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Thousands Turn up at Kolkata Rally Condemning Israeli Attack on Palestine

The rally was joined by working-class people, teachers, students, and peace activists.
Pro-Palestine protest in Kolkata, West Bengal

Kolkata: Thousands of people on Wednesday took part in an anti-imperialist march against Israel in Kolkata, gathering from south Bengal districts. The rally, which started from Mahajati Sadan in Kolkata, continued up to Ramlila Park in the Park Circus area, covering a distance of nearly three kilometres.

The rally was joined by working-class people, teachers, students, and peace activists, and was resplendent with slogans and placards. "Say no to war" read numerous placards, with the pictorial depiction of the condition of the Gaza strip. Left Front Chairman Biman Basu, CPI(M) state secretary MD Salim, Abhijit Majumdar of CPI(ML) Liberation, Naren Chatterjee of Forward Block, Swapan Banerjee of CPI, Tapan Hore (RSP), Tarun Mondal of SUCI also took part in the huge rally and led it from the front.

Arindam Mukherjee, a peace activist from Kolkata who was at the rally, told NewsClick that this rally represented the penchant of the majority of the people of West Bengal to stop the imperialist war on the Gaza strip, which has been under Israeli occupation for a long time. 

He added that a section of the Indian media is following the wish of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party by toeing the line of supporting Israel in the war. It amounts to supporting state-sponsored terrorism in the Middle East, he said, talking with Newsclick while walking in the rally. He also strongly criticised the present inclination of India, which, according to him, is to become a junior partner to the USA and take a reactionary role in the Middle East, removing itself from its earlier role of supporting the Palestinian state and its liberation struggle against Zionist Israel.

Speaking at the rally after the march, Left Front Chairman Biman Basu said that in Palestine, Israel is continuing with genocide after being armed by the imperialist USA. Till now, there have been more than 10,000 deaths in the Gaza Strip alone, a large number of whom are women and children. He mentioned there have been protests against Israel's aggression in Western cities like London and Paris, and Indians, too, have to protest against this genocide in large numbers. 

After the protest march in Kolkata, similar marches in a decentralised manner will take place in all the district towns of the state on November 9 and 10, Basu added.

CPI(M) State Secretary MD Salim, in his speech, traced the historical anti-imperialist role played by the people of Kolkata against any imperialist intervention across the globe. He reminded people of the role played by Kolkata during the Vietnam War. The Palestinian liberation struggle was intrinsically related to the Indian Independence movement, he said, and added that even Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru were all in support of the people of Palestine and were against Zionist aggression of Israel. 

He also strongly condemned the role played by the Rashtria Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which did not oppose the British during the country's freedom struggle. Hence, they are now taking the side of Israel during the time of this war, Salim claimed. Because of this, India abstained from voting when a proposal was taken at the United Nations condemning Israel, the Left leader said. 

While people all throughout the globe are condemning the role played by Israel, the Indian Hindutva proponents are finding similarities between Zionists and Hindutva and are supporting Israel, while the ruling party of West Bengal, Trinamool Congress, is maintaining a stoic silence on the issue, he added.

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