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Massive security arrangements in Kolkata for Mamata’s raly

"We are dedicating this rally to the martyrs and against the authoritarian rule of the Centre," Banerjee said after visiting the venue to see for herself the preparations.

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Kolkata: With over 4,500 police personnel on duty, security was tightened across Kolkata for West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress’s Martyrs’ Day rally on Thursday.

TMC observes Martyrs’ Day on July 21 every year to commemorate the killing of 13 people in police firing on a Youth Congress rally against the then Left Front government in 1993 when Banerjee was the YC state president.

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A total of 4,500 police personnel were deployed across the city, of whom 3,500 stood guard at the venue in Dharamtala – the heart of Kolkata.

Additional CCTVs were installed and the security personnel kept a tab on the movement of rally attendees towards the venue.

Police in plainclothes were posted at different entry points to the city, he said.

Twelve heavy radio flying squads and an adequate number of PCR vans were patrolling the city streets from Wednesday night.

With many of the participants at the rally reaching Kolkata by crossing the River Hooghly, special rescue boats and divers were pressed into service for their safety, he added.

Giant screens were installed at important points in the city and districts of the state to broadcast Trinamool’s rally live to the people on the streets, grass root workers, and supporters.

A day before the rally, the Chief Minister said that the Martyrs’ Day rally will be against the Centre’s “authoritarian rule”. “We are dedicating this rally to the martyrs and against the authoritarian rule of the Centre,” Banerjee said after visiting the venue to see for herself the preparations.

TMC general secretary Abhishek Banerjee claimed that around 20 lakh people would attend the program.

Like every time, the family of those killed in the police firing on this day 29 years back were attending the rally.

Lending color to the event, Shrilal Sahani reached the Dharmatala rally on a bicycle playing drums and cymbals. He came alone from Santiniketan, over 200 km from Kolkata, to listed to his didi (elder sister, as Mamata Banerjee, is affectionately called) address the rally.

Thousands of youth grassroots activists worked as volunteers in the rally at Dharmatala square. Wearing black t-shirts, with the tricolor on the collar and pocket, the volunteers helped the rally attendees and managed the crowd working hand in hand with the police.

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