A group of students on Friday afternoon sought contributions from bystanders, commuters and shopkeepers in central Calcutta for riot victims in Delhi.
The students held a cardboard box that had “Help for the riot victims of Delhi” written on it and placards with “Stand with Delhi Riot Victims”, among other slogans, written on them.
They approached people at places such as Moulali and Sealdah station with a plea to donate for the riot victims.
“The students have set their sight on a noble cause. It’s brave of them to move around seeking help for a cause like this. Who does this? Riot should not happen anywhere. I hope a small help from me would bring relief to the Delhi victims,” Diganta Banerjee, who teaches English at St Peter’s High School in Moulali, said after making a donation.
The students, attached to the All India Students’ Association, assembled at a point on SN Banerjee Road before moving around seeking help.
Asma Khatun, a homemaker from Metiabruz who has been part of the women’s protest against the amended citizenship regime at Kidderpore’s Nawab Ali Park, said she was touched by the selfless gesture of these students.
“What happened in Delhi a fortnight ago can happen anywhere. The Centre is conspiring to trigger riots so that they can break the pockets of protest, be it in Delhi or Calcutta. I have seen how people have suffered in Delhi. I salute these students for what they are doing,” said Asma, who was at Moulali to buy some household stuff.
Over 200 women have been holding a vigil since January at Nawab Ali Park to protest the Citizenship Amendment Act, National Register of Citizens and the National Population Register.
While donating Rs 50 to the students, Asma glanced at the posters that had written on them poet and stand-up comedian Varun Grover’s poem Hum kaagaz nahin dikhayenge and Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s Hum Dekhenge.
Raju Shau, who works at a private firm, said: “I cannot do what the students are doing because of my job. These students have skipped classes to stand by the riot victims. It’s a rare gesture, given that these days we hardly care for others,” said Shau.
Md. Shahid, a fruit seller, said those who have lost property in the riot are small-time traders like him and he felt it was the need of the hour to help the affected families stand on their feet.
The students later moved to Sealdah station to carry out their drive.
Anwesha Ray, a student of English honours, at Bethune College, said: “Our representatives will carry the contribution to Delhi.”