From B Prasant/INN
Kolkata, April 24: Comrade Gopinath Murmu finally died, most painfully, whispering through chapped lips for water that he could not given because of the ‘Maoist’ diktat that none of the wounded at the Nadadia village would be allowed to be taken out from the hutment where they were pushed into, nor would any kind of medical assistance be administered. Comrade Gopinath had been shot along with nine others earlier by a hit squad of the ‘Maoists’ of the wounded two had already died on the spot as reported.
Abani Bhuinya the GP member of Ramgarh abutting Lalgarh survives but for how long nobody knows. He was sneaked out this morning (24 April) to a nearby health centre where he told us the inhuman way the ‘Maoists’ with their Trinamuli ‘local guides’ used blunt weapons first to beat and break the bones of the arms and legs of the CPI(M) workers they had kidnapped and only then they would shoot those whom they considered strong enough to survive the beatings.
Abani told us, pain written all over his elderly face, that he was beaten up, shot – and yet he has survived until at least until as we file this report. His is a critical condition with arterial as well as bone damage all over his body. A raj of criminal rage ranges across Lalgarh and the fear-fuelled anger of the ‘Maoists’ increases as the CPI(M), following state secretary Biman Basu’s express direction, responds to aggression with vast mass assemblages and marches -- all over Midnapore west.
Elsewhere at the Press Club of Kolkata, Chhatradhar Mahato, the ‘Maoist’-backed ‘resistance’ committee’s ‘spokesperson’ attributed Gopinath’s and other’s deaths to ‘addiction to alcohol: there were few takers for his likely fairy tale of the grisly kind.
Deep into the night of Thursday, almost at daybreak of Friday (24 April), we learnt that two more CPI(M) comrades have been martyred by the Maoists—this time at Supurdi village at Balarampur. The ‘Maoists’ were accompanied by Trinamulis of local origin and misdemeanours. This time the occasion was a happy Chhau dance festival in which a large number of villagers had congregated. The dance troupes performed throughout the night. Men, women, children kept coming and going, some from far flung places, other from nearby villages clusters.
As the night sky became lighter in tone as the horizon saw the violet ring of feint first light the announcement of the day break, two CPI(M) workers comrade Baikuntho Mahato, Balarampur zonal committee member of the CPI(M), and comrade Bibhuti Sing Sardar (who himself leads a popular Chhau dance troupe) left the fair.
They were intercepted at a lonely place by a group of ten heavily armed ‘Maoists.’ The assassins opened fire from their automatic weapons at almost point blank range. The CPI(M) workers fell-- riddled with at least twenty bullet wounds each. With their martyrdom, the ‘Maoists’ had killed five CPI(M) workers in 72 hours’ time in the western part of Bengal.
EC Allows Unauthorised Presence At
The Lalgarh Tripartite Meeting – With Dire Consequences For CPI(M)
The Chief Electoral Officer, West Bengal convened a tripartite meeting to ensure that the election process at Lalgarh is organised in a proper manner. The meeting was summoned on 22 April 2009.
It was decided that besides the representatives of the state government, the meeting would see the presence and participation of Chhatradhar Mahato the leader of the ‘Police Santras Birodhi Pratirodh Committee’ (PSBPC) [‘resistance committee’] who are in movement at Lalgarh, and other PSBPC representatives.
Called at the behest of the Election Commission of India (ECI), the state government was represented at the meeting by the Special Secretary (Home); Joint Secretary, Panchayat and Rural Development; Joint Secretary, Backward Classes Development Department; DM, Midnapore west; IG Police western range; DIG Police Midnapore division; and the SP, Midnapore west. .
The PSBPC was represented by its president Lalmohan Tudu, secretary and squad member of CP (Maoist), Sidhu Soren, spokesperson Chhatradhar Mahato, and such other PSBPC members as Asit Pratihar, Jogesh Chandra Hansda, Pasupatideb Singha, Srabani Soren, and Mukhi Murmu. The third party was of course the CEO, Bengal
What is surprising is that throughout the course of the tripartite meeting a fourth party to the discussions remained present. They were, besides office-bearers of a ‘human rights organisation,’ Sujato Bhadra, Jaya Mitra, Sumit Chaudhuri, and Sudipta Sen, Dr Nisha Biswas, and Rangta Munshi the latter being is a member of the Matangini Mahila Samity having close ‘Maoist’ links.
Be it noted that none are residents of Lalgarh, nor they are members of the PSBPC, and none affected directly or indirectly by the evolving problem at Lalgarh. In the framework of the meeting as pre-decided, they should have had no place there.
It is recalled here that in the time past, there are numerous instances when these persons behind the guise of a particular political party have taken up a special position on such issues as Singur, Nandigram, Rizwan-ur Rahaman suicide case, and other matters that had the potentiality of embarrassing and endangering the state.
We note also that while acting as close allies of such political parties as the Trinamulis et al., the group that the persons represent has also kept close touch with the Maoists. In this connection we may recall, as it is well-known, the Trinamulis and the Maoists work in tandem politically in the state as a political configuration or coalition.
We also note in this connection that the persons who were allowed to take part in what was originally a tripartite meeting are not politically neutral, for their faces adorn thousands of large-size posters plastered all over the state that clearly contains the slogan, ‘We Want Change! [Paribartan Chai!].’
