A section of East Bengal fans on Sunday used the occasion of the Kolkata I-League derby at the Salt Lake Stadium to voice their protest against the Citizen Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens.
Some East Bengal fans displayed a giant tifo (a choreographed display to form a large image or sign) to protest against NRC and CAA. A massive turnout of 63,756 football fans watched the match on Sunday.
The innovative display read in Bengali: “Rakta Diye Kina Mati, Kagaz Diye Noy”. This land was bought with blood – not documents.
Another display showed Batul the Great, a popular superhero Bengali comic strip character created by Narayan Debnath to protest against NRC and CAA.
“Pala, pala, pala NRC asche” (go away the NRC is coming) to which the Bengali superhero comes to the rescue, showing his muscle power.
Another display read: “You Bangal, where are the NRC papers”, as Bantul responds with “go away”.
Traditionally, majority of the fan base of East Bengal comes from the immigrant population from East Pakistan who were forced to leave their home during the Partition of 1947.
Mohun Bagan defeated East Bengal 2-1 in the much-anticipated derby, the penultimate clash between the two sides in the I-League era as the Mariners will be merged with Indian Super League franchise ATK from next season.
The next Kolkata derby of the I-League, the last one between the two sides, will be played in Kolkata on March 15.