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Posts Tagged ‘lalgarh’

Farmers in Lalgarh Region Don’t Have to Repay Crop Loans: Kishenji

Posted by ajadhind on December 23, 2009

Hindustan Times, Dec 17: Farmers in West Midnapore district of West Bengal may not have to repay their crop loans. The Maoists have announced a waiver. This is the first time the rebel group has announced such a decision.

“Several peasants who took crop loans over the last two years have suffered losses. So, we have decided that they don’t have to pay back their loans,” said Koteshwar Rao, alias Kishenji, member of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist). “Moreover, no agricultural cooperative, bank or private money lender will be allowed to charge more than two per cent interest on loans they advance to peasants this year,” he added.

Cooperative and public sector banks usually charge 7 per cent interest on agri loans. Private moneylenders charge much more – between 3 per cent and 5 per cent a month. “If anybody, be it from public sector banks or private moneylender tries to squeeze money out of the farmers, he will be branded a people’s enemy and tried in a people’s court,” Kishenji threatened. These “courts” usually hand out the death penalty to those who defy their writ.

“We will look into the matter and take action if anybody lodges a complaint,” said Manoj Verma, superintendent of police, West Midnapore.

State Bank of India, United Bank, Allahabad Bank, UCO Bank and a few co-operative banks have branches in this district. No bank executive was willing to speak on the issue. They were also unwilling to share data of total loans or farmers who may be impacted. “More than 50 per cent of all loans in the district are advanced by private moneylenders, ” several of them said on condition of anonymity.

Maoists wield considerable influence in 180 of India’s 626 districts, where they have killed more than 300 security personnel this year.

Kishenji claimed that farmers have suffered losses and that “no one is in a position to repay the loans. Since the government did nothing, it was left to us to give relief”.

In a related article, Kishenji announces that the CPI (Maoist) is expanding its organizing of farmers into South Bengal.

Maoists trying to cash in on potato farming crisis (Times of India, December 18, 2009)

KOLKATA: With security forces zeroing in on the Maoist core area in Jangalmahal comprising parts of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia, the ultras are busy spreading their network in neighbouring Hoogly and other parts of West Midnapore.

The target is to organise wage labourers and marginal farmers working in potato fields, whose lot did not improve despite spiralling potato prices. At a time when everyone is blaming the market or the futures trading, Maoists are reaching out to the deprived with an immediate solution, the people’s court. Maoist activists are promising that they will drag the middlemen to the people’s court, impose huge fines on the offenders and help the marginal farmers.

Small farmers could not get the best of a good harvest last year. They sold their produce at a much lower price to the middlemen as the crop was badly hit by wart disease.

“We have contacted the farmers in the potato producing areas of South Bengal and told them that CPI (Maoist) will extend their support to them,” said Maoist leader Kishanji, who has been controlling the Maoist insurgency in Lalgarh.

The Maoist leader has also announced drawn up a charter of demands for rehabilitation of the poor farmers. “The government has to waive all agricultural loans that farmers took last year. At the same time the state has to arrange for interest-free loans,” said Kishanji, who also supports other demands of the farmers subsidized rate of fertiliser and potato seeds.

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Singur to Lalgarh via Nandigram, a book

Posted by ajadhind on August 24, 2009

singur to lalgarh

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Lalgarh and the Radicalisation of Resistance: From ‘Ordinary Civilians’ to Political Subjects?

Posted by ajadhind on August 24, 2009

by Saroj Giri

(we are posting this article of Saroj Giri on the lalgarh peoples maovement. Saroj Giri is Lecturer in Political Science, University of Delhi. the article underlines the significance of the lalgarh struggle as a qualitatively advanced democratic movement of the peoples and brilliantly exposes the human rightist neutralism based on the thesis of the sepration of common masses and maoists. we are posting it here from MRZine for the purpose of discussion — Editor)

One image stands out from the Lalgarh resistance.  Chattradhar Mahato, the most visible leader of the People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA), distributing food to ordinary villagers — not as a high-up leader doing charity but as one among them.  Is this the ‘new’ image of the Maoist?  But maybe Mahato is not a Maoist — he himself denies being one.  But if he is not, given his power and influence in the area, the ‘dictatorial’ Maoists must have eliminated him by now?  Then maybe he is only being used by them, following their ‘diktat’ out of fear.  But a man with the kind of popularity and love from the masses would fear the Maoists?  So, is he a Maoist, or like a Maoist, after all?  But a Maoist who is this popular among the masses and who does not seem to terrorise them?

