People's Democracy

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


Vol. XXXIII

No. 46

November 15, 2009

AIDWA’s Bankura Dist Conf Vows to Fight Maoist Terror

  Minoti Ghosh

 

THOUSANDS of leaflets, posters, banners, festoons, flags, heralded the 12th Bankura district conference of AIDWA held on November 1-2, 2009 in Saltora. The brave activists of AIDWA who thronged to the venue- a picturesque location surrounded by hills, with a lake as backdrop, saluted the flag hoisted by the outgoing president and senior AIDWA leader Jayashree Mitra, with upraised hands and defiant slogans. They pledged before the martyr’s column to take the movement forward. Theirs was not an idle pledge. That very day, a CPI(M) worker was killed by the Maoist terrorists in the adjoining West Medinipur area. The TMC too was actively stoking unrest and violence. But despite the tense situation, the women’s enthusiasm and spirited determination to take on the challenge was a source of inspiration at the conference.

After the condolence resolution, Sudha  Sundararaman, all India general secretary, inaugurated the conference, and underlined the growing inequality, violence and gender oppression due to the neo liberal growth paradigm. She said that the advancements in science and technology, which had the potential to eradicate poverty, hunger, ill health etc, were actually being used as weapons of control and domination by US imperialism. She criticised the policies of the UPA-II government which were impoverishing the people further, and called for powerful struggles to resist these trends. She noted that the orchestrated violence in West Bengal was a deliberate attempt to weaken the Left, which alone was opposing the current neo liberal thrust, and extended solidarity to the fight against Maoist terrorism, and the dangerous TMC opportunism in the state.

 

Delegate

Session    

380 delegates participated in the delegate session. District secretary Sudipa Banerjee placed the secretariat report before the delegates. The report was exhaustive, and analytical. 28 delegates took part in the discussion on the report.

Some of the salient points made in the discussion were as follows:

·                                Shibani Mondal from Ranibandh block said that though the production of kendu patta, sal patta and kala megh was satisfactory in her area, better marketing options are required to benefit the tribal people. She accused Maoists of creating disturbances, due to which they could not earn their livelihood or function properly. 

·                                Anjali Datta from Banjora referred to the problems of elephants destroying their crops. She said that they had taken action against a case of child marriage, but their meeting on trafficking was not so successful.

·                                Renu Ghosh from Mejia described their anti liquor struggle, and their work in SHGs. She said that even mid day meal centres, and anganwadi centres were being targeted by Maoists and by TMC.

·                                One tribal delegate said that thirty two years back, poverty and distress were their day to day problem, but things had improved now. Boys and girls were being educated and they were seeking jobs. The problem is unemployment. Maoists are taking the advantage of this to recruit the young people to their squad. They are misleading the youths and young women, she said.

·                                A delegate from Simlapal said that a group of ‘Civil Society’ people went there to organise the Maoist and ‘peoples committee’ meeting, but our women resisted their move. Resistance groups are being formed by AIDWA in the terror ridden areas of the district.

·                                Some speakers reported that anti dowry campaign, and protests against the atrocities on women are being organised by the zonal committees

·                                A few delegates expressed the need to develop more programmes around cultural activities, sports etc. A good number of zonal committees organised sports competitions, and cultural competitions. They felt that the women particularly the young section who are not in touch of organisation could be involved in this way.

·                                From Bankura town, one delegate reported that they observe ‘Brotherhood Day’ on the day of ‘Bhai-Tigga’ every year to extend the message of harmony and amity amongst the Hindu, Muslim and Christian people of the area.

Almost all speakers were aware of the difficulties that had to be surmounted, but they were sure that, with the guidance from leaders, they would overcome the problems.

After the reply by the general secretary, the report was adopted unanimously. A new team of office bearers and a new executive committee was elected. The newly elected president, Kavitha Patro, from Taldangra, had been targeted by the Maoists for her activities. Extremists had surrounded her house, poured kerosene all around, and were just going to set fire, when she raised an alarm, and the family was saved by the intervention of neighbours. She continues to work fearlessly in the area. 

West Bengal general secretary, Minoti Ghosh greeted the conference, and warmly appreciated the district team for its multifarious work in such difficult circumstances. While condemning the anti people policies of the central government,  she pointed out the role played by the Left Front government in implementing land reforms and giving patta rights to the people including women. She spoke of the importance of ensuring that democratic entitlements reach the people, especially women, so that they can improve their conditions, and fight against these terrorist forces better. Since Bankura has a significant adivasi population, and also the Muslim presence, she emphasised the need to work more among them. Chairperson of the Bankura Municipality, Sheuli Midda, Sabhadhipati of Bankura zilla parishad, Partha Pratim Mazumder and the leaders of other fraternal delegates greeted the conference.

Credential

Report

Out of the 380 delegates, 80 belonged to SC, and 51 belonged to ST, bringing the total percentage of SC/ST to 31.24 per cent .

Only one woman was illiterate, 25 were neo literates, and 54 had studied upto the primary level. Two thirds of the delegates said that they were buyers and readers of Ek Sathe- the AIDWA monthly magazine. There were three MLAs, one chairperson, one pradhan, two sabhapathis, two upa pradhans, and seven zilla parishad members amongst the delegates. The West Bengal minister for Adivasi Welfare, Devlina Hembram, who was present both days at the conference, was elected from this district. The only Left woman member in parliament- Sushmita Bauri, was also elected from this district.

 

In the concluding session, the all India working president, Shyamali Gupta gave a rousing speech, rounding off the discussion, and highlighting the organisational issues that had to be focused upon. She emphasised the importance of mainstreaming the problems of the adivasi and minority women. She pointed out that women too were getting attracted to the Maoist movement and they should be weaned away through our work on their demands. Health, education, employment should be priority areas of our intervention. She also underlined the importance of mass membership, and said that a weakness in membership cannot be accepted, and the new committee should meet this challenge. She expressed her confidence that the combination of veteran leaders, and new leaders would work  together and over come the difficulties to take the organisation forward.

 

Public

Meeting

On November 2nd evening, a massive public meeting concluded the two day conference. Thousands of women including a large number of tribal women were present in the meeting. Newly elected president Kabita Patra presided, Sudha Sundaraman, Shyamali Gupta, Minoti Ghosh, Devlina Hembram, Sudipa Banerjee, Jayashree Mitra , Najibur Rahaman addressed the meeting. All those present applauded the conference resolutions, ranging from the anti price rise agitation calls, to defeating Maoist – TMC terror and attacks, and above all, the resolve to strengthen the movement for women’s rights to health, education, and employment. On this inspiring note, the conference came to a close.