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American Center shuts down for 2 days

Security has been beefed up around American consulate buildings.

Written by Madhuparna Das | Kolkata | Published: October 4, 2012 1:17:48 am

As several Muslim organisations,all backed by mainstream political parties,prepared to demonstrate on the streets of Kolkata on October 4 and 5,Kolkata’s American Center announced a two-day shutdown on Wednesday,and asked US citizens to stay away from areas where the protests were scheduled.

Security has been beefed up around American consulate buildings.

“The American Center will be closed on October 4-5,2012,due to planned demonstrations in Kolkata,” the US consulate said in an emergency notice. “US citizens should avoid areas of planned demonstrations,such as Esplanade and Shahid Minar… US citizens should remain alert to reports of demonstrations interfering with traffic and are advised to plan accordingly,” it said.

The Forward Bloc,a Left Front constituent that enjoys significant Muslim support,will march to Writers’ Buildings on Thursday with brooms and shoes to protest the state government’s alleged failure to address issues affecting the community.

Also on Thursday,the Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind will rally to demand,among other things,reservations for Muslims and citizenship for Bangladeshis living in India.

Jamiat leader Siddiquallah Chowdhury has been alternating between loyalties to TMC and Congress,and has a reputation for mobilising belligerent supporters.

On Friday,the Minority Youth Federation,backed by the Trinamool Congress,and several other Muslim bodies including the All India Milli Council,will protest against the offensive anti-Islam video made in the US. It had organised a rally on the same issue on September 27. The rallyists intend to submit a memorandum at the US consulate on Friday. Qamruzaman,leader of Minority Youth Federation,said,“We had organised the agitation on September 27 and we have again organised a demonstration on Friday to protest against the documentary and a cartoon of the Prophet.”

Imam Qari Fazlur Rahman said,“We will protest against the film on the Prophet. We want the culprits to be arrested and punished. There is need for an international law to prevent such films and cartoons… Such acts disturb world peace.” Forward Bloc’s Moinuddin Shams said,“We are

organising a law-violation programme to protest against the law and order problems in the city and increasing crimes against women.”

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