We also recall how earlier in the Assembly Elections of 2006 to be specific, under the name and style of ‘civil society,’ these same persons, claiming themselves to be ‘non-political’ had placed a demand that they would supervise the electoral process. The ECI with valid reasons cancelled their demand.
It is noted that the members of the fourth party as mentioned above, have specified their political position clearly through their writings in various newspapers and other publications, and in their discussions and discourses in various audio-visual media.
Thus, the ECI must make also it patent with its response to the issue how far their responsibility and role are desired and proper in tackling the situation that has evolved at Lalgarh. It must also clarify why the framework that was originally envisaged for the tripartite meeting could not be maintained.
In this connection we have the right to be curious about and to know the reasons why only the representatives of a particular anti-state government ‘human rights’ organisation were allowed in the meeting. The ECI may also elucidate and make clear whether in the circumstances that were allowed to prevail, the secrecy of the meeting could be maintained at all.
In fortifying the facts and arguments we have written above, we may draw attention to the tragic fact that right after the meeting was over, a group of Maoists raided the Saluka village at Ramgarh under Lalgarh PS, abducted and severely beat up seven CPI(M) workers including the local Gram Panchayat member Abani Bhuinya. Subsequently, one of those beaten up, Gopinath Murmu succumbed to his injuries. None of the six as well the last remains of the person who died, would be allowed by the Maoists to be taken out of the village.
Is it not logical on our part to believe that the very presence of the fourth component at the tripartite meeting, in the final analysis, encouraged this dastardly act by the Maoists? The ECI may kindly have the whole issue looked appropriately into for expeditious measures of the remedial kind immediately before things go out of control.
The tripartite meeting held on 22 April 2009 on the Lalgarh situation, with the presence of an additional, unannounced fourth component comprising a so-called ‘human rights’ group with links with the Maoists and Trinamulis, bore results that were perhaps not foreseen even by the ECI.
Following the meeting, indeed just after the meeting had ended, a group of Maoists raided the Saluka village at Ramgarh under Lalgarh PS, abducted and severely beat up seven CPI (M) workers including the local Gram Panchayat member Abani Bhuinya. Subsequently, one of those beaten up, Gopinath Murmu succumbed to his injuries. None of the six as well the last remains of the person who died, would allowed by the Maoists to be out of the village.
We find it to be a dangerous development because the meeting was held at the instance of the Police Santras Birodhi Pratirodh Committee (PSBPC) whereas in fact it is the CPI (M) that is the victim of dastardly acts of terrorism perpetrated by the Maoists with whom the PSBPC has close political-organisational links. That is not all.
We give below a list of acts of terrorism perpetrated on the CPI(M) by the Maoists with active support of the Trinamulis in Midnapore west alone.
· On 21 April 2009, two CPI(M) workers ere beaten to death at the Nadadia village under Salboni PS where a serial blast of seven mines took place both acts being committed by the Maoists.
· On 21 April, Maoists entered the Andharia village of Salboni, extracted a ‘levy’ of Rs 6,000 from the villagers, and looted two licensed guns.
· On 14 April, Maoists entered the Rupaipur village in the same area, and threatened two CPI(M) workers including Rameswar Murmu to leave the village or else. They looted two motorbikes and two licensed guns
· On 11 April, the Maoists organised an arms training camp at a place close to the Madhupur village.
· On 10 April, the Maoists shot to death CPI(M) worker Asim Mondal, at Bhulaveda under Belpahari PS.
· On 8 April, the Maoists shot at Chandi Karan, a local CPI(M) worker at Nachhipur at Lalgarh.
· On 6 April, the Maoists along with Trinamuli workers kidnapped 20 villagers from Bejdanga, and then beat them up severely. They could be rescued after 12 hours of captivity.
· On 1 April, the police intercepted near Salboni a car that was filled with arms from Monghyr and it was proceeding towards Lalgarh.
· On 14 February, the Maoists shot dead CPI(M) worker Sujit Panda at Dharampur at Lalgarh.
· On 1 February, the Maoists shot dead Nandalal Pal, a zonal committee member of the CPI(M) at Murar village of Lalgarh.
· On 11 December 2008, the Maoists killed former Sabhapati of Belpahari Panchayat samity Sudhir Mandi of the Jharkhand Party for his opposition to digging up of roads and sabotaging acts.
· On 18 November, the Maoists shot dead Ashok Haldar, a ration dealer when he refused to pay them a large quantum of ‘levy.’ The tragic event took place at Bhulaveda under Belpahari PS.
· On 2 November, the Maoists caused blasts to occur in the convoys of Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, and union petroleum minister Ram Vilas Paswan.
· On 31 October, the Maoists shot and killed at Kashmer village under Belpahari PS a CPI(M) worker named Indrajit Murmu.
In each incident as narrated above, Trinamuli workers accompanied the Maoists.
The above list proves beyond doubt how cruelly the Maoists and Trinamulis are bent on causing mayhem, killing, riot, and anarchy in the area and beyond. At the same time, the sitting down in a meeting of a group that calls itself ‘anti-Police-terror committee’ [Police Santras Birodhi Pratirodh Committee (PSBPC)] is tragic as well as farcical.
The ECI must come forward in taking a hard look at the developments going on and initiate appropriate measures immediately before things go out of hand.
We shall await the ECI’s response to the letters written by the Bengal CPI(M) in this regard incorporating all the points above.