Wednesday, November 14, 2007

People’s March sans political parties

Statesman News Service
KOLKATA, Nov. 13: Life in central parts of Kolkata is likely to be disrupted due to the People’s March that would be brought out by artistes, social activists, writers and poets tomorrow to protest the violence in Nandigram.
Even though the rally would not hit the roads in south or north Kolkata, police officers apprehend that traffic movement in the southern and northern parts of the city would slow down and there would be traffic jams, if the central part is blocked.
It may be recalled that social activist Ms Medha Patkar had announced on Sunday that a People’s March would be brought out in the city from College Square area around 1 p.m. on 14 November. Apart from the city’s intelligentsia, hundreds of citizens are also expected to take part in the rally to add voice to the protest march. There will, however, be no political party banners in the rally.
Meanwhile, the Bar Council of West Bengal joined the protest against the carnage and said the state government has been “callous and painfully inactive” in controlling the situation.
Miss Mamata Banerjee and the Trinamul Congress will not be participating in the rally.
Explaining the Trinamul Congress decision to stay away from the march, Miss Mamata Banerjee said she welcomed the initiative by the artistes to join in the protest against “state-sponsored terrorism by the CPI-M” at Nandigram.
But an attempt is being made to dilute the artistes’ efforts by unnecessarily creating controversy over the participation of the Trinamul Congress in the protest. “We extend our moral support to this valiant effort. We want them to succeed and would not let even a small political outfit to scuttle the move on the plea that the Trinamul is with it. We will not be physically with the artistes but our moral support is with them,” she added.
Veteran Congress leader Mr Somen Mitra said his party would not participate in tomorrow’s peace march as he did not want to “embarrass” the organisers of this protest.
The state Congress leadership, which had earlier decided to join this march from College Square to the Gandhi Statue, changed its mind after learning that political personalities were not welcome to it.
Deputy commissioner (traffic), Mr MK Verma said even though the strength of the rally could not be speculated upon now, it would start from College Square (see red line in map above) to Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Road. The rally would then take SN Banerjee Road and reach Dorina Crossing. It would then turn towards JL Nehru Road and ultimately culminate near the statue of Mahatma Gandhi via Mayo Road.
Whether there will be traffic diversions or not will depend on the strength of the rally.
“When the rally goes down JL Nehru Road, we will divert north-bound traffic directly over the Park Street flyover. When it is on SN Banerjee Road, north-bound traffic will be diverted towards MG Road. South-bound traffic will be diverted from the Park Circus seven-point crossing,” Mr Verma added.
The deputy commissioner (headquarter) Mr Vineet Goyel said there would be adequate police arrangement all along the rally route to avoid any untoward incident.
Ms Medha Patkar had earlier said that if the violence does not let up, the rally would march up to Nandigram.