People's Democracy

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


No. 48

November 28, 2010


Red Flag over Sijua

B Prasant 

THE march of several thousands of the rural poor and farmers into and across Sijua at the centre of Kantapahari, once a left deviationist stronghold had several layers of political significance.   


First, this is the zone where Dalilpur Chak is situated, and it was at that place that the terrorists hatched a pan to blow up chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee's convoy over a year back.  That the attempt fizzled out does not detract from the fact that the criminals had managed to drive a wedge of fear amongst the villagers there. 


Second, Kantapahari witnessed gruesome murders committed -- of CPI(M) workers, of poor kisans, of smallholders, of sharecroppers -- not at random but in a targeted, planned manner. The area also houses the residence of one of the principal mafia leader of the so-called 'committee' against 'police atrocities', Chhatradhar Mahato, who has since been behind bars for some time now. 


Third, the area of Sijua is in the locale, which abuts the Kangsabati River, and across that river lays another former 'Maoist' 'terrain,' close to Belatikari.  The killers would move freely at one point in time across the river back and forth -- and carry out their misdeeds.  The overwhelming presence of the Red Flag now would make life that much more complex and isolated for the remnants of the vandals who have now been scattered over a large tract in the area.  


Fourth, in the wake of a dry period laced with horror and fear, with the winter season of cropping about to swing in place, the return of normalcy in Sijua at Kantapahari means that the process of agriculture can now get full steam ahead, even as life picks up its lazy rural rhythm once more -- and a sigh of relief could be heard all around as the marchers strode in, Red Flags held fluttering aloft.  The area, we recall, is well-known for its fertile potato patches and rice paddies - all that had been laid bare by the atrocious assaults of the marauding gangs of the 'Maoists.'     


An important and politically significant fact marked the flying of the Red Flag over Sijua, Kantapahari.  The impromptu rally that was held at a central spot in Sijua had a speaker whose name is Gunadhar Dubey.  Gunadhar is a senior denizen of Sijua.  What else is Gunadhar Dubey?  What is the import of his addressing a CPI(M) rally?   


Gunadhar is the father of the notorious Swapan Dubey who had headed the now-defunct 'front' of the Maoists in Sijua for two painfully long years.  When the father spoke out, the village spoke out against the criminals who had by then made a quiet inglorious exit from the entire sweep of the rolling grounds.