A massive rally was organised in Kolkata by Left-backed organisations comprising of students and other members of rights groups to protest against the Kashmir violence.
The protesters were carrying placards which read, ‘de-militarise Kashmir’, flags and assembled at central Kolkata, College Square, and walked till Sealdah station.
The protesters also raised slogans like, ‘Kashmir maange azaadi, Manipur maange azaadi’.
“We are demanding azaadi for Kashmir and Manipur. Azaadi for us means withdrawal of army and AFSPA. The people are oppressed by the army and it has resulted in so many deaths. It’s high time that these two states should be freed from armed forces and AFSPA,” said Mrinmoy Sarkar from the Progressive Democratic Students’ Federation (PDSF) organisation.
A large number of the participants were from various colleges and universities of the state, while many academics, rights activists or even supporters of specific political parties, including the ruling party, could also be seen.
“Why young boys– like Burhan Wani– is taking up arms is a not question that nobody is asking. Rather the State is seeking a solution by killing more and more civilians. It is shameful, barbaric and would never produce a solution,” former Head of the Department, Bangla, Presidency University, Sabyasachi Deb said. He said that the officials of the state should “immediately stop killing the people” and seek a dialogue-driven solution to the problem.
At least 37 people have been killed and 1000 injured, most of them in police firing, in the worst outbreak of violence in six years in Kashmir. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced that Pakistan will observe a ‘black day’ on July 19, in wake of violence in Kashmir.