Battle of Plassey against CAA
The venue of the historic Battle of Plassey is witnessing another battle — this time to protect the Constitution.
Nearly 2,000 men and women began what they called “a battle to protect the Constitution” since the eve of Republic Day in Nadia’s Plassey to protest against the Narendra Modi government’s citizenship matrix.
The Battle of Plassey 263 years ago had decisively altered the course of south Asian history and paved the way for the British colonisation of the subcontinent.
The protesters are determined to replicate the Shaheen Bagh model and are resolved to take the fight till the end.
Initiated by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Manch, a conglomeration of political and social activists of various ideologies, the Plassey version of the “Shaheen Bagh” protest was launched at the Phulbagan crossing on NH12, 5km from the actual battlefield of 1757. The peaceful demonstration began with a chorus of the national anthem.
Mahiuddin Mannan, a social worker, said: “Shaheen Bagh — which literally means ‘the garden of falcons’ in Farsi — has shown the way for the whole nation.”
“But there is special significance to this protest in Plassey. This is the battleground where virtually the whole of the subcontinent took a final stand against British imperialism. This is our battleground now, in a battle for existence,” he added.
The likes of Salim, Sabia, Swapan and Obaidulla have now gathered to launch their fight against the BJP’s citizenship regimen where the last independent ruler of Bengal, Mirza Muhammad Siraj ud-Daulah, lost to the Robert Clive-led marauding forces of the British East India Company.
The British were backed by several domestic interest groups opposed to the 24-year-old Nawab Nazim.
His kingdom then comprised Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Sikkim, Tripura, parts of Chhattisgarh and the Northeast, besides Bangladesh.
Octogenarian Obaidulla Seikh, a resident of Baro Chandghar, said on Sunday: “I cannot see or walk properly.”
“Nevertheless, I came here to join the protest. I fear being declared stateless in my own nation after a lifetime here. Witnessing this gathering, I am confident that no government, however determined, will be able to subdue such a large people that has risen against it,” he said.
A Shaheen Bagh-like protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act has been underway in Behrampore for the past few days.
In Plassey, besides the apolitical masses, a large number of Trinamul Congress and CPM activists were also seen in the sit-in demonstration, albeit without their party flags.
Waddes Ali Seikh, secretary of the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Manch, said: “It is a battle to protect the Constitution.”
Former Trinamul MLA Nasiruddin Ahmed, who joined the protest without his political identity, said: “It is an apolitical platform that seeks the rescinding of the amended citizenship law.”
“Our objective is to spread the message of our dissent against the draconian citizenship matrix to every home so that everybody realises the dangers,” he added.
The local BJP leadership, however, alleged that the platform was political and was set up to “unnecessarily unleash panic” on the people for political mileage.
“This is actually a battle for survival by Trinamul and the CPM,” local BJP leader Biswajit Ghosh said.