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Mohun Bagan fans burn effigy in 'Break the Merger' protest

AN ALLIANCE OF Mohun Bagan fans held a protest in front of the club's main gate on Sunday demanding the end of KGSPL's deal with Mohun Bagan over its football division, aka 'Break The Merger.'

The protest came days after a press conference was held at the Kolkata Press club, announcing the formation of a forum named 'Mohun Bagan Members and Supporters', a united front backed by dozens of Mohun Bagan fan clubs and groups of ultras.

The Mohun Bagan fans gathered under the statue of the Indian football icon and Mohun Bagan legend Gostha Pal, where they raised slogans of 'Break the merger', 'Remove ATK' and sang songs that criticised the KGSPL management's mistreatment of Mohun Bagan's identity.

The fans particularly targeted ATK Mohun Bagan Private Limited shareholder Utsav Parekh whose recent remarks that mischaracterized Mohun Bagan's history, especially in AFC competitions. The comments led to backlash from the fans as well as former Mohun Bagan players and coaches.

A straw effigy fitted with a picture of Utsav Parekh was burned by the Mariners as a show of dissent and protest against KGSPL management.

The protesters also targeted Mohun Bagan officials Srinjoy Bose and Debashish Dutta, who they blame for allowing the deal with KGSPL happen in a way that has allowed them to insult Mohun Bagan's identity and history.

The throng of supporters marched to towards the Mohun Bagan club tent but were stopped by the police. The Mohun Bagan Ground was hosting a Durand Cup match between Hyderabad FC and Assam Rifles behind closed doors, and the tournament organizers Indian Army as well as Kolkata Police did not want the fans to be near the club's gate. So the fans sought permission to hold their protest on the opposite side of the street in front of the main gate which would ensure they would maintain a distance that complied with the COVID-19 safety regulations in place. The police agreed and the fans proceeded with their protest at the designated area.

The fans participating in the event said this was just the first of a series of demonstrations and marches that would be held to highlight their demands, with bigger protests lined up as the pandemic eases.

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