Men Chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ Assault Anti-CAA Protesters in Kolkata
Most of the protesters in the group that was attacked were women, and belong to the group ‘Feminists in Resistance’.
Video producer: Sonal Gupta
Video editor: Purnendu Pritam
Shortly after 10 pm on Sunday, 22 December, a group of seven to eight men with lathis in hand and faces hidden with kerchiefs attacked around a dozen anti-CAA protesters in Kolkata’s Bagha Jatin area. According to the protesters, the assailants were chanting “Jai Shri Ram” and “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” while attacking them.
Most of the protesters in the group that came under attack were women, and belong to the group ‘Feminists in Resistance’.
Darshana, one of the protesters, recounts to The Quint, “They were all shouting ‘Jai Shri Ram’, they all had sticks and were aiming for our heads. There was sexual violence as well – the attackers groped us, pushed us by the breast and hurled sexual expletives at us.”
The other protesters added, “The attackers threatened us saying, 'You can’t protest against NRC.’ They charged at one of us, who was filming all of this, and damaged her camera as well.”
Two of the protesters had to visit a nearby hospital due to the injuries they sustained, with one man having received head injuries.
Meanwhile, two FIRs have been filed by the protesters who were assaulted. Three of the alleged assailants have been taken into custody by the Kolkata Police, and will be produced before a local court on Monday.
‘I Was Pushed Onto Oncoming Traffic, Could Have Died’
One of the protesters, Amrita, was allegedly pushed by the assailants towards oncoming traffic. The others who were present say that on being pushed, Amrita fell on the road and an auto that was approaching managed to pull the brakes just in time to stop a short distance away from her.
Speaking to The Quint outside Jadavpur Police Station, where the FIRs have been lodged, Amrita recounts her harrowing experience: “I was thrown into running traffic. If there was a big car coming instead of an auto, I don’t know if they would have managed to stop the vehicle in time. I don’t know whether I would be standing here now.”
How Protesters Caught One of the Assailants
Though most of the assailants managed to flee the spot after the attack, the protesters managed to hold on to one of them. They brought him to the Jadavpur Police Station and submitted him to the cops, who currently have him in custody.
One of the protesters recounts, “They hit us and were running away, but one slipped and fell. So, we managed to catch him and did not let him escape.”
Later in the night, at least two other alleged assailants were taken into custody by the Kolkata Police.
‘Protest Wahi Karenge’
In a symbolic act of defiance, a protest condemning the attack on Sunday was held in Kolkata on Monday evening – at the same place where the assault occurred.
“We will go back to the same place where we were attacked and protest there. It is very important for us to reclaim that space. It is important to get out of the traumatic memories that we have about that place from today’s experience and instead, fill it with memories of resistance at that same location. Protest wahi karenge.”Jhelum, anti-CAA protester and member of ‘Feminists in Resistance’
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