(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
June 21, 2009
KHEJURI was a strange, eerily silent place when we entered it on June 10, 2009. At the height of the inhuman, unpardonable acts committed on the people at the various blocks of adjoining Nandigram during 2007-2008, Khejuri it had been that had provided courage to the people to fight back in order to survive, and battle for another day, another time.
Now, it is a different tale altogether, a turn for the worse. The sheer cruelty of the events defies even the simplest raison d’ętre. Biman Basu, state secretary, Bengal CPI(M) declared long back in a chat with a cynical corporate media that the killing amongst the poor must stop, and said ‘we had acknowledged the verdict of the people with a deeply humble frame of mind.’
Yet, the killing continues, and the big press along with its electronic counterpart continues to focus attention on what they try so hard to convince the public that it is the Bengal opposition that is at the receiving end, and do not take the word evidence in any circumstances.
In Khejuri at Kalagetchia, a fierce attack had ended just a few hours back. The CPI(M) local and zonal offices, at the neighbouring Baratala, Kunjapur, Kamarda, Hedia, Gholabad, Haludbari, Bir Bandar, Jehanabad, and Tallah had been meticulously looted, ransacked, and then torched. The Party offices in the rural and industrial stretches, especially in south and western Bengal, one must understand, are but humble structures, quite unostentatious, often sharing accommodation -- a couple of small 10’ x 8’ rooms on ground floors of cooperative buildings, as tenants. We saw entire buildings set fire to and the myriad of documents including crucial Party circulars lying around, the licking edge of flames yet evident in the air rendered merciless and acrid with the aftermath of rampant but not mindless violence.
Thousands of villagers and the townsfolk from the adjoining pastoral and suburbia were driven out with nothing on them except the clothing they wore. Children especially were fearfully terrorised until they would collapse from trauma of what they perceived as approaching death. We saw at least 100 hutments, along with dozens upon dozens of small pucca single-storey houses, shops, and martyrs’ columns razed to the ground, petrol had then been sprinkled on, and a lit match thrown in with whoops of perverted joy.
We are met with a lone, loitering, and lathi-wielding Trinamul Congress worker who is dangerously inebriated with something more than a thirsting lust for violence. He informs us, with a casual menace in his voice, ‘dadu, bhalo korey lekho, oder ki haal korchhi aamra [‘write well, granddad, what have we rendered unto them.] We draw away from the smell of criminal barbarity that he reeks of.
We are told later that the residential accommodations of a great many local and zonal-level CPI(M) leaders of the entire Khejuri block had been scoured and looted. Dozens of CPI(M) workers have been kidnapped and included among them are district committee member Javed Mullick and zonal leader Prasanta Maity, as well as CPI(M) office wholetimers Swapan Sheet, and Badal Garudas. As we file this report, looting, arson, and imposition of ‘fines’ for being a CPI(M) worker/supporter go on with the miserable desperation of the people of Khejuri being on the rise, and rise.
The Trinamul Congress activists along with their Pradesh Congress counterparts forcibly prevented a team of Left Front ministers – who had gone on a fact-finding visit to Khejuri on June 9 – to go beyond the Bajkul crossing, a good two kilometres away from Khejuri. The ministers included Partha De (school education), Rekha Goswami (self-employment), Robilal Moitra (law), Chakradhar Meikap (technical education), and Benoy Biswas (refugee rehabilitation.)
In between, as the ministers faced the roadblock for hours and hours together, ten more CPI(M) offices were rendered into piles of rubble and burnt cinders, more than 200 CPI(M) workers beaten up badly enough to be hospitalised, 200 houses were torched, and one thousand more made to leave home-and-hearth at Khejuri.
The district CPI(M) has submitted a memorandum to the Left Front government and they have called for a sealing of the ‘border’ between Nandigram and Khejuri; route march to be organised by the security forces from Hedia to Vidyapith crossing in particular, the storm-centre of the attacks; and appropriate action initiated against the guilty in the instances of murder, assault, arson, and looting.
Meeting the print and the electronic media on June 10 Biman Basu recalls how no less than 43 CPI(M) workers have been martyred at the hands of the Pradesh Congress, the Trinamul Congress, and the self-styled ‘Maoist’ goons. He also notes how during the admission sessions in educational institutions, the student wings of the Bengal opposition have run amok hurting students’ interests and seeking to bring back the anarchy of the 1970s. SFI workers are being subjected to murderous assaults –– even principals, teachers, and education officials are not spared from a series of humiliating actions being launched on them with impunity by the hooligans of the Pradesh Congress and the Trinamul Congress.
Fresh assaults have been launched at Katwa in Burdwan. This morning (June 15) at Dhanayakuri in Katwa, Comrade Falguni Mukhopadhyay, a district committee member of the CPI(M), was returning to his residence when he was accosted by three criminals patronised by the Pradesh Congress. They then pulled Comrade Falguni down from his bicycle, pumped three bullets into head and after making sure that the comrade had breathed his last in the intensity of agony a head wound would cause, they left in a flourish, brandishing sophisticated fire-arms.
In a related incident at Lalgarh, in Midnapore west, fresh waves of assaults are organised by the anti-socials who call themselves ‘Maoists.’ During the day of June 14, a large contingent of armed goons, dressed commando-style, carrying automatic weapons descended on the CPI(M) offices at Dharampur. The villagers led by the CPI(M) fought back with whatever they could lay their hands on. The attackers finally fled the scene dragging away four of their dead.
It is unfortunate that three CPI(M) workers in the van of the brave resistance against a veritable pour of bullets died from injuries before medical help could be mustered. Evening had by then come floating down. We knew all three who were martyred through frequency of our visits to the laterite zone in the winter of 2008-2009. The comrades are, Harinagunj branch secretary Asit Samanta, DYFI leader Prabir Mahato, and CPI(M) worker Nadu Samanta – young comrades all of them, being in their prime of lives at the mid-twenties.
enough, we are just now informed that six CPI(M) workers had been
a wounded state during the intense fight at Dharampur, and they are,
Debabrata Soren, Dhiraj Manna, Sanjay Mahato, Swapan Mahato, and Mohan
Singh. We dread of their fate at the
hands of the killers. Elsewhere, at
Panchla in the
At Binpur near Dharampur, a young girl child died when the dug up roads prevented her desperate parents from taking the ailing child Mamoni Kisku to the nearest medical relief centre. This happened during the evening of June 14. At Khejuri, the same evening a poor daily wage earner in the rice paddies as a khet mazdoor, and a staunch CPI(M) activist, Pabitra Das was brutally beaten to a pulp to his excruciatingly painful demise by elements that are known for their boisterous association with the Trinamul Congress.