Published: 23rd December 2019
Group of women protesting against CAA/NRC in Kolkata allege they were attacked by BJP goons. Here's what happened
Feminists in Resistance is an autonomous collective, created during the Lok Sabha elections 2019, which consists of people from different aspects of life
Members of a group called Feminists in Resistance in Kolkata were attacked by a violent mob of seven to eight people on Sunday evening, who they alleged were Bharatiya Janata Party workers. The group was peacefully raising slogans and educating the people in their neighbourhood about the Citizenship Amendment Bill and the National Register of Citizens in Baghajatin, which is a locality in South Kolkata. After their gathering had ended and the protestors had reached the I-Block junction nearby, when the miscreants came towards them chanting 'Jai Shri Ram' and 'Bharat Mata ki Jai'. Their faces were covered with hankerchiefs and they thrashed the women protestors with lathis and bamboo sticks. The women have been gravely injured and one of their cameras has been damaged.
The group along with several other groups, students and activists from across the city will be participating in a protest around 6.30 pm on Monday evening at the same spot where the protestors had been attacked on the previous night. "Yesterday, they attacked us for talking to people, for singing, for raising slogans. They manhandled us, verbally abused us for speaking up, for defying their idea of 'women'. They threatened us, lynched us, beat us with sticks for raising questions, for dissenting. Today we will gather at that very spot. We will raise the same slogans. We will sing the same songs. We will be there with our (bruised) bodies and faces and our guitars and posters. Because we will not back down. We will not stay silent. We will not look away. We will not recede our spaces of dissent. We will be in every street, in every locality, in every colony. Hum ayenge aur protest wahin karenge," Jhelum Roy, a member of the group who was present when the attack took place, said.
Miscreants with lathis at the scene of the protest
Utsarjana Mutsuddi, who is a project assistant at Jadavpur University's School of Women's Studies, added, "If citizens and feminists in resistance to the scheme get beaten up by a majoritarian support-backed political party in the centre's seat of power, it is fair to assume that the wheels of Fascism are not just in motion but are already ruining the nation. The indiscriminate violence against the protestors across the nation proves that the government is scared and this is their last card to play. So obviously, if this resistance can be continued against all odds, this reign of terror might actually come to an end but the price that we will have paid will be huge."
Jhelum explained to us what unfolded on Sunday evening after they had finished their peaceful protest and were packing up their belongings. "We were conducting a mobile campaign yesterday — going around in localities, talking to people, educating them about NRC/CAA. When it was over and we were at the I-Block junction packing our things, around 7-8 people with covered faces charged towards us with lathis, while chanting Jai Shri Ram. At first, they threw one of the women on the road and started hitting, then they started beating us one by one as we tried to stop them," she recalled.
She added that they hit one of her fellow protestors and threw him in front of a moving auto. "Then the auto pulled its brakes and passengers came down to help. They verbally abused us, used expletives and called us anti-nationals for raising our voice," she added.
The protestors managed to chase and get hold of one miscreant as they tried to run away after beating them up. "The police was trying to take them to a nearby station, but we insisted that they get the police van at the venue and take the miscreant along. Some of my fellow protestors went along with the police in the car to make sure the miscreant was taken to a station," she said. The attacker was taken into custody at the nearby Jadavpur Police Station.
Soon after this, the group reached the station and by that time they had made phone calls to friends, relatives and other well wishers who were already present near the station. "A lot of people came. Our friends noticed and told us that some suspicious people were roaming nearby asking what has happened. We came out and could identify one of them who was a part of the miscreants' group that attacked us. They tried to escape, however, two more people were arrested by the police," she added.
Jhelum said that the group filed a complaint and an FIR was lodged by the police on Sunday night. Jhelum added that they wanted the miscreants to be charged under Section 307 (defines the offence of attempt to murder) as well, because they hit and threw one of the protestors in front of a moving auto. However, the police refused to take that complain. On Monday morning, Jhelum and her fellow protestors were called to the Alipur Police Court to testify.
Feminists in Resistance is an autonomous collective, created during the Lok Sabha elections 2019, which consists of people from different aspects of life who came together to campaign and raise their voice against the numerous oppressive issues that concern the people of the country. "Our group consists of anyone who identifies as a feminist. We have students, activists, professionals, people from across all boards," added Jhelum, who is currently a PhD student at Jadavpur University.