Students’ Federation of India (SFI) and Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) organised countrywide protests on September 14 against the police brutality on the youth long march in West Bengal on the afternoon of September 13. Thousands of youths were marching towards Nabanna, the West Bengal secretariat demanding affordable education and employment for all when they were brutally attacked by the police and TMC goons, and more than 500 protesters were injured during the clashes. The injured protesters were taken to various hospitals across Kolkata. Out of this, 62 people were seriously injured and have been admitted in hospitals
SFI said in a statement released after the attack, “When the protesters started marching towards the Nabanna, they were stopped before reaching the secretariat. Police and RAF with their advanced equipment were standing there to deal with the unarmed youth. Without any provocation they started lathi charge, tear shell was shot and water cannon was brought in. More than 500 comrades including the state secretary of SFI and state secretary of DYFI were brutality beaten up and currently admitted in different hospitals of the city.” They added that the call for countrywide protests was given to remind the governments enjoying the power vested upon them that the youth movements cannot be stopped by using violence.
The police not only attacked that protestors, but also used alta (a kind of red dye traditionally used to decorate hands and feet) to replicate blood and implicate the protesters of injuring them. The protesting activists found a bag full of stones in an alley just next to the police barricades. The activists have also said that male police viciously beat up and manhandled the women protesters.
Also read: Police and TMC Goons Attack Youth Rally in West Bengal
The protesters who were arrested by the police during the clashes on September 12 were presented in the district court in Howrah today and taken to jail after being denied bail. The next hearing has been scheduled for Monday, September 16. The police were also met with huge protests by activists when they were leading the arrested protesters out of the court.
DYFI State Secretary Sayandeep Mitra said, “The police has filed false cases on the people who were marching peacefully. It was the police who attacked our march with brutal violence, injured 62 people gravely, and then had the audacity to arrest 23 protesters and file a plethora of false cases against them, and then deny them bail.” He added, “They will not be able to keep them locked up forever. These 23 people will be freed soon, and people will find out who are the real criminals, the people who were marching peacefully, or the police who inhumanely attacked and injured them. We will defeat them in their own courts.”
Protest marches and demonstrations were organised by left unions in various parts of West Bengal, and different states across the country, against the police brutality and the attack on the peaceful march on the people who were demanding education and work. The state secretary of West Bengal said, “This protest will show them that they violence cannot affect us. It will only make our fight stronger, and we will continue our struggle against the anti-youth and anti-student government with more determination.”
Also read: Thousands of Youths Rally in West Bengal, Demanding Education and Employment