Kolkata, June 21: Welcoming the huge rally brought out on the streets of Kolkata Friday against atrocities on women, veteran film maker Mrinal Sen said the people of West Bengal have given a "fatwa" to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her government to mend their ways
"I bow my head to the huge number of people who came out on the streets. They have stood up against the dirt in the society which seems to have spread everywhere. On top of this, the filthy abuses used by those in power and their misdeeds, it (the huge procession) was needed.
"They have overcome fears. They have made a bold statement that they are not afraid. This is only the beginning. These (protests) will continue. If this forces the ruling party (the Banerjee led Trinamool Congress) to be mindful of their words and deeds, well and good. This is people's fatwa.
"If the government does not accept this, that will be bad," said the nonagenarian Sen, the last surviving genius of one of the most productive period in Indian films that also saw the flourishing of two other celluloid greats Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak.
Lashing out at Banerjee, who alleged that the Communist Party of India-Marxist, Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and a media group have come together to murder her, Sen said: "She is talking rubbish. It is not the voice of a normal individual".
Thespian Soumitra Chatterjee, another convenor of the rally, said the Kamduni incident was not an isolated one. "The various atrocities perpetrated on the people recently have reached all levels of society. And now everybody is standing up against this".
The rally, that saw poets, painters, authors, film and theatre personalities, singers, and social activists walk alongside thousands of common people decrying the incidents of sexual violence and the "insensitive" reactions of the Banerjee regime, was triggered by the gangrape-murder of a college girl in Kamduni village of North 24 Parganas district June 7.
Banerjee visited the village Monday, but ended up shouting at women protesting against the incident and seeking to talk to her. An enraged Banerjee screamed "shut up" at the women and called them Maoists and CPI-M activists, drawing flak from the civil society, media and the opposition.
Later, she came down heavily on the opposition and a section of the media, alleging they had hatched a conspiracy to kill her at Kamduni.