(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
March 23, 2008
MAOISTS STRIKE AGAIN AT LALGARH
THE marriage season among the tribal communities is in full swing in the western Bengal districts. It was one such late evening at Lalgarh in West Midnapore district. Tribal songs were being played at full blast over loudspeakers. There was dancing and impromptu songs as well. The ambience was one of boisterous happiness associated with such occasions.
The newly-installed telephone rang insistently at the house of DYFI worker Buddhadeb Pathak. Was it about something urgent? The family especially his mother standing near by could not tell. Buddhadeb took the call, nodded yes to some questions unheard to the mother standing close by. Buddhadeb put on his shirt, said, Ma, I shall return in a while: do not worry.
He would not come back even after an hour had gone by. To the family members Buddhadeb has two elder brothers and father Rampiyarey is in Hyderabad earning a pittance as a chauffeur -- memories of the gruesome killing of comrade Kartick Singh at the hands of the Maoists killer at Lalgarh barely two years back comrade Kartick had also been a close family friend still fresh in their worried-to-death memory -- rushed out.
They did not have to stray far. Barely a kilometre from the house, along a side path and quite near the yard where the marriage ceremony was going on, laid on his back was the stout figure of comrade Buddhadeb in a spreading pool of blood. He had been shot with automatic weapons seven times each bullet having found the target on his chest and the head, and inside of the mouth, and the shots have been loosed off from a close, even point blank range.
The loud ear-splitting music and the noise of festivities had prevented the muffled sounds for, as gun powder marks on the body showed, barrels were pressed on the body and inside the mouth before the triggers were pulled. Before shooting him, comrade Buddhadeb had been hit on the back of his head with something heavy. The question before the bereaved family is who it had been that had made the call luring comrade Buddhadeb away.
The unknown caller must have known that whatever the hours, comrade Buddhadeb would rush out responding to any call for help or assistance, even concerning trivial matters like family squabbles, or an episode involving inebriated behaviour during the festive season. This time it was a fatuous and fatal one-way journey for the young comrade whose death the entire village now mourns. Biman Basu, state secretary of the Bengal CPI(M) has condemned the killing and has called for vigilance to be maintained by CPI(M) workers so that such murderous attacks dare not take place as the run up to the rural polls begins.