TMC backs Muslim bodies’ stir against offensive video, FDI
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Thousands of protesters led by 12 Muslim organisations, most of which are known to be backed by the ruling Trinamool Congress including the Minority Youth Federation and Furfura Sharif Seva Samiti, staged a demonstration against the anti-Islam film, Innocence of Muslims, outside the American Center here today.
Interestingly, besides protesting against the film, the crowd also shouted slogans against the UPA government's decision to allow FDI in retail, claiming that this move would benefit the United States.
The protest began with a meeting in central Kolkata, from where the crowd of about 25,000 people marched to the American Center. Many TMC leaders were present at both the meeting and the demonstration which lasted for over three hours. The mob pelted stones at the American Center building and later burned an effigy of US President Barack Obama.
"More than half the protesters were from the TMC. Several party leaders were present at the meeting. We were told that Mukul Roy called senior Muslim leaders present at the gathering and extended his support also," said Idrish Ali, a TMC minority leader who also attended the protest. Siyamat Ali of the Trinamool Youth Congress was among those who led the march. "I was there at the rally," he confirmed.
"We mobilised the demonstration as we condemn the policies of the US government towards the Muslim community. We also condemn the anti-Muslim film made by the American documentary filmmaker. We were fully supported by Mamata Banerjee. Our community supported her during the elections and we expected her support for the demonstration. She supported us," said Syed Md Noorur Rahman Barkati, Shahi Imam of Tipu Sultan Masjid.
The protest was spearheaded by Mohd Qamruzzaman of the Minority Youth Federation. Officials said the organisations had received permission from the police for their protest.
Apprehending that the protest may turn violent, the US consulate had earlier a message stating that "due to planned demonstrations in Kolkata on September 27, the American Center including the library and USIEF will close at 12 noon."
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