‘Go Back Modi’: Protests erupt in Kolkata, Bengal districts ahead of PM visit
Hours before PM Modi’s arrival in Kolkata on two-day visit to West Bengal, students and political parties on Saturday started protests in West Bengal shouting “Go Back Modi” and also burnt his effigy
Hours before Prime Minister Narendra Modi's arrival in Kolkata on a two-day visit to West Bengal, students and political parties on Saturday started protests in West Bengal shouting "Go Back Modi" and also burnt his effigy.
Student arms of various Left parties, including the CPI-M affiliated Students Federation of India (SFI) held large gatherings in five points of the city -- Golpark and Jadavpur 8B bus stand in South Kolkata, Esplanade in central Kolkata and Hatibagan as also the metropolis' education hub College street in North Kolkata, displaying posters and banners ridiculing the Prime Minister.
Coming together under the banner "Students Against Fascism", the protestors, joined by those of the Congress-affiliated Chhattra Parishad, held aloft the tri-colour and publicly read the Preamble to the Constitution as they staged demonstrations in each of the venues.
Black banners, posters and hoardings were dominant at the protests, where none of the organisations carried their own flags.
The protest at College Street saw large number of students take out a march from College Square to Presidency University.
"We want to give a message that the politics of violence which the BJP has started in campuses across the country, we won't tolerate that in Kolkata.
There is a need for a united protest cutting across political lines. That's the reason we have assembled here," said a girl student of Presidency University.
"Our protest is reflective of what is happening in the country. The Modi government is creating disturbance everywhere. As long as he remains in our state, we will protest. Wherever he goes, we will also go," said another youth. Modi will there for over 20 hours.
In Gol Park, the students flew black balloons with "go back" slogan, obstructing traffic. They also wrote "No NRC, No CAA, No NPR" on the road.
"So now, even the streets of Kolkata are asking Modi to go back," said a protestor.
CPI-M activists carrying black flags, demonstrated at the iconic Rabindra Setu (Howrah Bridge), floating a large number of black balloons in the air with posters proclaiming "Modi go back".
Same slogans were also heard near the NSCBI Airport as a small group of Congres activists gathered displaying the tricolour and waving black flags. They also cried "Tanshahi nehin chalagi, nehi chalegi (will not accept dictatorship)", "Modi Hatao Desh Banchaoa", and staged a sit-in as police personnel put up guard rails to prevent them from proceeding any further.
The SUCI (Communist), a Left outfit, demonstrated at Durgapur city of West Burdwan district and burnt an effigy of the Prime Minister. "Modi an 'unwanted guest' go back," they shouted.
Modi is scheduled to arrive at 4 p.m. -- as per his latest itinerary -- on Saturday, and would dedicate four renovated heritage buildings to the nation and inaugurate the sesquicentenary celebration of Kolkata Port trust during a 21-hour stay.
The prime minister is also scheduled to launch an interactive light and sound show of Rabindra Setu (Howrah Bridge) and go to the Belur Math -- global headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission -- on his first visit to the state after the Lok Sabha polls.
Stringent security has been put in place for the Prime Minister's tour, amid security forces' apprehensions of large-scale protests.
There has been a social media campaign with the hashtag #GoBackModi asking people to rally at the airport and also on VIP Road to prevent the prime minister from entering the city, raising speculation that Modi might have to take the chopper route to crisscross the city and outskirts.