People's Democracy

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


No. 45

November 16, 2008


Eight Maoists arrested

Attack On Buddhadeb Protested

B Prasant

MARCHES and demonstrations were held all over Bengal to protest strongly the cowardly attack of the Maoists on the Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee�s convoy. Buddhadeb escaped injury by a matter of minutes because the mine blasted off after he had passed over the trip wire.

Buddhadeb had gone to Midnapore west and to the township of Salboni where he laid the foundation stone of a giant steel plant � one of the biggest in Asia. When he was on his way back, the mine blast occurred. Ram Vilas Paswan the union steel minister was the last to leave the place and the escort van in his convoy was partially hit by the blast, injuring six police personnel, and sending into shock a dozed-odd people of the locale because of the loud sound the blast made. It was triggered off by a wire that had been laid for 2.5 kms away from the site.

In the police investigation that followed, three people were arrested. According Bengal home secretary Ashok Mohan Chakraborty all of them belong to Maoist squads and were carrying arms when they were nabbed with help from villagers at Lalgarh, some distance away from Salboni but in the same district. Later five more people were taken into custody and sent to police remand. The district police revealed that the arms found on those arrested included several 9mm six-shot pistols, a number of 6.75mm Bulgarian-made long-barrelled 9-shot pistols, and no less than 430 rounds of cartridges. The police inquiry is going on, the home secretary tells us.

In the meanwhile, a mammoth rally of youth held at Nandigram in Midnapore east on November 8 under the aegis of the state DYFI warned all criminal elements and their patrons in the Bengal opposition to shun the path of violence. The speakers described how all the forces of opposition ranging from the elements of right reaction to splinters of the left sectarians, plus self-styled groups like �civil society,� and countless foreign-funded NGOs patronised by out-of-state people like Medha Patkar and Anuradha Talwarkar had joined in to embarrass the CPI(M) and the Left at Nandigram. Twenty nine CPI(M) workers had been done to death in a year�s time. Four thousand people were made homeless. Countless hutments and pucca buildings razed and/or put to the torch.

The speakers whose ranks included the state DYFI leadership as well CPI(M) leaders called the assemblage, a rally of peace, development, and amity, and called for the struggle for employment to be stepped up through strengthening the agrarian base and going on for pro-people industrialisation.

The ways of the opposition was seen elsewhere at Lalgarh in Midnapore west where the rainbow opposition again joined hands to try to emulate and duplicate in an ominously repetitious manner what had been done at Nandigram. Protesting against the Salboni project, the opposition goons dug up roads, destroyed bridges, sliced up telephone wires, and generally made life unbearable for the villagers around the place.

Schools have been forced to close. Shops are not allowed to ply wares of the locality. CPI(M) workers are regularly threatened. Most of the local Panchayat bodies are under control of the Trinamul Congress. These are their base from which they have launched the most recent attacks on the CPI(M) supporters. The CPI(M) units have taken out marches and have held big rallies to protest the anti-people, anti-poor, and anti-development anarchic moves of the opposition. The state administration is keeping a close watch on the developments.