Kolkata: While the rest of India celebrated Diwali, members of the Bhim Army in West Bengal marched through the streets of Kolkata to protest against Israel’s ongoing genocide in Palestine. Since October 7, when Hamas attacked Israel, resulting in the death of hundreds of soldiers and the kidnapping of around 200 civilians, Israel has reportedly killed more than 11,000 Palestinians, including approximately 5,000 children.
The protesters voiced their opposition to the alleged brutality by Israel, particularly the impact on children who are bearing the brunt of the bombings. Imtiaz Mollah, a member of the core committee of Bhim Army, addressed the gathering, stating, “This is a crime against humanity. Over 11,000 people, including a significant number of children, have been killed. Israel continues its bombing, and America is assuring them of support.”
Mollah, known for his active role in the CAA-NRC protests in Kolkata, issued a warning: “What Israel is doing could be repeated here in India. If Dalit, minority, and tribal communities unite, our children will not face such atrocities.”
Kanhai Das, President of the Kolkata unit of Bhim Army, claimed, “Today’s genocide could lead to a third world war.” He urged vigilance and continued protests, saying, “If we do not protest, a similar situation could arise in India through the actions of BJP and RSS. Manipur is an example before us.”
Watch and listen to the speakers
A social activist Dr Sarfaraz Ahmed said, “It is not a war or conflict, it is genocide. On one side, there are world powers and on the other, a state which has no army, and no security. One kilogram bomb is enough to kill 10000 people in an area, and only in a month, 6000-kilogram bombs have been bombed by Israel on Palestine. It is more than what America did in Afghanistan in one year.”
“Throughout the world, protests are taking place. Even Jews are protesting against this genocide,” he added.”
He added, “Protests are happening worldwide, including among Jews against this genocide.”
Daniel Fric, a tourist from France participating in the rally, said, “A genocide is happening in Palestine by Israel, with a large number of children being killed. My wife, who joined a pro-Palestine rally in France, informed me that 10,800 people have died, including over 4,000 children.”
Fric argued, “This must stop. There should be a ceasefire.”
The rally started at 4 Number Bridge and concluded at Mullick Bazar crossing. Despite a smaller turnout, the participation of intellectuals made this figure significant, according to Athar Firdausi, a supporter of Bhim Army.