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Left-leaning trade union to organise sit-in in Rishra to demand peaceful celebration of Ram Navami

Indian Federation of Trade Unions will also urge people not to turn the religious event into a political one

Snehamoy Chakraborty, Saibal Gupta Calcutta Published 17.04.24, 10:38 AM
Representational image

Representational image Sourced by the Telegraph

The Left-leaning Indian Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU) will on Wednesday organise a sit-in in Hooghly’s Rishra to demand a peaceful celebration of Ram Navami in the area that saw violent clashes last year.

The IFTU will also urge people not to turn the religious event into a political one.


Rishra, a city by the river Hooghly, is an industrial hub with a mixed population. It witnessed communal strife last year over Ram Navami celebrations. The BJP and the Trinamool Congress accused each other of provoking tension.

The IFTU, which has its presence in jute and linen factories in Rishra, decided to organise the sit-in as a pre-emptive step to counter last year’s tension.

“What we witnessed last year was alarming. People of different communities have lived in Rishra peacefully without a single instance of communal strife till last year. That is why we will organise a peaceful sit-in in front of a factory
in Rishra and plead against the recurrence of any violence. The police are yet to respond to our appeal. We hope they help us promote harmony,” said Chandan Pramanik, a state committee member of IFTU.

“Our concern is for poor workers of factories. They are the prime sufferers during any law and order problem,” he added.

The sit-in will start at 4pm on Wednesday in front of the Phosphate Factory in Rishra and last till Ram Navami processions are over in the region.

A source said Rishra houses hundreds of families from Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh who work in the industrial hub. Saffron organisations like Bajrang Dal have found a base here, especially among the Hindi-speaking population.

“We feel religion is an individual choice and no one should turn it into a political one,” said Sujan Chakrabarty, the trade union’s state committee secretary.

As Ram Navami will be celebrated across the state this year under surveillance of the Election Commission of India, the poll panel has pinpointed sensitive areas that saw violence last year. Howrah and Uluberia, Hooghly’s Serampore and Rishra, Birbhum’s Naihati, West Burdwan’s Asansol, and West Midnapore’s Kharagpur have been deemed highly sensitive. The EC is also keeping watch on some pockets in North 24-Parganas district like Dum Dum, Barrackpore, Barasat and Basirhat.

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