A New Protest Rising: #hokaloron
In latest (and mostly not covered by the mainstream media) news, a group of individuals whose names were on the SSC (Staff Selection Commission) exam but haven’t got an appointment letter till date has gone on a fast unto death in front of SSC Bhavan, Karunamoyee, Kolkata demanding their right to employment. This hasn’t been the first time they’ve fasted, the first time lasted for 21 days, and the second time, a staggering 76 days. 3 protesters have given up their lives till date. The protesters have been fasting for a third time for 8 days now. The state and the administration hasn’t spoken anything about this till date. The police has been remarkably callous and cruel to the protesters, disallowing them access to basic amenities, including ORS and sanitary napkins, and has resisted any attempt to aid from “outsiders”. The quote them: “আঙুল দিয়ে বসে থাকো, ন্যাপকিন আবার কিসের ? (stick your fingers in, why use a napkin?)”. They haven’t allowed medical personnel to enter the venue, so vitals of those fasting, like ketone body and blood sugar haven’t been determined. Some of the protesters have fallen so ill they’ve started to urinate blood. All those who are fasting are confined to the front of SSC Bhavan, without any means to shelter themselves from the elements of the weather.
Students from Jadavpur University have joined the protesters in solidarity, they have been able to establish a supply of basic amenities to the protesters, and have been staying with them at the venue. There has been a solidarity fast by students of the University, from 12:00 PM, 1st February to 12:00 P.M, 2nd February, a solidarity march in the Bookfair (Boimela) grounds on 5:00 PM, 2nd February, not far from the venue of protest. There has been a call for a protest gathering at 4:00 PM, 4th February, in front of Sealdah Station. Students from other institutions and conscientious citizens have also been joining in this protest, now referred to as #hokaloron. As more and more people gather to raise their voices against this gross injustice, one can hope the state will have the sense to respond.
Here are pictures from the spot of the fasting, taken by Nabottama Pal.
Watch this space for more updates on this rapidly evolving situation.
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