People's Democracy

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


Vol. XXXIII

No. 41

October 11, 2009

Chatradhar’s Confessions Confirm Complicity

 

Debasish Chakraborty

 

CHATRADHAR Mahato’s arrest and interrogation have only revealed those very things which the people in Jangal Mahal, the forest areas of three western districts of West Bengal knew from the very beginning. On the process, reports in the media about the ‘confessions’ of Mahato has created political ripples and paradoxical reactions from a section of the intelligentsia. 

What are the truths that have been exposed?

First, the ‘Peoples’ Committee against Police Atrocities’ was formed by the Maoists, primarily to cordon off an area out of the bounds for police and administration. It was done in November 2008 after police began to search for the culprits involved in landmine blast in Shalboni. The mine-blast was designed to kill chief minister when he was returning from stone-laying ceremony of the proposed steel plant in Shalboni. Chatradhar Mahato revealed that top Maoist leaders of the area were present in the meeting where the committee was formed. Gradually, the committee followed the dictums of the Maoists and expanded its work from digging roads to attacking CPI(M) cadres and sympathisers. The Lalgarh agitation was not at all any spontaneous outburst of the tribals, as it was depicted in a section of the media; it was, rather, a well-planned disturbance to create a conducive atmosphere for the Maoists to consolidate their own base. 

Secondly, the committee acted as a comfortable platform for the Maoists and Trinamool Congress to work together. In almost every village where a “branch” of the committee was formed, both the active members of the Maoists and TMC worked in unison. In many places, the houses of local TMC leaders were used as meeting places and shelters for committee and Maoists cadres. Chatradhar himself claimed that he used to maintain links with state level TMC leaders as frequently as he did with the Maoist leaders in West Midnapore.

Thirdly, according to Kolkata media, Chatradhar Mahato partially confessed about the huge amount of money collected as ‘donations’ and forced ‘levies’ during last ten months. It ran into crores. There was smooth flow of outside financial support also. Specific names of some of the financing persons and organisations have also come into light.

Fourthly, the committee and Chatradhar himself had regular contacts with a section of the anti-CPI(M) intelligentsia and even participated in a number of secret meetings in Kolkata too. Though it was not so ‘secret’ to any observer, this revelation has apparently unnerved some of the intellectuals who, for some months now, have already been rewarded abundantly by the railway minister. These intellectuals have tried their best to claim that they had no inkling of Chatradhar’s Maoist links. 

This theory of ‘delinking’ Peoples’ Committee and the Maoists is the escape route for TMC supremo and the railway minister Mamata Banerjee herself. It was she who consistently demanded withdrawal of central paramilitary forces from West Midnapore after the joint operations started. It was she who organised rally in support of this demand. The central ministers from her party went to Lalgarh to oppose the operations of joint forces. Even now, railway minister is completely silent about the terror unleashed by the Maoists. She was speaking in a manner which legitimises the brutality of the Maoists. This is in stark contradiction to the professed stand of the prime minister and the home minister.   

The gruesome incident in Jharkhand has shattered the ‘delinking’ scheme. Maoists had offered to release the abducted inspector of the special branch of Jharkhand police, Francis Induwar in exchange for Kobad Ghandy, Chatradhar Mahato and Chandrabhusan Yadav. The inspector was later killed in an atrocious manner.

Meanwhile, more and more evidence of complicity of Maoists and TMC have come into light. This working partnership has been developing since the days of Nandigram agitation and the Maoists have consistently emphasised the necessity of working in tandem with TMC in their party documents. On the top of these, the Maoist leader M Koteswara Rao alias Kishenji , in an interview to Anandabazar Patrika (on 4 October) has declared that they want to see Mamata Banerjee as the next chief minister in West Bengal. According to fanciful analysis of Kishenji, though the TMC has same class character like Congress, Mamata Banerjee, by the sheer force of her personality can override the barrier and can initiate radical reforms!  

It remains to be seen how the leadership of UPA government reacts to such proximity of ‘greatest internal threat’ (as repeatedly told by prime minister, home minister) and an important central minister.