People's Democracy

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


Vol. XXXIII

No. 30

July 26, 200

   WEST BENGAL

                        Pradesh Congress Indulges In

                        Vandalism And Disorder

                        B Prasant

 

FOR two successive days, on July 16 and 17, 2009, the Pradesh Congress indulged in wanton vandalism and disorder targeting the people of Bengal. It claimed ‘spontaneous’ success, over and over again. 

 

Biman Basu, CPI(M) state secretary and Left Front chairman has roundly condemned the disorder, chaos, violence and the suffering caused to the people.

 

Below we list the misdeeds on these two days (the latter was the ‘official’ bandh day) that were borne out of this spontaneity -- to the background noise of bombs bursting, glass panes smashed up, tyres deflated, and above all the deadly crackle of fire as arsonists went to work hard, having to toil that bit harder to ‘make up’ to the level of Trinamuli ‘actions’ of recent yore, and these were desperately attempted to be surpassed.

 

·                    More than 500 public vehicles were torched or otherwise damaged, and these were the major incidents.  An equally large number of privately owned vehicles were attacked and left more than just large dents.

 

·                    Post offices were ransacked, and who could be bothered that the postal service falls into the portal of the central government in which the Congress is the majority partner.

 

·                    SDOs and BDOs were heckled, in some cases roughly so, including the shameful jostling of a woman BDO in north Bengal.

 

·                    Sick and ailing persons, including a bus full of cancer patients on way to receiving their weekly radiation/chemotherapy, were forcefully dragged out from vehicles, left in a bedraggled state wayside, and then made the target of choice invectives of the unprintable kind.

 

·                    Zilla Parishad members in western, central, and northern Bengal were made the subject of heckling and abuse. They were prevented from joining work.

 

·                    Kolkata was a scene of multi-point disorder as working people were made the target of abuse, shops forced to close down shutters, and all vehicles including, in some instances, ambulances and even the humble cycle rickshaws obstructed until in isolated instances, the police had to intervene.

 

·                    All examinations had to be cancelled, including all-India service examinations, depriving the aspirants of perhaps what was once-in-a-lifetime chance -- for a better life.

 

To these must be added misdeeds having a touch of the macabre.

 

·                    In several places, in the metropolis, and perhaps elsewhere, small hotels and restaurants were broken into, the employees, crumbling inside with the fear of the worse, forced to cook, the food taken amidst many-a-whoop of joy by the merry men of the urban jungle, and then the establishments left wrecked.

 

·                    Stranded railway and bus passengers were provided with a modicum of food and a gulp or two of water by the ‘strikers.’  What, however, was the cost involved?  We saw one particular incident ourselves at the Naihati station in north 24 Parganas. Shops were forced to part with eatables and bottled water, free and in large quantities. Of these, a token amount was then sold to the desperately starving long distance passengers at exactly 10 times the normal price!

 

·                    In the laterite zone at Purulia, prisoners accused of heinous crimes were attempted to be snatched away from the police custody by attacking the prison van, trying to overcome the successful resistance from the police personnel.

 

‘We are coming back,’ rang out the Pradesh Congress leadership in boastful glee. The gradually ominous loud footfalls of the decade of the 1970s are clearly heard across Bengal. 

 

Biman Basu said that the CPI(M) and the Left Front must organise an intense campaign amongst the youth to explain what the 1970s meant for the toiling masses of Bengal.

                         

WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

AT MANGALKOTE?

 

Comrade Falguni Mukhopadhyay, the popular CPI(M) leader of the Burdwan district was brutally murdered a few weeks back at a village near Mangolkote in the district.  His murderers, ill-famed anti-socials in the pay and protection of the two Congresses, Pradesh and Trinamul, had been declared absconders.

 

It has become a fashion with the Bengal opposition to have accused criminals accompany them as sidekicks in a show of bravado whenever they pay raucous visits to places where CPI(M) workers have been butchered.  We recall that this particular affliction, we could indeed call it a disease, had overwhelmed the present generation of the reactionary leadership of the aforementioned outfits when they had ruled the land of Bengal with a law of their own in the decades of the 1960s and 1970s. 

 

A week or so ago, a newly-elected Trinamuli MP visited the village.  The entourage of the usual suspects were prevented from entering the hamlet for any length of time by the police. The people remained a sullen witness to the show put on by the opposition worthies.

 

Next, another leader of the opposition, arm-in-friendly-arm with the accused in the Comrade Falguni murder case, chose to follow suit – and were similarly, politely asked by the police to make themselves scarce, as the people’s rage had started to fulminate.

 

The mass of people indeed continued to fret as no arrests could be made thanks to the ill-gotten protection the killers received with a disgusting show of ‘loyalty’ from the opposition leaders some of whom have even chosen irresponsibly to go on record to say that the police could make arrests, if ‘they dared to do so.’  Could we ever conclude from these developments that all this pacified the people, fuming as the masses have been with a raging sea of pent up emotions, about the vicious murder of their beloved leader?

 

In line of such visits now came eight Pradesh Congress MLAs on July 15.  They were in the not-too-august company of two of the accused in the murder case.  At least one of the criminals in the team even brandished a revolver or two and waved it around, challenging anyone to harm him. 

 

That broke the dam of passive response. We are told that more than a couple of thousands of villagers came out, rallied round, and sternly told the MLAs and their henchmen to ‘just go away and leave us be.  That the Congress worthies, never known for their interaction with the masses, chose to panic, stumble on to water-filled rice paddies, fall down, get to wallow in the mud, pick themselves up, and finally have themselves admitted to posh nursing homes back in Kolkata, cannot really be packaged as an ‘organised attack by the CPI(M)’ now, could it?

 

BIMAN

STATEMENT

 

Biman Basu, Bengal CPI(M) secretary went ahead to issue a statement immediately after he was apprised of what had taken place at Mangolkote, and where he said that he ‘sternly condemned’ any attack on the Congress MLAs and said also that whatever ‘has happened ought not to have taken place.’ 

 

Biman was clear in pointing out that the CPI(M) ‘has  always been in favour of unimpeded movement of the leaders and workers of any political party,’ and that if anyone from the CPI(M) could be found to have been involved in the Mangolkote incident, the district unit of the CPI(M) would initiate appropriate punitive action. Had the police been present, they should have intervened, was how the CPI(M) leader would put it.

 

Nevertheless, would the evil the two Congresses represent disappear?  Buses and trucks have continued to burn, roads are being blocked, railway tracks are sat upon, sporadic bandhs have been called, and a Trinamuli minister up in Delhi has even had the temerity to call for a Constitutional step to be initiated against the elected and popular Left Front government of Bengal.  The people remain as yet silent witnesses to these perilous dance macabre being played out with fanfare, the obedient corporate media, obliging as ever.