Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Bengal News

From B Prasant/INN


Kolkata, April 22: A massive rally was organised at the call of the CPI(M) right in the troubled heart of Lalgarh and more than 20 thousand people were in courageous attendance. The ‘Maoist’ den is but a few kilometres across the border into Jharkhand. More 50% of the rallyists were women, and most came with their children tagging cheerfully along.

The rally, militant in nature, was filled with fluttering Red Flags of various sizes. The sound of kettle drums and the shouting of slogans added to the militancy as well as colour to the assemblage. The entire jangal mahal was made aware of the rally as the loudspeakers carried the voices of the CPI(M) who fearlessly addressed the rally – many have threats against them from the ‘Maoist’-Trinamuli-Jharkhandi criminals- deep into every corner of this part of Midnapore west.

Speakers at the rally included professor Dipak sarkar who heads the Midnapore west unit of the CPI(M) as the secretary, and CPI(M) leaders Satyen Maity and Anuj Pandey (who presided). It is significant that the CPI (M) could appear in strength in both the hill areas of Darjeeling and the laterite zone of the extreme west of Midnapore on the same day.

The aftermath of the Lalgarh rally was not without unpleasantness borne of criminal acts. At Salboni within a stone’s throw distance of Lalgarh, the ‘Maoists’ struck with a murderous intent. The place was the tiny hamlet of Nadadia and it falls within the Debgram GP. Two dozen heavily-armed men, faces covered, attacked the village, sought out CPI(M) workers’ hutments.

The raiders then proceeded to beat to a pulp with gun-butts three CPI(M) workers: they were comrades Shakti Sen, Hambir Mandi, and Ranjit Singh, poor kisans all. Comrade Hambir and Shakti died on the spot, and the ‘Maoists’ made off with their bodies. Ranjit was rescued and he has been admitted to a local hospital in extreme critical conditions with gashing wounds on his head.

The ‘Maoists’ also took forcibly away two licensed single-barrelled guns of Mihir Sen and Deben Hembram. In protest against the ‘Maoist’ depredations, rallies are held all over Midnapore today (22 April). The bodies are yet to be recovered.

Item 2


This morning (22 April), the reactions and response that we received from the hill city, were overwhelmingly in favour of the CPI(M) rally in general rally and the address by CPI(M) Polit Bureau member, Sitaram Yechury, in particular.

Representatives of every hill community—the Tamangs, the Gurungs, the Lamas, the Thapas, the Mokhtans, the Bhattarais, the Pathaks, and the Chhetris et al—i.e., cutting across castes as well as social groups-- spoke paeans of praise in favour of the basic tenor of the CPI(M) rally.


The CPI(M) rally called for unity of the people of the hills, the plains, and of the hills and the plains. The political content of Sitaram’s address where he emphasised the position of the CPI(M) and the Left as friends and comrades of the hill communities in and out of the parliament struck a sympathetic chord, as they told us, among the minds of the hill people.

The talk about the Left fighting in and out of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha for the overall and not sectarian development of the hill areas kept being recalled repeatedly, even after the rally was over, as we were told, and its effects remaining yet powerful among the hill peoples in general.


On the other hand, the separatist GJMM and its cohorts have been made angry at the way the CPI(M) could make its way back and in force to the hill townships of Darjeeling, Kurseong, and Kalimpong, in particular, and they are infuriated at the onrush of popular, indeed mass, support for the CPI(M), once again in the hills after a gap.

The scathing attack that Sitaram launched during his address at the opportunism and dangerous brinkmanship of the divisive kind of the BJP also blended well with the consensus in the hills, among people of such far flung areas as Chungtung, Hrishihaat, Kaujali, Jhenpey, Pemeti, Balachanr, Gokh, Bijonbari, Poolbazaar, Aatpara, and Teendharia.


Elsewhere, Biman Basu, CPI(M) Bengal secretary, and chairman Bengal Left Front told the media that the Left Front called upon the Election Commission to ensure that voting remained free and fair in the three hill subdivisions of Darjeeling, Kalimpong, and Kurseong. Biman also complained that at least half-a-dozen letters written by him to the ECI on the situation developing in the hill sub-divisions had gone unresponded to and it seemed nothing would be done by the ECI to remedy and set right the recent state of tension there.


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