These questions are tricky, almost baffling to many.  For the resistance in Lalgarh is a unique experiment, not following any formulaic path or given script.  The Lalgarh resistance not only rattled local power relations and state forces but also challenged accepted ideas and practices of resistance movements, their internal constitution, and above all opened up radical possibilities for the initiative of the masses — partly symbolized in the unscripted image and contested political identity of Mahato and indeed of the PCAPA vis-à-vis Maoists.  Crucially, Lalgarh undermines conventional ideas about the relationship between ‘peaceful’ and ‘violent’ forms of struggle and inaugurates possibilities of resistance unfettered by given notions of political subjectivity or by subservience to the ‘rule of law’.

Lalgarh defied the long-standing shackles on social movements in the country that would ultimately restrict their forms of struggle within the confines given by the lines of command emanating from the Indian state’s monopoly over violence.  Lalgarh showed that, when the democratic struggle of the masses runs into conflict with the repressive apparatus of the state which has lost all democratic legitimacy, the struggle assumes the form of a violent mass movement.  This violent action, being the expression of heightened mass democratic struggle, bringing down structures that anyway have lost all basis, is in every sense a political struggle, an armed struggle if you like, but has nothing to do with a so-called ‘conflict situation’ where ordinary civilians are shown as only trapped and suffering.

Take the violent Dharampur mass action of June 19, an event many on the left and right decried as a Maoist take-over and an end to the democratic struggle.  When this action triggered an offensive by security forces to ‘reclaim’ the area, did the situation turn into a conflict zone between the state and the armed Maoists, with ‘ordinary civilians’ trapped and waiting for outside aid?  This then is the crucial point: Lalgarh refused to lend itself to the usual narrative which presents every armed struggle into a depoliticized ‘conflict situation’ with images of suffering women and children waiting for the international community and NGO aid workers to come and save them. ………..

The image of the ‘ordinary civilian’ here was not one of ‘refusing to take sides’ and rushing to grab the first bit of relief supplies, but one exemplified by someone like Malati.  Clearly showing where her political sympathies lay, Malati stayed on in the PCAPA-run camp and refused the administration’s medical help as she gave birth to a baby — the ambulance waiting for her went back empty (The Statesman, Kolkata, June 30, 2009).  Malati’s ‘humanitarian needs’ were fulfilled by the very struggle which carried out the ‘violent mass action’ — no space for NGOs and the welfarist state, exemplifying the autonomous character of the resistance.  What happened was not just that ‘ordinary civilians’ and adivasis supported the Maoists; the very image of a Maoist underwent a change so that anybody, including women and children, could be a Maoist.

‘Ordinary Civilians’, Maoists

The question then: do ordinary civilians stand opposed to and separate from the Maoists?  This point becomes pertinent from another angle.  Large sections of democratic forces in the country opposing the security-centric solution to the upsurge in Lalgarh proclaim the need to always separate the ordinary villagers/adivasis from the Maoists.  The chief minister, Buddhadev Bhattacharya, is attacked for conflating the two and using the ‘bogey of Maoists’ to victimize ordinary civilians and crush the democratic struggle of the masses.

Lalgarh thus throws several questions: Is the tribal morphing into the Maoist?  Is the groundswell of support for the Maoists such that the adivasis will mostly be Maoists?  In today’s situation, is it possible to be other than Maoist and still assert the kind of political resistance and autonomy that the masses of Lalgarh are presenting today?

The question really is: where and how does the adivasi in resistance stand vis-à-vis the Maoist?  What if the separation of the two is integral to the present statist approach to the Maoists, so central to it that it has to be invented and enforced where one does not exist?  Then, the democratic rights approach calling on the state to make this separation, and spare ‘innocent civilians’, may be a dangerous double-edged sword.

Now what Lalgarh showed is that separating the adivasis from Maoists is no great democratic act, but is in fact what allows the state to undertake severe repression and at the same time claim that it acted in the interests of ordinary civilians. Thus where this separation cannot be made, the state in fact invents it.  This was clear from the responses of state officials.  When the West Bengal home secretary Ardhendu Sen admitted that “it is tough to distinguish between the PCAPA and the Maoists”, it was clear that the separation does not hold (The Statesman, Kolkata, 19 June 2009).  And yet, even though ordinary people cannot be separated from Maoists, the State chief secretary invented this separation, when he stated, in the same news report, that security forces would “ensure security for ordinary people”.  Further, “he stated that common villagers are not involved directly involved with the violence but they are the victims of the violent activities of the Maoists”.

There were reports of the “Maoists support base in women and children” (The Statesman, 28 June 2009).  This support base meant that state officials could hardly find locals for gathering crucial intelligence inputs about the Maoists after the CPIM network collapsed; a senior state officer was quoted stating that “unless we have local sources, it is going to be extremely difficult to identify the Maoists, who have mingled with the villagers.  Although these (new) men are from Lalgarh, we haven’t got people from the core area.  Those villages are still out of bounds”(The Telegraph, Friday June 26, 2009).

