People's Democracy

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


No. 25

June 21, 2009


On Political Violence Against Left In West Bengal


Leading intellectuals, writers, academics, artists and others issued the following joint statement from New Delhi, on June 17.

SINCE the results of the Lok Sabha elections have been announced, West Bengal has been witnessing a spate of organised attacks against activists and supporters of the Left, particularly the CPI(M). In Khejuri (East Midnapore) and Lalgarh (West Midnapore), Left activists have been physically attacked and assassinated, party offices burnt down and Left supporters forcibly driven out of the villages, by organised and armed gangs. Targeted assassinations of Left leaders have also taken place in the districts of Bardhaman, Birbhum, Purulia and Howrah. These forces appear to have interpreted the election results as a license to unleash terror against the Left activists working at the grassroots level. The open or tacit support accorded to Maoist sponsored violence by some political parties suggests a concerted attempt to create anarchy and dismiss the democratically elected state government. It is disturbing to note that this attempt to destabilise the state government is occurring at a time when lakhs of people devastated by Cyclone Aila are in desperate need of relief and rehabilitation, and exposes the insensitivity of these anti-Left forces to the plight of poor people.

We, the undersigned, call upon the democratic minded people in West Bengal and across the country to condemn and expose these forces which, are threatening the very edifice of democratic politics in West Bengal. We also appeal to the state government to take stern steps, both political and administrative, to protect the lives of citizens. We urge the central government to provide full and effective support to the state government in tackling the situation.

Signatories to the statement included Irfan Habib (AMU, Aligarh), Prabhat Patnaik (Kerala Planning Board, Trivandrum), Aijaz Ahmad (literary theorist, New Delhi), Utsa Patnaik (JNU, New Delhi), C P Chandrasekhar (JNU, New Delhi), Jayati Ghosh (JNU, New Delhi), D K Bose (ISI, Kolkata), Ratan Khasnabis (Calcutta University, Kolkata), Nripen Bandhopadhyay (West Bengal Planning Board, Kolkata), Shamshad Hussain (painter, New Delhi), Badri Raina (Delhi University, New Delhi), Mohan Rao (JNU, New Delhi), Prabir Purkayastha (Delhi Science Forum, New Delhi), Rajendra Prasad (SAHMAT, New Delhi), V K Ramachandran (ISI, Kolkata), Githa Hariharan (novelist, New Delhi), Madhura Swaminathan (ISI, Kolkata), Venkatesh Athreya, MSSRF, Chennai), Seema Mustafa (Centre for Policy Analysis, New Delhi), M K Raina (theatre artist, New Delhi), N K Sharma (Act One, New Delhi), Indira Chandrasekhar (Tulika Books, New Delhi), T Jayaraman (TISS, Mumbai), D Raghunandan (Delhi Science Forum, New Delhi), Vijay Prashad (Trinity College, Hartford, USA), Ayesha Kidwai (JNU, New Delhi), Vikas Rawal (JNU, New Delhi), Ananya Mukherjee Reed (York University, Canada), Sudhanva Deshpande (Jan Natya Manch, Delhi), Surajit Mazumdar (ISID, New Delhi), Mritiunjoy Mohanty (IIM, Kolkata), Atulan Guha (ISID, New Delhi), Parthapratim Pal (IIM, Kolkata), Satyaki Roy (ISID, New Delhi), Chirashree Das Gupta (ADRI, Patna), R Ramakumar (TISS, Mumbai), Shamik Chakraborty (IOAP, Berlin, Germany), Ginu Z Oomen (ICWA, New Delhi), Jyotirmoy Bhattacharya (IIM, Kozhikode), Arindam Banerjee (CDS, Trivandrum), and Srinivasan Ramani (EPW, Mumbai).