(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
April 26, 2009
A MASSIVE rally was organised at the call of the CPI(M) right in the troubled heart of Lalgarh and more than twenty thousand people were in courageous attendance. The ‘Maoist’ den is but a few kilometres across the border into Jharkhand. More than 50 per cent of the rallyists were women, and most came with their children tagging cheerfully along.
The rally, militant in nature, was filled with fluttering Red flags of various sizes. The sound of kettle drums and the shouting of slogans added to the militancy of the assemblage. The entire jangal mahal was made aware of the rally as the loudspeakers carried the voices of the CPI(M) leaders who fearlessly addressed the rally – many have threats against them from the ‘Maoist’-Trinamuli-Jharkhandi criminals, who are deep into every corner of this part of Midnapore west.
Speakers at the rally included Dipak Sarkar who heads the Midnapore west unit of the CPI(M) as the secretary, and CPI(M) leaders Satyen Maity and Anuj Pandey (who presided). It is significant that the CPI(M) could appear in strength in both the hill areas of Darjeeling and the laterite zone of the extreme west of Midnapore on the same day.
The aftermath of the Lalgarh rally was not without unpleasantness borne of criminal acts. At Salboni within a stone’s throw distance of Lalgarh, the ‘Maoists’ struck with a murderous intent. The place was the tiny hamlet of Nadadia and it falls within the Debgram gram panchayat. Two dozen heavily-armed men, faces covered, attacked the village and sought out CPI(M) workers’ hutments. The raiders then proceeded to beat to a pulp with gun-butts three CPI(M) workers: they were Comrades Shakti Sen, Hambir Mandi, and Ranjit Singh, poor kisans all. Comrades Hambir and Shakti died on the spot, and the ‘Maoists’ made off with their bodies. Ranjit was rescued and he has been admitted to a local hospital in extreme critical conditions with gashing wounds on his head.
The ‘Maoists’ also took forcibly away two licensed single-barrelled guns of Mihir Sen and Deben Hembram. In protest against the ‘Maoist’ depredations, rallies are being held all over Midnapore on April 22 at the time of writing this report. The bodies are yet to be recovered.
The bourgeois media has been in vaunted claim for weeks together now that there has been a siege of the entire Lalgarh-Sijua area in the western part of Midnapore and that neither the CPI(M) nor the state administration are able to approach the area under ‘siege.’ Well, we have news for them.
A visit to the Arma village cluster would change their perception for good. The village cluster inhabited by the indigenous people or the adivasis have chosen to counter the so-called ‘siege’ with one of their own. How so, one might well ask. The answer has to be seen, perceived, and the belief system allowed taking over.
When the joint ‘Maoist’-Trinamuli gangsters approached the villages with a demand for contributions in ‘men and money,’ or face the worst, the villagers came out as one, staves at the ready to face the glisten of the gun barrels. They quietly but firmly told off the raiders that they better start going back empty handed or they would have to face the worse. Do you or do you not see that we outnumber you by 100 to one, was the cry that went up from the villages. The ‘braves’ of the Left sectarian brand had a word with their reactionary hirelings – the whole ensemble then fled, never to return again.
The entire cluster had not come up with any contribution from their solid ranks for these heinous murders. The women and children now recognise who the enemy is, and who is their friend. The unseen minder of the ‘Maoists’ who provide training in sophisticated guerrilla warfare in the Dalilpur jangal mahals have gone away time and again empty handed — they were not able to recruit a single ‘cadre’ from the Aram village. At the last count when we paid a visit to the zone at night, we were met with comrades of the different local committees that now function both overtly and occasionally covertly in 50 of the 92 gram panchayats that these villages cover.
On the afternoon of April 19, almost after sundown, the ‘Maoists,’ we saw, made another attempt at encroachment of the ‘rebel’ villages. They were politely but firmly refused entry. After what had happened at Lalgarh barely ten days back (reported in these columns earlier), the incursors would not go in for any confrontation, armed or otherwise. The left sectarians we saw strew around leaflets that spoke of ‘reprisals,’ but would the villagers care, no, they would not. The kisans have tasted triumph and they were not going to give up any more before pointed guns and SLRs.
Elsewhere, in a ‘secret’ meeting where only members of the corporate media were allowed, Chhatradhar Mahato, the non-adivasi leader of the adivasi belt, and whose brother Sasadhar is a ‘Maoist’ ‘area commander,’ it was resolved that the police superintendent of the district must come to Lalgarh and apologise to the ‘Maoists’ for his alleged ‘misdeeds,’ (i.e., taking into custody of criminals and history sheeters).
Secondly all the ‘demands,’ that the ‘Maoists’ would place before the state administration, after the apology-episode, must then be adhered to by the officialdom.
Third, all this must be reported by the state government’s officials before the Election Commission (EC).
Fourth, the chief electoral officer of Bengal must sit down, alone, with the ‘Maoists’ to ‘work out the details of what would be the bandobast on the poll day of April 30.
Fifth, until these are done to the last details, police would not be allowed entry and / or posting at Lalgarh-Sijua.
Sixth, even if the demands are acceded to in full by the state administration, selected companies of the CRPF would be allowed entry into the area on election day only and that, too, for 12 hours, and ‘not a minute more,’ including the time taken to strike camp.
Seventh, at the last resort, no police either state or central would be allowed entry and it would be the members of the so-called ‘civil society [those who had led the movement against the CPI (M) post- Nandigram and at Singur, towing the Trinamuli line] would be in ‘sole charge’ of the polling.
These impossible demands have been raised after the resistance under the leadership of the local committees of the CPI (M) in the villages of the area has started to solidify and fear no longer works. The day we arrived at the disturbed zone where many-a CPI (M) comrade have had to sacrifice their all, and their lives, and the safety of their families, there was huge procession of villagers that started at Nasipur in Lalgarh and ended at the small market place called the Sijua bazaar.
Kisans there told us that the meeting and the talk of negotiation were all bogus, for the ‘Maoists’ have had instructions from above to see that the polling was not held at all. They are afraid, afraid to be ground down during the polling. Why are they afraid if, as they and their backers in the media claim that the people are with them? This is the refrain that echoes in the hills and forests, as the ‘Maoists’ ponder and cower.