People's Democracy

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


Vol. XXXIII

No. 4

February 01, 2009

 

SEPARATISTS IN COOCHBEHAR MUST BE ISOLATED FROM THE PEOPLE

B Prasant


IN the late morning of January 20, 2009 the anarchic separatist activists of the so-called ‘greater Coochbehar’ movement blockaded the busy north-south national highway 34. Initially, 40-odd youth loitered in and out of the road space at Raigunj, dislocating traffic as a logjam started to build up.


Then suddenly, catching everybody by surprise, 500-odd armed separatists, equipped with sharp, cutting weapons, and a few country-made firearms came out from the roadsides, sat on the highway and started to attack vehicles as well as passersby including cyclists through heckling, threats and pelting of stones and brickbats. They also created an atmosphere of provocation and the villagers and urban dwellers of the area came out in sheer frustration at the block.


By 12 noon, the civil administration of the subdivision and the police argued with the separatists to withdraw the blockade as tension was on the rise. In response, the divisive elements launched an armed attack on the police and regrettably the latter had to resort to a ‘push back’ through a lathi charge. A few tear gas shells too had to be lobbed. The way was soon cleared.


In a statement, Biman Basu, CPI(M) Bengal state secretary, condemned the separatists’ acts of commission and has said that the separatists’ ranks are filled with the workers of the Trinamul Congress, the BJP, and the Pradesh Congress, the latter always willing to fish in troubled waters. He noted that one Shivaji Sarkar, who leads the Coochbehar separatists, is often seen with leaders of the local units of the Trinamul Congress, the BJP, and the Pradesh Congress.


Under Sarkar’s nefarious leadership, the separatists have been engaged for some time in a covert manner to create spurts of disturbing of the public life in the district. Sarkar’s henchmen-in-chief are Katan Burman, Sashthu Burman, and Bundilal Burman of Bhatol. Biman has appealed to the Left and democratic forces and the mass of the people of Raigunj and north Dinajpore to protest vociferously against the attempts made afresh to create disruption by the forces of division and separatism. The clique that would go to the extent to call for a de novo division of the state must be isolated from the masses, by the masses, said the CPI(M) leader.