(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
March 06, 2011
Maoist-TMC Nexus: No Longer Hidden
THE Maoist-Trinamul nexus in West Bengal has come out into the open. Forced to retreat in the face of the local people’s resistance, the CPI (Maoist) recently published a document captioned “Certain Problems in the Spheres of Our Work and the Way out.” This, inter alia, states: “In the present political situation in West Bengal, efforts have to be undertaken to unite all forces who are against the CPI(M). As far as the parties of the ruling classes like to join hands with us in our anti-CPI(M) programmes, we will have to take them along in our struggle.”
And as this strategy enjoined, the so-called Peoples’ Committee against Police Atrocities (PCPA), an overground outfit of the Maoists, joined with its flags and festoons the public rally organised by the Trinamul Congress (TMC) at Lalgarh on January 30. This rally was addressed by two union ministers of state, Sisir Adhikary and Mukul Roy, who both are TMC leaders. When asked about the PCPA men joining their rally openly, TMC MP and Trinamul Youth Congress president, Subhendu Adhikary replied in the almost same vein as that of the aforesaid Maoist document: “Anti-Left forces have assembled together at one place; who have come with whose flags does not matter much.”
TMC & MAOISTS:
HAND IN GLOVE
Quite True! To the Maoists or to the TMC, who is carrying whose flag doesn’t matter. And earlier too, similar joint TMC-Maoist activities were seen. The only difference is that earlier it was done clandestinely, now it is no longer hidden; it is done in everybody’s view.
The said Maoist document itself recalls, “In Nandigram movement, people and other parties had accepted our comrades’ leadership. The local people had no hesitation to admit this position. But though the other parties had no objection to admit it locally, they were not prepared to declare it outside. We, too, wanted to keep it secret until we grew in strength.”
Apart from it, in yet another Maoist document titled “Evaluation of Historic Anti-SEZ Movement in Nandigram,” the state committee of the CPI (Maoist) stated, “We have had cordial relation with the leadership of Bhumi Ucched Pratirodh Committee (BUPC), a joint outfit of the TMC – SUCI – Congress – and other anti-CPI(M) parties and groups..… At most of the time, in consultation with the TMC all programmes of meetings, procession, gherao, training and particularly action of resistance were finalised.”
To know how it was done, one has to go through the pamphlet published by the Maoists on November 6, 2010. There it is written: “Let Mamata-di ascertain from her present youth commander Shubhendu Adhikary when our party cadre Narayan descended at Nandigram and what role he had played during the whole movement there. Let her ascertain also whether in every meeting of Bhumi Ucched Pratirodh Committee (BUPC) TMC leaders addressed along with our party cadre Narayan.” It is further written: “From the same dais your (Mamata’s) MP Subhendu, Narayan and our Maoist state committee member Comrade Sukumar together addressed the meetings. If you (Mamata) are not aware, you may ascertain it from your youth commander (Subhendu Adhikary).”
It is not that TMC supremo, Ms Mamata Banerjee, is so naive as to ascertain from her party’s youth leader Subhendu Adhikary (now an MP) as to how her party worked hand in glove with the Maoists to perpetrate political violence in the said area. True, Ms Mamata has not made any admission on record that her party took the help of the Maoists in carrying out her Nandigram movement --- may be as a matter of tactics --- but there is no doubt that it was all done in her knowledge. Kabir Suman is another MP of her party, and is the blue-eyed boy of Ms Mamata Banerjee. He has gone on record --- in his recently published autobiographical book titled Nisaner Nam Tapashi Malik --- that at the headquarters of Trinamul Congress in Kolkata on November 7, 2007, TMC supremo Ms Mamata Banerjee was closeted with, among others, Maoist leaders Raja Sorkhel and Prasun Chatterjee to finalise a joint strategy for movement in Nandigram. (Both these Maoist leaders are now in jail custody and being prosecuted under the UAPA.) Suman’s book is replete with detailed descriptions of various other, similar joint sittings and also gives an account of arms training given to the TMC cadres by the Maoists.
Maoist leader Sudip Chongdar alias Kanchan was recently arrested. When interrogated by the Special Task Force of West Bengal Police, he admitted that when certain Maoist leaders temporarily shifted elsewhere from Nandigram in November 2007, they handed over to the custody of local Trinamul leaders Nishikanta Mondal, Sk Shabuddin and Indra Karan a cache of sophisticated arms for their use. In fact, it was with the help of the Maoists and the arms supplied by them that TMC hoodlums attacked the CPI(M) members, supporters and their families, looted their belongings, set ablaze their houses and forced them to flee elsewhere for shelter.
