KOLKATA:A unique silent procession by prominent citizens, including former judges, film directors, actors, lawyers, academicians, novelists, poets and students was staged here on Friday to protest against the alleged anrachy and state-sponsored violence, rapes and killings under the Mamata Banerjee-led TMC Government in West Bengal.
At the vanguard of the protest march were former state Assembly Speaker Hashim Abdul Halim, former Supreme Court Judge Asoke Ganguly, film star-turned-BJP leader Rupa Ganguly and several former varsity Vice-Chancellors.
Former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, who has been keeping indifferent health, sent a message to express solidarity with the protesters. The participants at the march carried banners stating, “Rulers who are murders, get out immediately” and “Time to protest and oppose and not repent”.
Since it was a silent protest, no slogans were raised during the march from College Square in central part of the city opposite the University of Calcutta to Chowringhee in the heart of the city. Before starting the march Hailm said, “People are witnessing a regime of anarchy in which innocents are being killed, women raped and any voice of dissent muzzled. This cannot be tolerated and it is time to protest and oppose this government”.
Ganguly, who had headed the State Human Rights Commission, remarked, “There is no freedom for ordinary citizens who are being threatened by the ruling party. People are protesting and this anarchy must be ended.”
Rupa, who claimed that she was participating in the march in her personal capacity said, “This procession is to protest against the violence unleashed against all by the state in Bengal. We demand peace and want an end to injustice and torture. We are here irrespective of our political affiliations. There should not be any need for political protection to live without fear in Bengal. We look forward to such a future.” Shiladitya Chowdhury, who was branded as a Maoist by Mamata as he had confronted her at a public meeting about the rising cost of fertilisers and subsequently jailed, also took part in the protest.