(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
June 08 , 2008
A DISTRICT-LEVEL CHIEF MINISTER FOR BENGAL !
NO, it is not a bad political joke, and yes, it is about Mamata Banerjee. Did somebody speak of 'contradictions?'
What happened, then at Nandigram, on an overcrowded dais, on a hot afternoon recently, before a thin spread of disgruntled Trinamulis all looking for the 'great leader' to yell something carrying a bit of sense in it?
What happened, indeed! Too many things happened, if we are asked to describe the ominously preposterous train of events (and this is a mild way of transcribing the road show) that took place.
First, there were these three rickety daises - one was for the 'martyrs' families but filled up by non-descript criminals of various shades, and yes, the 'Maoists' were present under the guise of some foreign-funded NGOs.
The second one was set aside for families of those on the run from 'CPM' terror - another batch of tough-acting, hard-faced men trooped up and plonked themselves down on the plastic chairs.
The third one, plumb in the middle was the most crowded. Mamata Banerjee was holding forth from here. What did she say other then clapping approvingly and nodding sagely to a raucous cry, that Bengal now has a new chief minister - for Midnapore east and south 24 Parganas - oh, the utter madness of it or was it megalomania running at its worst?
Semantics apart, what she spluttered out in her inimitable angry fashion was laden with explosive imperatives for the rural masses. A few nuggets may suffice. 'Off with the OC of Nandigram for he has sinned against Trinamulis!' DIG police, south Bengal, go away thou, for thou is another committer of the foul and the bad against, she might well have added, the foul and the bad of the Trinamul Congress. She did not exactly say this, but we are afraid that her choice of expletives reserved for the DIG was never quite fit as the printed word.
The CRPF - you will stay for you have done things good and great. The Trinamulis on the record section of the police files for having committed heinous crimes like murder (u/s 302 of the IPC) and armed assault with intention of killing (u/s 307 of the IPC) and the like, will roam free. On the other hand, the entirety of the hierarchy of the CPM leadership from the district secretary to the branch level workers shall be put behind bars, and police cases must be filed against them forthwith under non-bailable sections - or else….
The 'district-level chief minister' then made a grand announcement. All decisions for all projects of all the rural areas of Midnapore east must be taken at her residence - and there the loyal and the fawning must gather for leadership and guidance. Enough said….
We felt overwhelming pity only for Radha Rani Adi - the poor woman who had been forcefully shoved forward not once but thrice in the recent past in a state of déshabille by the Trinamuli chieftains as a 'rape victim,' and then roughly abandoned each time when proved otherwise at the hospital following forensic examinations. She stood near the meeting ground partially hidden behind a thick pipal tree trunk. She dared not risk another bout of shoving. Nobody paid any attention to her.
She appeared famished - and so she should be. We learnt that she had not had anything to eat for two full days as the Trinamul goons had kicked to dust her mud-and-cinder stove, and had fed the cooked items to the dogs that roam the area, and had robbed her of her stock of a tiny pile of vegetables that she had earlier purchased from the Nandigram market.
As the supreme leader raved and ranted at the microphone, prancing about on the dais, Radha Rani, a thin, undernourished woman with a well-worn sari on, shed a quiet tear, and shuffled away after telling us, in a choked voice 'babu, we do not count any longer as even human beings, do we! Did you not see it with your own eyes? After all, we have won the polls, have we not?'
The sudden darkening horizon, as thick banks of clouds gathered on the skyline, shutting out the setting sun, matched the simple rural woman's mood, and was also portentous of the shape of things to come for the people of Nandigram, men, women, children: political affiliation is immaterial, as the creatures of the night, the committers of some of the worst crimes against humanity for over a year, and who brook no political imperatives, now brazenly dominate the daylight hours as well.