Kolkata celebs march for peace in Nandigram


Kolkata : Ignoring stormy winds and a steady drizzle, a section of Leftist intellectuals and leading citizens Thursday hit the streets of Kolkata to express solidarity with a beleaguered West Bengal government over violence in Nandigram.

Support TwoCircles

Several writers, poets, filmmakers and sportsmen participated in the rally. They included filmmaker Mrinal Sen, magician P.C. Sorcar, painter Wasim Kapoor, poet Subodh Sarkar, filmmakers Tarun Majumdar and Tapan Sinha, actors Soumitra Chatterjee, Mithun Chakraborty, Biplab Chattopadhyay, Arindam Seal, Sobha Sen, Chinmoy Ray, former Olympian P.K Banerjee and cricketer Debang Gandhi.

The procession started at 4.30 p.m. from near the statue of footballer Goshto Pal in Esplanade and ended at the statue of Mahatma Gandhi on Mayo Road.

Chatterjee described the procession as a “peace rally” and refused to attach any political significance to it.

“We have been marching for peace in Nandigram. No political colour should be associated with it,” he said.

Though the weather gods threatened to disrupt the procession, the rallyists marched on, umbrella in hand.

“Proving our detractors wrong, a large number of people joined the rally. They have come to respond to the call of humanity,” Seal said.

“We all had assembled here so that peace can be restored in East Midnapore’s Nandigram. The violence, which is continuing for the past 11 months, should end now,” Sarkar said.

On Wednesday, about 60,000 people marched in Kolkata to protest the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-sponsored “onslaught” in Nandigram, pitting the intelligentsia against the CPI-led government as never before.

Filmmakers Aparna Sen, Rituparna Ghosh, Goutam Ghosh, Anjan Datta, actor and playwright Bibhas Chakraborty, writer Shirshendu Mukherjee, poet Joy Goswami, Shankho Ghosh, painters Jogen Choudhury and Subhaprasanna took part in that procession.

Shankho Ghosh refused to attach much significance to the two rallies. Asked whether the two rallies signified the polarisation of the intelligentsia, he said,” There is no question of polarisation. We had taken to the streets as we were against CPI-M sponsored atrocities in Nandigram. Time will tell who are the real Leftists.”

Nandigram, 150 km from here, last week witnessed renewed political clashes that have claimed 34 lives since January.