Kolkata Criticises UP Violence By Showcasing Plight Of Farmers At Puja Pandals

A local club in north Kolkata is celebrating the Durga Puja by honouring the struggle of farmers protesting against the farm laws for nearly a year. Massive art installations at the pandal portray the plight of the farmers while sharply criticising the violence in UP’s Lakhimpur Kheri that left eight dead, including four farmers, reported a leading news daily.

A giant replica of a tractor used by farmers to till the land has been made at the entrance of the Dumdum Park Bharat Chakra pandal. A graffiti of a car and a farmer lying on its path adorn the sidewalk with a line in Bengali that reads “Motorgari uray dhuloniche pore chashigulo (While cars speed away raising a storm of dust, farmers come under their wheels)”.

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According to reports, hundreds of sandals on the ground symbolise the scenes from an agitation where protesters lose their shoes in stampedes due to police action. The main pandal has been decorated with paddy hanging from the roof.

The art has been conceptualised by Artist Anirban Das.

Anirban told news agency PTI that the names of farmers who died in the course of the agitation have been written in chits of paper on the giant tractor which also has large wings.

“The wings symbolise their wishes of being free from the bondage,” he said.

Another poster at the pandal in English reads, “We are farmers, not terrorists. Farmers are food soldiers.”

Puja Committee Secretary Pratik Choudhury said, “From the days of Tebhaga movement in 1946-47 to the recent agitation against the three pro-corporate farm bills, we have sought to narrate the story of the farmers who provide the food to us.”

Choudhury further added, “The recent incident in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri where four farmers were knocked down by a vehicle and killed during a protest happened when our pandal was almost ready. But, we incorporated it.”

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