People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 07

February 17, 2008


Huge Student-Youth Rally Defies Coochbehar Bandh

B Prasant

THE very day a bandh had been called by the Forward Bloc over the Dinhata incident in Coochbehar, witnessed a major rally of the students and youth at Tufanganj, a bare few kilometres from Dinhata town. The young rallyists expressed through rousing slogans the need for a coordinated and pro-people growth of Bengal and a continuous extension of the democratic rights in the state.


The rally, a sea of Red Flags, with more than 30,000 of students and youth in attendance, conveyed the clear message to all concerned that Bengal needed development, democracy, and amity under the pro-people governance of the Left Front, rather than disorder, anarchy and mayhem under the guise of a bandh call. For, in such an eventuality, the reactionary right would join hands with the opportunistic elements on the Left, shored up by the forces that believe in violence as a means of getting rid of the popular LF government.

Addressing the rally, CPI(M) Central Committee member Nirupam Sen said that it had always been the young men and women who had provided the motivation in the pro-people drive for development where development itself was used as a weapon of class struggle. Following in the footsteps of the two United Front governments of the late 1960s, the Left Front government has always been a firm believer in the dictum that there could not be any development where the poor and the downtrodden did not occupy the centre stage of the cadence of priorities.

The struggle of the CPI(M) and the Left Front, as of the Left Front government, was targeted towards peace, amity, democracy — through movements and struggles. The Left Front and the Left Front government are themselves the product of the struggles launched by the mass of the people under the leadership of the Communist Party on India (Marxist) and the Left. The speaker reminded the rallyists that it is the communists who had fought against religious fundamentalism, separatism and terrorism of every kind.


When communists workers were butchered during the struggle against the forces of reaction and sectarianism in the northern and western Bengal, the human rights activists, the plethora of 'civil society' centred non-government organisations (NGOs), the self-styled littérateurs and their sob-sisters and sob-brothers in the media had little concern for shedding what must have been their precious and market-friendly tears.

Nirupam Sen pointed out that a series of vile conspiracies were being constantly hatched to create division through disorder and anarchy in Bengal. What the opponents of the CPI(M) and the Bengal LF government would not like to know is that development affects all, as does the lack of it. "Often, we are the targets of attack simply owing to the fact that we stand for the unity and integrity of Bengal, something the opposition would have none of, for the fulfilment of their own reactionary agenda."

Bengal is now poised at an important crossroads in the course of a long and arduous struggle. Now, the people would certainly find it pure gall and wormwood to listen to the perpetual and obdurate 'nay' from the opposition to whatever the Left Front would do for the development of Bengal. There was a time when the opposition, suitably backed up by the corporate media, would roundly accuse the communists of concentrating on agriculture, ignoring industrialisation and allowing Bengal to 'languish' in terms of urbanisation as well as modernisation, not keeping up with the times, so to speak. These self-same and shameless elements have now turned round to accusing the CPI(M) and the LF government of giving agriculture go by and forcing industrialisation on Bengal.


Another ploy of the opposition and the media was to repeat the say-so of the ruling classes who would utter repeatedly that a 'militant' trade union movement was keeping off industrial investments from Bengal --- a lie if ever there was one. The lie was used as a subterfuge to hide, albeit ineffectually, the shameful fact that it was precisely the successive union government that would pressurise the potential entrepreneurs not to invest in 'communist-run Bengal.'

At a time when industrial investment was forthcoming, the opposition would unite to create disorder and anarchy to try put a blockade on the road to development, pro-people and pro-poor development, reminded Nirupam Sen. Land was being used as a crucible of blackmailing the Left front government everywhere. When the proposal for the setting up a four-lane national highway from Kolkata to Coochbehar was announced, the opposition started to shout against 'take-over of land,' in a situation where the peasants themselves were willing to be compensated and part with land for the greater good in which they, too, would participate.

Sen pointed to the crooked, anti-people and contrarian but not mindless illogic of the opposition when he pointed out that the opposition was all ready to be up-and-going against acquisition of land for the Teesta barrage project, a project that would principally bring faster development to the realm of agriculture benefiting kisans and in their hundreds of thousands.

Sen had a quiet word for the political parties of the right and left, mainstream or on the lunatic fringe, that it was they who had kept solicitously mum and had even acquiesced when in the 1960s and 1070s the various tiers of the Bengal landlords and their subalterns would regularly and forcibly take way the paddy and wheat that the Bengal kisan would grow and encroach on bighas after bighas of kisan land with impunity, and with the judicious help of pehelwans wielding lathis and guns.


Enumerating how the world of economy and development was undergoing change, Sen said that with advancement of science, technology, and education, the realm of the necessity, too, had changed fundamentally. The students of Bengal do look forward to working in industries and technology-driven institutes to earn their daily bread. The agricultural base has to be strengthened and it would have to be a government without brains (or an opposition blind with anti-communist hatred) that would ignore agricultural development to its peril. Yet, the realm of industrial development was not to be forsaken at the fatuous call of a few Luddites and self-confessed communist baiters. The people would not forgive the Communist Party and the Left Front government if there was any deviation from or movements out of step either with the call of the times or with the imperatives of pro-people especially pro-poor developmental priorities.

Also addressing the rally was Chandi Pal, district secretary of the CPI(M), and the student-youth leadership.



THE West Bengal Left Front government has instated a judicial enquiry into the police firing at Dinhata where Forward Bloc supporters ran riot and went on a rampage on the plea of law violation recently. Commenting on the demand of Forward Bloc leadership about withdrawal of criminal cases instituted against their workers who participated in the rampage and/or served to egg on the rioters to go amok, Bengal Left Front chairman and senior CPI(M) leader Biman Basu said that the law was equally applicable to all.

Biman Basu said that he would could call a meeting of the West Bengal Left Front but not before his electioneering trip to the neighbouring state of Tripura, a programme that had been fixed some weeks ago. Biman Basu added to say that he was not in town when the Dinhata incident had taken place, having gone to the districts on pre-scheduled party programmes. He said that he was yet in the midst of collecting detailed information on the situation that led the police to open fire.

The state Forward Bloc leadership has expressed satisfaction at the declaration of a judicial enquiry and stated that they were pleases that the Bengal government had removed two concerned senior officers of the police, a DSP and the IC of Dinhata PS with great alacrity, transferring both officers away from Coochbehar. (INN)