Protesters stay put
Police are pressuring protesters on a sit-in near New Market to vacate the place, some of them alleged on Saturday.
They said cops had stopped them from bringing chairs or erecting a tent for women.
Mayor Firhad Hakim on Saturday urged people opposing the citizenship matrix to rally together behind chief minister Mamata Banerjee.
When told about Hakim’s statement, the protesters near New Market said they had realised that the police
pressure was aimed at merging their protest with that of the Trinamul Congress.
Prasenjit Bose, one of the protesting leaders, asked if the Trinamul Chhatra Parishad could have a dais blocking a flank of Rani Rashmoni Avenue for over a fortnight, why were cops pressuring them to vacate the New Market area.
“Our original plan was to continue the vigil on a lane off the JL Nehru Road-SN Banerjee Road crossing. It was the police who did not allow us to go there and told us to stop near Hogg Street,” Bose, a convener of the Joint Forum Against NRC, which has organised the protest near New Market, said. “We wanted to move to a corner of the road, leaving enough space for vehicles. Since Wednesday, we have been requesting the police to allow us to move our dais to a corner but they have remained non-committal.”
The protesters shifted their dais on Saturday morning. The police did not oppose that.
A city police officer refuted the allegation. “The protest is on for more than three days. We have never put any pressure on them to leave. I do not think things are the way they are projecting,” the officer said.
The protesters alleged there was a scuffle between cops and some of them when a vehicle arrived with chairs for them on Saturday afternoon.
“The police snatched the chairs from us and were throwing them away. They will not allow us to bring anything,” Reshma Khatun, a mother of two who has been on 24x7 vigil since Tuesday afternoon when the sit-in started, said. “For a moment I was scared whether there would be a repeat of the police action on protesters in Delhi. I got scared seeing their aggressive nature.”