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Cutting across political divide, intellectuals unite

Plan stir against the spate of rapes & deteriorating law and order situation in West Bengal

kolkata Updated: Jun 19, 2013 08:57 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

For the first time since poriborton in May 2011, a cross section of intellectuals belonging to both pro-Trinamool and pro-CPI(M) camps would hit the streets on June 21 protesting against the spate of rapes in the state. In a statement to the media on Tuesday, intellectuals complained that criminals in the state are behaving as if there’s “no one in the administration” to curb their activities.

With intellectuals hitting out at the administration for lack of willingness on their part to rein in anti-socials, the rebuke could be directed towards chief minister Mamata Banerjee herself, as she is also the police minister.

The protest march starting from College Square would be attended by actors Soumitra Chatterjee and Sabyasachi Chakraborty (both pro-Left), social activist Mahasweta Devi, thespian Bibhas Chakraborty (both pro-Trinamool), artist Samir Aich, academician Tarun Sanyal and poet Sankha Ghosh (apolitical).

Taking a leaf out of the Kamduni protests, intellectuals called for “intense and organised civil society agitations” rising above “narrow political considerations”. “An intense and organised social movement is required against the unholy forces operating all around. Everyone should come together forgetting all kinds of differences. People of Kamduni have shown the way to rise above narrow political interests and protest spontaneously,” read a part of the press statement.

The effort to rally intellectuals was reminiscent of the one-lakh strong procession that was organised on November 2007 to protest against the atrocities of the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government in Singur and Nandigram. “The administration has failed to prevent crimes against women. Kamduni has shown the way ahead. This is the only form of protest,” said director Mrinal Sen (90), one of the convenors of the June 21 protest. However, Sen would not be able to attend the meet due to his ailing health.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau, Bengal ranks first in crimes against women. In the last two weeks, rapes and murders have been reported from Kamduni in Barasat, Gaighata in North 24-Parganas, Sonadanga in Murshidabad, Gede and Krishnaganj in Nadia, leading to floods of protests across the state and putting the governmentonthe back foot. “Rapes and murders have become almost a daily affair in the state. Criminals are behaving as if there’s no one in the administration to put a leash on their activities and they have the right to commit atrocities. If the administration fails to take preventive measures, a disaster is waiting to occur,” read another part of the press note.

Even before poriborton, a cross section of intellectuals had rallied to protest the ‘killing’ of Rizwanur Rehman in 2007. But after the change of guard in the state, the Park Street rape, the Shiladitya Chowdhury episode and other incidents had failed to unite city intellectuals and protested by only the pro-Left intelligentsia.

“The objective of the rally is not to create law and order problems but to make the government aware of the deteriorating situation,” said Sabyasachi Chakraborty.

First Published: Jun 19, 2013 08:46 IST