After Nandigram, the Maoist-Trinamul nexus shifted their operations to the Jangalmahal area. Now, overtly or covertly as per the situation’s demands, TMC men are reciprocating to the Maoists as the latter did for the TMC in Nandigram. Here their open activities were conducted, in the main, under the aegis of the so called PCPA, in which TMC men are active under a camouflage. Here the violence perpetrated by the Maoist-PCPA-TMC combine has already taken a toll of 372 poor people since May 16, 2009, i.e. after the Lok Sabha polls. TMC supremo, Ms Mamata Banerjee, did not shed a drop of tear for the people so killed. Instead, she went to Lalgarh, had a meeting with the PCPA leader Chatradhar Mahato (who is now in jail custody and being prosecuted under the UAPA), addressed a gathering there on February 4, 2009, and declared her party’s support to the Maoist activities. Following her trail, TMC leaders including certain ministers of state in the central government, MPs and MLAs made a beeline to the Lalgarh areas to pat on the back of the PCPA activists.
After the joint forces of the centre and state started their operations against the Maoists, the latter quite naturally appealed to the TMC through media: “In Nandigram we were with the TMC. Together we created the BUPC. Now Mamata is in the central government. She is a minister there. Now, what would she do? Should she not side with us and not with the joint forces? Let Mamata break her silence.”
And Ms Mamata, no doubt, obliged them. Not only did she open her mouth; she opened it full-throated in support of the Maoists as they desired. In her own language, she urged the prime minister ten times, union home minister twenty times and the finance minister an umpteen number of times for withdrawal of the operation by joint forces against the Maoists in Jangalmahal. In a public meeting at a point of time, not mincing words, she threatened to resign from the union cabinet if her requests were not met.
It may be recalled that in accordance with a decision of the union cabinet, the operation of the centre-state joint forces in Jangalmahal started from June 18, 2009. After two days, on June 20, however, Ms Mamata Banerjee declared that it was “state violence,” even though she is a member of the cabinet as the railway minister. Her plea was that she was not consulted when the union cabinet took the said decision. Moreover, on this very plea, she had since then been carrying on her open support to the activities of the Maoists and also of the PCPA. Even in the case of Jnaneshwari Express sabotage by the Maoists, she shielded the perpetrators of the crime by trying to shift the buck on to the CPI(M), though subsequently a CBI enquiry called her bluff. Whenever some Maoist or PCPA leaders and activists were arrested or killed in clashes with the joint forces, she decried every such incident as “undemocratic.” In fact, in Nandigram the Maoists helped in the TMC operations against the CPI(M) while in Jangalmahal the TMC has been helping the Maoists and PCPA in their operations for expanding their base. It has been a sort of quid pro quo.
OF THE STRATEGY
The compulsions of this strategy lay in the fact that the Maoists could not achieve their desired goal by depending on terror tactics, by perpetrating violence. The reason is that the CPI(M) has got wider political influence and has been entrenched among the masses in the Jangalmahal area because of the various pro-poor programmes of the Left Front government. It was thus that the Maoists needed active and pronounced support of a party which is engaged in parliamentary politics but which is not in any way aligned to the Left. Moreover, they also needed the support of the Congress party which is running the government at the centre. But since the TMC is a mere offshoot of the Congress party, and has been clinging to its basic class approach, it could not make much of a dent into the traditionally Left dominated Jangalmahal area. Thus the TMC also needed the camouflage of support of a Left-looking outfit and therefore braced the pseudo-revolutionary Maoists, as the latter had done in Nandigram.
Not surprisingly, Bikram, a Maoists leader, made it clear in a recently circulated statement that they would support the TMC in the ensuing state assembly elections as “TMC leader Mamata’s path is our path.” Needless to say, their path is to capture the state administration. On her part, with the Maoist help, Ms Mamata wants to get accomplished her long cherished but yet to be fulfilled dream of becoming the chief minister of West Bengal.
However, what is truly bizarre is the role of the prime minister and also his home minister who conveniently look the other way whenever their cabinet colleague, Ms Mamata Banerjee, takes up the cudgel on behalf of the Maoists, caring a hoot for the principle of the cabinet’s collective responsibility for the decision of joint operations against the Maoists, as required under article 75(3) of the Indian constitution. Though the relevant constitutional provision enjoins it upon the prime minister to advise his cabinet colleague, Ms Mamata Banerjee, to abide by the cabinet decision about the Maoist threat, which is according to the prime minister himself the “greatest danger to the country’s internal security,” he has preferred to remain silent. As for his home minister, silence is not his cup of tea. Taking a leaf out of Ms Mamata’s speeches, including her gutter language, he shot letters to the West Bengal chief minister in a bid to give Ms Mamata’s allegations an official, formal sanctity. The reason is simple --- their party, the Congress, feels compelled to cling to Ms Mamata’s wagon, in the hope of gaining some extra electoral mileage in the ensuing state assembly elections.
But whatever their agenda may be, the fact is that through their experiences the people of Jangalmahal have taken to their heart the danger of the Maoists and their collaborators and have therefore been resisting them even at the cost of the lives of their near and dear ones. Faced with this determined resistance from the local people, the Maoists have been on the run, though they do not refrain from retaliatory measures like indulging in sporadic killings here and there with active help from the PCPA and TMC. On their part, the people are not taking all this lying down. Their proclamation is: this shall not pass!