Kolkata, March 31: Senior CPI(M) leader Jyoti Basu rebutted on 30 March BJP supremo Lalkrishna Advani's remark to a news agency that he had met Jyoti Basu 'covertly' prior to the so-called 'rathayatra' that claimed the lives of hundreds across its bloody path. Jyoti Basu admitted to the meting quite freely and said that the meeting was overt rather than covert.
Jyoti Basu previously had a word with the CPI(M) Polit Bureau and with the then general secretary comrade Harkishan Singh Surjeet before proceeding to meet Advani. The then Prime Minister V P Singh, too, had earlier prevailed upon Basu to speak to Advani towards dissuading the BJP leader from the 'rathayatra'.
In the exchanges that followed between Basu and Advani, Basu told the latter that the purported 'rathayatra' would create disharmony and even rioting. Advani would not listen to Basu's advice that he aborts the 'programme.'
Later, Basu also met A B Vajpayee and asked him to prevent the 'rathayatra' but nothing came out of this meeting, too. Basu added to say when the late PV Narasimha Rao was the Prime Minister Basu along with comrade Surjeet had telephoned him to initiate measures so that the Babari Masjid was not pulled down. The late Rao promised to do 'something' about the issue but in practice did nothing.
Incidentally Jyoti Basu recalled that when as Prime Minister A B Vajpayee came to Kolkata and met Basu he asked the Bengal chief minister as to the reasons why he, Basu, called the BJP a party that was 'uncivilized and barbaric.' Basu had replied that he said this because BJP was engaged in orchestrating riots in Gujarat, killing members of the minority communities with impunity, and that it had pulled down the Babari Masjid, causing riots to break out. After this strong repartee, Vajpayee had held his silence.
ATTACKS ON CPI(M) WORKERS GO ON; ONE KILLED IN BANKURA
Murderous assaults on CPI(M) workers go on in Bengal, especially in the laterite zone in the western part of the state abutting Biharand Jharkhand. On 29 March, late in the evening, comrade Kanai Kumar, a humble woodworker of Arsha in Purulia was making his way back to his hutment along the looping road that went up and down the hillocks.
On one bend on the path, stood in ambush the killers, a mix of Pradesh Congress and Trinamul Congress goons-- all heavily armed with guns, pistols, knives, and adzes. They pounced on comrade Kanai, shot him, and then proceeded to kill him of numerous cuts and slashes from sharp weapons all over his body till he died screaming in pain.
A winding cortège accompanied his last remains to the local burning ghat for consignment to flames. Comrade Kanai had long been a target of the Pradesh Congress in particular for he had resisted all attempts by the thugs of that outfit to prevent the formation of the newly-elected Gram Sansad.
Elsewhere and not far away in Bankura, at a place called Jaipur, a large horde of Trinamul Congress hooligans attacked an election rally of the CPI (M), fired shots indiscriminately, and kidnapped the shot and wounded Sheikh Shahjahan, a dedicated CPI (M) worker. The CPI (M) activists gave chase, and they finally, literally, stumbled upon the prone Shahjahan who had in the meanwhile both his shins repeatedly pounded, broken, and then, in a gesture of in human cruelty, twisted out of shape.
Indeed, it was Shahjahan's screams that enabled the CPI(M) workers to spot generally the place where he had been thrown from a vehicle as the cowards made good their escape in the descending darkness of the night of 30 March. Removed to a hospital, Shahjahan fights for his very survival.
In the meanwhile, the Trinamul Congress candidate from the area has been known to call publicly for terror to be brought down on CPI(M) workers. Not too far away in Midnapore west at Lalgarh, 'Gour' of the CP(Maoist) has announced that police would not be allowed in the area during the poll days. 'Gour' has received vociferous support from the entire range of the right-wing opposition from the Pradesh Congress to the BJP to the Trinamul Congress.