A group of over 50 people came as representatives of a church at Phulbari in the Sunderbans, around an hour’s drive from Canning and over 70km from Calcutta. Residents of Christianpara, the neighbourhood they live in, had spent most of December doing the rounds of block land and land reforms offices, other government offices and police stations with birth certificates and land ownership documents. Dipti Gayen, 60, who walked in Monday’s rally, was one of them. “Most government officials were also confused about which paper would be valid. But our MLA held several programmes to assure us that we should not give in to the fears. Three generations of my family have died in this country. I am as much an Indian citizen as anyone else,” Gayen said.
Pictures by Gautam Bose and Sanat Kr Sinha