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Village voice reaches city

About 100 people representing murdered anti-hooch campaigner Sourav Chowdhury’s village in North 24-Parganas arrived in Calcutta on Wednesday to participate in a protest organised by “artists and intellectuals” but short of the promised famous faces.

The rally outside the Academy of Fine Arts was to have been against Trinamul MP Tapas Paul’s threat to unleash his boys on the party’s rivals and the murder of the college student who had taken on hooch hooligans allegedly enjoying political patronage. With the so-called culture clan poorly represented, the protest turned out to be about Sourav alone.

Theatre veteran Ashok Mukhopadhyay kicked off the protest by pointing a finger at the “growing trend of awards and grants to the artiste community in order to silence the voices that could have taken a stand”.

Actor Badshah Moitra, painter Samir Aich, JU professor Ambikesh Mahapatra, theatre artiste Chandan Sen and actress Papia Adhikary were among the few who were there.

The slogan that rent the air came from Bamangachhi: “Pratibadi Sourav, amader gourab (Protester Sourabh, our pride)”.

Souren Kar, 26, said: “We want our small village’s voice to reach the city. Of a population of 50,000, hardly around 20 may be criminals. But if we don’t stop this right now, it might get worse. We aren’t bothered by who’s coming to power and who’s not, we want the criminals to be punished.”

Sourav’s brother Sandip was among the protesters. “Once again an anti-hooch protester (Srikanta Bhadra) has been attacked. I hope more people join us in our protest,” he said.