(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
May 24, 2009
THE footfalls of anarchy are
heard – loud and clear –
In the name of a victory procession, anarchy has been let loose in a remote village called Solabagha at Uluberia in the district of Howrah, some 60 km from Kolkata during the evening and night of May 17, 2009.
Crossing the Mundeswari river that is not yet in spate, one could easily wade across the thin shallow flow and in the dark of the night, a band of heavily armed goons – maybe around 60 or 70 – initiated the attack with indiscriminate firing and bomb-throwing.
As the villagers, all of whom were khet mazdoors or poor farmers, and they were the people who brought a definite ‘lead’ when the votes were counted, they became the target for this brutal assault. As the attack began, men, women and children started to flee, wailing at the sheer scale of terror.
Soon the crackling sound of licking flames were heard as lighted torches were touched to the bone-dry hutment structures that burst into flames with an ominous debilitating sound, and the villagers were witness to their hearth-and-home, their everything consumed by an angry sweep of fire as the goons danced and whooped in macabre joy. They also made off with several dozen heads of cattle including cows, bullocks, goats and sheep as well as fowls and chicks.
Another group of the attackers had meanwhile wrecked a small rice mill, looted the half-a-dozen-odd small shops that the village possessed, and pulled down the flimsy sheds under which the villagers would gossip away idle summer afternoons over earthenware pots of tea. When we went to the village the acrid smell of burnt paddy, charred clothes, and aluminium pots and pans that had melted hung acrid in the night air. There was an eerie fearful silence, bar the occasional crackling sound of bombs bursting at a distance as the attackers made good their escape across the river.
The local CPI(M) leadership had to make haste to throw up a relief camp of sorts where the people from all the 44 hutments, the small village’s proud possessions, streamed in, shell-shocked. Later as we motored duly out to make for the comfortable life of the metropolis, leaving the villagers behind, the police appeared, as did a company or two of the Rapid Action Force along with what we reckoned were two fire tenders. By then, the village had burnt down completely –– and the silence was the stillness of the graveyard.
Elsewhere, we were told, similar attacks are being mounted in areas of Midnapore east, especially in Khejuri that had voted solidly for the CPI(M) for the Tamluk Lok Sabha seat. Right from the morning of May 17, Trinamul goons led by the local gram panchayat member Ranjit Mondal streamed into the Khejuri block II comprising among other Nichaksaba, Janka, Boga, and Kadirabad villages. After entering the locales, the criminals dug up all the roads leading into and out of the block and even rounded up at gunpoint the few police personnel present and pushed them into a hutment, closing the door on them.
Then the hoodlums started kicking open the doors of the hutments and pucca houses of those known to be workers or sympathisers of the CPI(M) and told them to go away from the locale, or else. A total of 40 families were displaced. The goons came back in the evening and attacked the fresh police personnel who had arrived from the nearby station.
They heckled the police who held their restraint, and taking advantage of the situation, the Trinamuli goons set fire to two police vehicles, beat up three policemen, and prevented fire tenders from coming into the affected zone. By then most parts of the village resembled a war zone with bursting of bombs, setting fire to hutments and pucca buildings, and indiscriminate looting.
The goons were soon reinforced with many more of their kind from nearby Trinamul-dominated Garchakraberia, Sonachura, and Nandigram block I. All of them were armed. The final assault saw the police completely surrounded and the goons running mayhem in the entire Khejuri II block area. The looting continued for some time before the goons finally left. By then a large part of village had been left wrecked.
Elsewhere in the district, at places like Bhagabanpur, the hutment of the zonal secretary of the CPI(M) was wrecked and set fire to, while the zonal secretary, Gour Boll himself was left bleeding from multiple injuries. The hutments of 30-odd CPI(M) workers were destroyed and the comrades left homeless.
When a relief camp for the importunate was set up at Nimkihar nearby, that place too was not spared, reminding us of those terrible days and nights in 2007 when the Nandigram relief camps were treated similarly. Around 250 refugees had to find themselves scattered and cowering before the armed might of the Trinamulis who were led by history-sheeters like Laltu Pradhan and Pintu Pradhan.
At Habibchak in south 24 Parganas, Trinamuli goons generated another fierce armed attack. They started by trampling underfoot a martyrs column that had been erected for some time now and then entered the village proper and started to shoot and lob bombs. Dozens of CPI(M) supporters were forced to leave the village and as they fled, they saw looking back, everything in their meagre household being either looted or put to the torch. The scene was repeated at Andharmanik, Bishnupur, Gholsapathali, Raskhali, Doodhibasali, and Panakura villages.
