Thousands of anti-NRC campaigners who started their protest march from Kurseong converged on a huge rally in Kolkata on Monday.

Thousands of anti-NRC campaigners who started their protest march from Kurseong in the hills on November 15 converged on a huge rally in Kolkata on Monday, demanding an end to the NRC-CAB process and immediate restoration of citizenship for those excluded from the Assam NRC.

They have covered 18 districts of West Bengal in the last 24 days, said organiser Ratan Basu Majumder.

The rally at Calcutta’s busy Esplanade area was organised by the Joint Forum against NRC and was addressed by Leftist student leader Kanhaiya Kumar and former IAS officer Kannan Gopinath who had resigned in protest against the abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir.

Prasenjit Bose, the former CPI (M) youth leader began the proceedings by raising the slogan “No NRC, No CAB, No NPR”.

Kanhaiya Kumar and others who addressed the mammoth rally described the march as ” an epic protest against the divisive policies of Modi government’.

They called for an immediate stop to both NRC and CAB.

“These are moves for diverting attention from the huge economic failures of the Modi government , but playing up the religious divide is dangerous for national unity and cannot be allowed ,” says Kumar.

“NRC-CAB will end in a bigger disaster than demonerisation,” he added.

Kannan described the NRC-CAB moves as “blatantly unconstitutional” and “aimed at the poor”.

The Joint Forum against NRC demanded

* Immediate restoration of those excluded from the Assam NRC

*Compensation for families those who died in detention camps in Assam or committed suicide after NRC exclusion

* Immediate end to plans for extending NRC to rest of country including West Bengal

* Immediate withdrawal of the CAB in parliament

* Not use National Population Register (NPR) exercise as prelude to NRC

The speakers and organisers said the Modi-Amit Shah duo will have to take “full responsibility for any adverse consequences that NRC-CAB process may create.”

“The Indian people will never forgive these two for all the division, damage and disruption these fake patriots are creating “said Kanhaiya Kumar, loudly applauded by the huge rally.

The famous Calcutta Choir and cultural groups from Bihar and tribal dominated Junglemahal in southern Bengal enlivened the rally with impressive performances.

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