were shouting slogans demanding the “immediate stoppage of mass killing by CPM cadres in Nandigram” and calling for postponement of the film festival. Some of the posters the protesters were carrying said, “don’t celebrate crime against humanity”, “Buddha has two cards — terror and culture”.
A huge police force, including RAF and SAP men had taken over the popular Nandan complex, restricting entry to the premises.
Unable to enter the Nandan complex, the intellectuals sat on the road at the Rabindra Sadan crossing, shouting slogans, singing and reciting poetry. After senior police officers failed to disperse the protesters, policemen descended on them in large numbers, beating them up before arresting many of them.
“This is complete fascist rule. While people are getting killed regularly in Nandigram, the CM is in a celebration mood. He is a bigger criminal than Hitler or Nero”, Subhaprasanna said.
Suman Mukherjee said he couldn’t understand how can such a “butcher government” could remain in power.
Aparna Sen, who boycotted the film festival, warned that the government wouldn’t be able to gag protesting voices in this manner. “The truth can’t be suppressed. Questions are coming out and will continue to flow. The government must answer,” she said.