Hundred-odd Trinamuli goons attacked the office of the state government employees’ coordination committee at the Kakdwip sub-division. Even women employees were not spared. The attack left several dozens wounded and bleeding and the furniture and computers wrecked. There has been an attack by the Trinamulis at different places in Basirhat in north 24 Parganas. The roadside mounted boards of Ganashakti were pulled down and in the mêlée, as some CPI(M) workers tried to dissuade the misdeed, several of them had to suffer from serious injuries from sharp, cutting weapons.
In Nadia, in fact throughout Nadia, cities and villages, Trinamuli goons were ‘in action.’ They wrecked offices of the CITU and of the roadways workers’ union, and only retreated when the workers struck back. There was another murderous attack by the Trinamulis at Hasadanga in the south Krishnagar area. Fishingfolk who swear allegiance traditionally to the CPI(M) and the Left were attacked. Many were left with bleeding injuries and had their houses looted along with their fishing equipment. In Nabadwip, 17 May saw a gang of Trinamulis, motor-borne, moving around the town and calling upon householders as well as shopkeepers to hoist the Trinamuli flag or they would be attacked with bombs and guns.
Up in north-central Bengal, Maldah saw Congress-Trinamuli combination run assaults on CPI(M) workers and supporters, especially at Gajol, Englishbazar, and Madanpur, leaving scores of CPI(M) workers injured, the womenfolk and children threatened, and their households looted. Attacks were also organised at Sujali and Patagura at Islampur, as we file this report.
At Singur, scores of Trinamuli goons streamed into the factory premises beat up the security staff and made off with various pieces of equipment, motor parts, small lathe machines, gearing hobs, electronic goods and this went on for all of four hours, we are told. While going away the Trinamuli goons raised the slogan that wrecking apart the factory premises will now be recognised as the 100 days' guarantee of rural work.
Forward Bloc worker Arabinda
Mondal was the first
victim of the fresh round of post-poll armed assaults in
Even children are not spared in
these attacks. At Bada Kaimari village at
Coochbehar up north in the state, the Trinamuli goons perpetrated a
crime on a small child of five. In the
name of victory festival, they tied a long string of crackers around
At Kaliachak’s Nomopada,
populated by poor people
belonging to the scheduled castes, the Trinamuli hoods shot at the
CPI(M) workers and supporters while indulging in terror tactics in the
victory marches. Hutments were wrecked,
some set on fire, and the people driven away to take shelter in
villages, scattering whole families all over a large area.
At Englishbazar, also in Maldah, the haystack
of a poor CPI(M) worker Sudhakar Das of Shalihat was torched. The wrecking of boarded up Ganashakti
newspaper has continued
throughout the district as elsewhere in
The house in Jadavpur of Chandana Ghosh Dastidar, CPI(M) MLA was attacked. The attempts by Trinamuli goons to break into the house were somehow foiled by the local people. At Kakdwip, staying in south 24 Parganas, Amoles Bhattacharya and Gautam Haldar of the CPI(M) were waylaid and assaulted – both are now recuperating from injuries at the Kakdwip hospital.
At Murarai in Birbhum, eighteen CPI(M) workers received injuries as a result of a sudden armed Trinamuli assault. The vehicle and house of Manik Sheikh, a gram panchayat member from the CPI(M) was completely demolished by attackers waving the Trinamuli colours. This happened nearby at Maharalpur. Away at Nadia district, the Trinamuli assaults and rampaging continued in places. At Ranaghat’s Phulia crossing the Trinamuli hoods assaulted with sharp weapons CPI(M) worker Rabindranath Biswas and even his 80-year old mother was not spared of the attack. Both lie in serious condition at the Ranaghat Alunia hospital.
NORTH 24 PARGANAS
Widespread attacks are organised throughout north 24 Parganas. A doctor at Barasat was attacked and injured for his political affiliation with the CPI(M). Khamarpara local committee leaders of the CPI(M), Maidul, Rahaman, and Hamid were assaulted with sharp weapons and were hospitalised. At Panihati in the same district, four shops were wrecked.
At Sandeshkhali, the residential
house of AIDWA leader
Pritikana Das was attacked and wrecked.
More than 100 CPI(M) workers have had to leave their residences
shelter elsewhere out of the district.
Attacks on Party offices continued in