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regular-article-logo Thursday, 18 July 2024

Left Front takes out rally to seek ISF MLA Nawsad Siddique's release

CPM state secretary Md Salim alleges that Trinamul tried to bribe Siddique to fall in line

Arkamoy Datta Majumdar Calcutta Published 15.02.23, 04:06 AM
The Left Front rally in support of ISF MLA Nawsad Siddiquein Esplanade, Calcutta, on Tuesday.

The Left Front rally in support of ISF MLA Nawsad Siddiquein Esplanade, Calcutta, on Tuesday. Pradip Sanyal

The incarceration of ISF MLA Nawsad Siddique, along with 17 others, has become a rallying point for the Left Front to mount pressure on the state government to release the legislator and consolidate a section of minorities before the crucial panchayat polls.

A massive rally from Ramlila Maidan in central Calcutta to Rani Rashmoni Avenue was organised by the Left Front and several apolitical organisations on Tuesday to demand Siddique’s release. Apart from Left Front partners, Siddique’s ISF, several Muslim outfits and apolitical ones such as the Joint Forum Against NRC took part in it.

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Slamming the state government for trying to gag voices opposed to Trinamul, CPM state secretary Md Salim alleged that Trinamul tried to bribe Siddique to fall in line. “When they realised he can’t be bought, they put him in police custody so that he could be brainwashed. They are scared of him as he is the only true Opposition MLA,” Salim said.

Siddique’s arrest on January 21 fuelled a controversy with Opposition parties — the CPM, BJP and the Congress — accusing the government of throttling democratic voices. More than three weeks later, the MLA remains in judicial custody and his arrest has turned into a major political issue for the Opposition.

Walking in the rally alongside CPM leaders Biman Bose, Samik Lahiri and Rabin Deb among others, the convener for the Joint Forum Against NRC, Prasenjit Bose, said Siddique’s arrest had annoyed a large section of the Muslims, especially in south Bengal.

“Not only members of the minority community, but people from Other Backward Classes, Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes have started sympathising with Siddique and his arrest,” Prasenjit Bose said.

Echoing him, a senior CPM leader said the Bhangar MLA’s arrest was slowly leading to a consolidation of a section of minorities against the Trinamul.

The CPM had planned a rally in Bhangar on Wednesday to demand Siddiqui’s release, but police imposed Section 144 on the area and disallowed permission for the rally.

CPM has moved the high court against the police order barring the rally. The matter will be heard by Justice Rajasekhar Mantha on Wednesday.

Trinamul held a meeting in Bhangar’s Kashipur. Opposition leaders alleged the event was held despite Kashipur being under Section 144. Local Trinamul leaders said it wasn’t a public meeting but an informal session over tea.

The BJP, despite being ideologically opposed to the ISF, has slammed Siddique’s arrest.

Leader of the Opposition and BJP MLA Suvendu Adhikari has repeatedly referred to Siddique’s arrest as an attack on Muslims.

BJP sources said that Adhikari wants to alienate Muslims as much as possible from Trinamul and hence his current support to Siddique.

Siddique and his supporters were arrested in Calcutta’s Esplanade on January 21 after a row broke out between them and the police.

He was tagged in several cases filed at Hare Street and Calcutta Leather Complex police stations.

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