All you need to know about Matyr’s Day in Kolkata
West Bengal Chief Minister and Chairman of the All-Indian Trinamool Congress Conference, Mamata Banerjee, will give an important speech at the annual Martyrs’ Day (Shahid Divas) rally in Kolkata on Thursday (July 21). I plan to do it. Mamata was able to set a political roadmap for TMC over the next two years leading up to the Lok Sabha elections in 2024. The July 21st rally is very important not only as a political event, especially for TMC and Mamata but also as a way to measure the passion and strength of the party leaders and workers in West Bengal.
Every year, thousands of TMC workers gather in the city to hear about Banerjee and participate in political mega-shows. The city is completely stagnant and all main streets are full of party workers from all over the state. As before 2011, when the Left was in power in the country, the number of attendees at the rally was as high as the annual left front rally at Brigade Parade Ground.
This year’s Shahid Divas rally took place after a two-year hiatus, where the 2020 and 2021 editions could not be organized directly due to the coronavirus pandemic after the TMC came to power for the third time in 2021. It will be the first meeting. I am aiming for a record attendance on Thursday.
What is the Martyrs’ Day rally on July 21st?
The Martyrs’ Day rally on July 21st is TMC’s premier annual political event. Every year on this day, TMC Chairman Mamata Banerjee was killed by police shootings outside the Victoria House in the Esplanade in the heart of Kolkata during a demonstration at the then West Bengal Youth Conference led by Banerjee on July 13.
I will address a rally to commemorate the death of a person. 21st, 1993. This case is considered a turning point in Mamata’s political career. At that time, the former left government was in power in West Bengal.
The left-wing coalition, led by its key partner, CPI (M), won a wide range of missions in the 1991 general election, with the late Jyoti Basu as prime minister.
Parliament, a major opponent of West Bengal, has accused the left of tampering with elections.
Mamata, who joined Lok Sabha from the Kolkata Dakshin seat in 1991, is P.V. Despite being the government minister of Prime Minister Narashimalao, he has been at the forefront of parliamentary turmoil in Bengal. One of Congress’s main demands was to mandate photo ID cards to ensure fair elections.
So what happened on July 21, 1993?
In December 1992, Mamata was harassed by police and after being harassed, was arrested at the Writers Building in the West Bengal State Office. Mamata protested by taking a disabled girl who was allegedly raped by a CPM executive to the writer. The Youth Council planned a march to writers to protest the attack on Banerjee and demand that photo IDs be required to ensure free and impartial elections. Organizers of the march organized it on July 21, 1993.
Thousands of parliamentary officials gathered throughout the city, demanding that the only document needed to vote was a voter ID to put an end to the “scientific manipulation” of elections by the Communist Party. It was planned that workers from various directions and supporters of Congress would gather at the writer to siege the State Department.
Prime Minister Bass was unwilling to forgive the protest and revealed his intentions early on. Section 144 of the CrPC was imposed on the Department of State and its surroundings, as well as Mayo Road and Red Road, the main roads leading to Dalhousie Square, where the writers are located. The procession of parliamentary workers marching on Mayo Road was stopped by police at the intersection of Mayo Road and Red Road.
A brawl broke out, parliamentary officials threw stones at the police, who responded on suspicion of Rathi. However, the police were numerous and fired. The shot killed 13 people. Mamata Banerjee himself protested elsewhere. She was badly beaten and had to be hospitalized for her treatment.
How did July 21st become a TMC event?
After the tragedy, Congress marked July 21 as Martyrs’ Day. However, the event was reluctant as parliamentary leaders were accused of being vulnerable to Bengal’s left-front administration. Mamata was still in the tournament.
She is an ambitious youth leader and she had already shown her potential when she defeated the CPI (M) giant Somnart Chatterjee at the headquarters of Jadakhpur Roxabha in 1984. It was a street fighter like that. The attack on her gained widespread public sympathy for Mamata.
In 1998, Mamata left Parliament and formed the Trinamool Congress. The newly formed party has decided to hold a Martyrs’ Day rally on July 21st each year in the Esplanade area where the incident took place. Even when opposed until 2011, the event did not fail, and for many years the Shahid Divas rally with Mamata as keynote became TMC’s flagship event.
After TMC came to power in 2011, the party turned the rally into a major political event and a manifestation of strength. In 2011, to celebrate TMC’s victory in the general election, the rally was held at the Brigade Parade Ground instead of the usual venue for the Victoria House.
At the 2011 Martyrs’ Day rally, Bengal film and television personalities also took the podium to show their support for Mamata. After becoming prime minister, Mamata began investigating the dismissal of police in 1993.
In the report, the investigative commission stated that police actions were provocative and unconstitutional, and police officers acted to please their political bosses. It was recommended to pay a compensation of 25,000 rupees to each deceased family member.
Thirty years after the incident, Mamata is now a chief minister, but how are you observing what happened today?
The rally is held outside the Victoria House in Esplanade under tight security. A huge temporary stage has been built to accommodate party leaders, celebrities and invitees. Mamata usually gives intense speeches to executives and usually announces the party’s political roadmap for next year. For years, Mamata has used the July 21 platform to share the party’s strategy on state and national politics.
She has repeatedly welcomed opposition leaders to TMC at this event. Numerous film and television personalities have appeared on stage, many of them TMC MLA and MP, where cultural programs are held before leaders address the masses.
The unique event will be attended by workers from areas far from Kolkata. There is Mamata, a mass leader with a strong grassroots connection, who has the opportunity to take the heartbeat of the people themselves and set her agenda accordingly. It is also a measure of the organizational strength of political parties in the state. The size and enthusiasm of turnout are useful indicators, especially before the big election.
edited and proofread by nikita sharma