Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee participated in procession
Without any political banners or flags, a candlelight march here on Monday in the memory of the victims of last week's devastating fire at AMRI Hospitals, Dhakuria, may have started off with the right intentions, but jostling and shouting during the course of the procession marred the proceedings.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had invited the people of the city to walk in the procession and they came in large numbers in response to her call. But more than once in course of the march from the Birla Planetarium to the statue of Mahatma Gandhi located in the heart of the city, the entire procession came to an abrupt halt.
In the midst of the jostling and shouting and prevailing disorder, the proceedings lost the sense of solemnity that had been intended.
Earlier in the day, supporters of the trade unions, peasant organisations, students unions, youth and women's organisations affiliated to the Left Front had organised a memorial service to express their condolences with the kin of those who were killed in the disaster.
At the procession that had been called by Ms. Banerjee after dusk, several senior leaders of the Trinamool Congress and Congress and eminent personalities from the city joined commoners as they proceeded along the city streets. They carried a candle and sticks of tube-roses in their hands and banners and pinned posters on themselves with the words, “we are ashamed, we are deeply hurt.”
However, comments like “let us walk in an organised row, so that it looks better” could be heard frequently.
Ms. Banerjee's decision not to lead the procession from the front, but to walk with her supporters led to major scuffle as photojournalists rushed in to take pictures interrupting the march. Anticipation among the crowds to catch a glimpse of Ms. Banerjee, also led to several disruptions.
There was an all-faith prayer organised near the statue of Mahatma Gandhi, where a memorial had been constructed. The mourners stepped up to the memorial and offered flowers and Ms. Banerjee lit a candle in memory of those who have died.