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States » East


All roads lead to Dharmatala for Mamata's 'Shahid Dibas' rally

All roads lead to Dharmatala for Mamata's 'Shahid Dibas' rally

Kolkata, Jul 21 (UNI) All roads lead to Dharmatala as today is July 21, 'Shahid Dibas'.

On this day in 1993, 13 valiant workers lost their lives during a rally on Mayo Road, Kolkata, after the police opened fire on them.

They were marching to Writers’ Buildings, led by Mamata Banerjee, then a firebrand Opposition leader, demanding that the voters’ identity card be made the only valid document to verify voters. Writers’ Buildings was then the state secretariat.

To commemorate the martyrdom of the 13 political activists, along with other martyrs who were killed during the Left Front rule, lakhs of people have converged in Kolkata from all the districts for the public meeting at Dharmatala.

This year too, lakhs of party supporters have been put up by the party at various places in Kolkata. They have been accommodated in places like the Geetanjali Stadium, Uttirno and various places in Kolkata, where local leaders and party workers are looking after them. All are in eager anticipation of this special day.

Camps have been set up at various places across the city to provide assistance to people.

Commemorative gates have also been put up at important intersections. Proper fire safety arrangements have been made, as well as arrangements for drinking water and medical emergencies.

Yesterday, Trinamool Congress Chairperson Mamata Banerjee went to Dharmatala to check on the preparations for today's rally.

Ms Banerjee said, ' As this 21st July is a Sunday, a lot of our supporters who can afford to come on a working day will not be able to make it. The BJP has pulled the strings from behind and not even 30 per cent of the normal number of trains will run tomorrow. '

' This is not desirable. Every political party can have their own political programmes. This is our annual programme to honour the martyrs. I am in favour of electoral reforms and have been fighting for it since 1995. If we have to stop the flow of black money, save democracy and ensure transparency of political parties during elections, then electoral reforms are a must, ' she added.

' State funding of political parties is of utmost need to bring about the required electoral reforms. Why should parties raise money? Why should there be black money? Several of the countries that had introduced EVMs for elections, like England, USA, Germany and France, have gone back to ballots, ' she stated.

' Since there are so many complaints, why not bring back ballots? ' she asked.

The Trinamool Congress Chairperson has written extensively on the political significance of this day in her book ‘My Unforgettable Memories’.

' It is the day when we remember and offer our respect to the hundreds of people who are fighting death every day, whose lives are a living death, who have lost life and limb in this struggle. For us, it is a day of sorrow and shame, ' she said in her book.

' Ever since 1993, every year July 21 brings back excruciating pain and agony to our memory, of the barbaric act of violence and brutal firing meted out by the previous Left Front government. '

' The voice of democratic demand raised in a peaceful procession was stifled with bullets and violence … Every year, 21st July is dedicated to the ‘Shahid family’ (martyrs’ families) belonging to different democratic movements. '

' Let us bow our heads down, pay obeisance and remember their invaluable sacrifice and also take a pledge to rededicate ourselves to continue to fight for the cause of ‘Maa Mati Manush’ and build a harmonious, peaceful and prosperous Bengal. '

In her book ‘My journey’ she writes: ' What exactly happened on 21st July? All was printed in newspapers. It may be oft repeated, but that blood stained gruesome 21st July will forever be deep in my mind, just like a nightmare. I started from my home around 11:30 AM, and reached first at Mayo Road

crossing. ”

” On seeing me arrive, CPI(M) cadres started pelting bricks from the rooftop, right in front of the stage. I tried speaking to the people without a microphone but failed. Right after this, the police climbed up to the stage, and my waist with the butts of their rifles. Another bunch of police had begun aiming the stage with tear gas shells by then. No photographers were allowed to be anywhere near us, to guarantee that no photograph of the account can be published the next day. ”

“ News reached us, innumerable people have gathered at the Strand Road – where meeting was in progress. Meeting was in full swing at Bowbazar too. Dharmatala was overflowing with people. Condition of Mayo Road was horrifying- the police had opened fire at the crowd and killed several people. ”

“ The city of Kolkata witnessed unprecedented bloodshed on that day. Death was all around, spelled out in gory-letters on the roads. Ever-increasing were the number of casualties and injured people. ”

“ As no one can keep out the sunlight by covering their face with hands, even you shall fail to put out the flames of this youth movement with your guns. With the grievous memory of 21st July – ‘bathed in the blood of my brother’ – the youth of Bengal will give you answer. ”

' Therefore, we are saying: ‘Save democracy – we want ballots, not questionable EVMs. Let us go back to ballots, ' Ms Banerjee remarked.

UNI SJC

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