People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
December 30, 2007
Villagers Narrate CRPF Atrocities
Before Women’s Commission
40-year old Fatima Biwi is a deaf-mute. She lives at Satengabari. For the past eleven months, her address was the grossly overcrowded and severely cramped quarters of the Sher Khan Chak relief camp. Earlier to that, she had been first tortured physically and then forced to leave her hutment and her very meagre patch of crops, mostly paddy with a small amount of seasonal vegetables on the side - potatoes, cauliflowers, spinaches - that she would grow. Everything was put to the torch -- systematically and with plenty of petrol, and lots of merry-making. Later the goons had looted her meagre belongings, of course – that was the expected thing for the ruffians to do.
The culprits were all of them members of the Trinamul Congress. When the marauders raided her locale, they were accompanied by armed gangs of Maoists. She whimpered and left. Then, after eleven long months, she came back – a tiny wrinkle of smile lighting up her thin face, during the later weeks of November. Five days into her return, and before the poor woman could actually settle down - she hunts and scrounges for food, and her belongings now comprise wholly of one set of well-worn-to-shredding clothes and one much battered and non-descript aluminium pot – her bare, skeleton of a place was raided again. After all, she is a staunch supporter of the CPI(M), and can hardly be left even at her ill-kempt ease.
The leading raiders were the same Sheikh Raushan and Sheikh Quazehar who had led the Trinamul Congress gang earlier into her area. Fatima Biwi was again tortured. There were a couple of differences this time. First, the raiders had nothing to loot or set fire to. Second, instead of the Maoists, there was a contingent of the CRPF ‘standing by.’ The abused and shell-shocked woman took more than half-an-hour to ‘narrate’ the events of the past and of recent origin - through frantic signs and desperately heart-rending sounds that we found simply unbearable to stand. The decent village woman repeatedly broke down when she tried to communicate the shamelessness of the attackers.
The women’s commission members spoke to other women of different areas. They heard a sobbing Moyna Mondal of Dihi Kamalpur tell about the criminal way she was beaten up and tortured by the sepoys of the CRPF when they found that her husband Dilip had fled to the forests and groves out of fear of arrest and worse. Protests by the local women, not all of them workers or supporters of the CPI(M), saw 18 of them – including the elderly -- suffer from multiple bruises all over from severe beatings with thick wooden batons.
At Takapura, the wife and the young daughter-in-law of Narayan Dinda, a CPI(M) worker, were tortured in such an unabashed manner and for several hours of the night that the two women were not willing to tell about the dark deeds done to them even to their neighbours and relatives. The culprits were all notorious history-sheeter Trinamulis, and they left saying that with the CRPF stationed in the region, no one can prevent them from establishing their kind of sway once again in the locality. The Dindas visibly trembled as they spoke to the women’s commission.
Later, the commission called upon the superintendent of police of Midnapore east and asked him to be on the alert against such attacks. The commission would submit its report to the Bengal government on their return to the metropolis.