In this light, as in the case of Malati, it is not really the armed Maoist who is most dangerous in Lalgarh; it is the ‘ordinary civilian’, the PCAPA supporter who is indistinguishable form the Maoist supporter.  Is Malati a Maoist?  If she refuses health care offered during her most vulnerable moment, then what is the state supposed to do to win back her support?  If ‘ordinary civilians’ do not want to get out of the ‘conflict situation’, and want to take sides, maybe not in any dramatic manner but at least by wanting to err on the side of the ‘violent Maoists’, then the task of separating the Maoists from the civilians becomes tough — and in fact politically reactionary.

What the state realized in Lalgarh was that if anyone can be a Maoist, and if the separation does not hold, then the way to go, under a democracy, is to technically enforce a ’separation’.  A technical solution: reports tell us that the security forces in parts of Lalgarh would sprinkle a special kind of an imported dye from a helicopter in areas where Maoists are present.  This dye makes a mark on the skin which stays for almost a year.  Well, now you can clearly separate Maoists from the ‘ordinary civilians’!

Inventing and enforcing a separation therefore allows the state to repress a popular movement in the name of winning over or defending ordinary civilians.  This enforced separation is such that even when the adivasi in Lalgarh stands with the Maoist or is a Maoist it is regarded not as the condition of the adivasi in the given conjuncture, as part of what it means to be an adivasi, his being or life, but negatively understood as the fallout of government policies.  Thus an adivasi Maoist is treated as just waiting to be rescued or won back into the democratic mainstream by benign policies and favours.

Images of Adivasi and Forms of Struggle

Now the Maoist cadre can and must be distinguished from the ‘ordinary villager’ or adivasi.  However some quarters are not just making this distinction but heavily invested in proactively separating the two — trying to understand Lalgarh through it.  This is happening since this separation is sustained by at least two other long established images of the ‘ordinary villager’ and in particular of the adivasi.

In one case, this separation is sustained by presenting a now familiar image of the ordinary villager or adivasi as the victim, the displaced, a negative fallout of the Nehruvian belief in science and industrial development.  In the second case, there is the image of the adivasi resisting ‘modern development and industrialisation’ and engaging in democratic forms of struggle, engaging in non-hierarchical and autonomous welfarist activities outside the state and statist logic.

The first image informs some ‘pro-poor’, welfare policies of the state, for the ‘upliftment of tribals and displaced’, the kinds declared in rehabilitation packages or ‘poverty alleviation’ programmes.  The second one comes from the dissident, anti-state left where being the marginalized and the subaltern (’outside’ of modernity and capital) in itself is supposed to form the basis of ‘political’ struggle.  These two images, often running counter to each other, however start converging as they get invested in and start deriving their rationale and intensity from their ability to ideologically pit the benign, democracy-loving ‘ordinary villager’ or adivasi against the supposed violence, top-down terror methods and repressive character of the Maoists.

However the events in Lalgarh have shown that this separation pushes back the ‘ordinary villagers’ into political infancy, not allowing them to break with the statist logic and the morass of parliamentary democracy.  For once the ‘ordinary villagers’ or adivasis break with being mere victims and act autonomously as political subjects, they very soon come into conflict with the logic of not just the state but also of oppressive power relations more generally.  Deep-rooted power structures that have found their expression in the abstraction called the state do not fade away progressively through democratic practice and rational deliberation; they exist with a necessity, a knotted base which cannot be untangled unproblematically, without a rupture.

Dharampur marked this rupture where the use of force bringing down the now decrepit power structures was anticipated by the democratic struggle and marked its intensification and qualitative expansion.  From the perspective of the longer struggle, the use of violence at this stage is only a gentle push to bring down terribly weakened but knotty oppressive structure — a push to eliminate the now even more intolerable limits imposed on the democratic practices of the masses.  The mass violence at Dharampur was such an intensification of the autonomous practices of the Lalgarh adivasis.  This ‘ordinary villager’ or adivasi who refuses to limit his democratic practices and struggle within the lines of command given by the state and its oppressive relations, at this point, emerges as the Maoist.  In the given conjuncture, the ‘Maoist’ is the articulation of the ordinary villager or adivasi as the political subject.

What Lalgarh showed is the interplay and interrelation between the ‘peaceful’ and ‘violent’ methods of struggle.  This means that it is not possible to separate the democratic struggle from the Maoist moment in it.  However the state as the defender of oppressive relations in its most generalized form, isolates the violent methods of the Maoists and tries to show it in isolation from the larger struggle of the people against oppression.  In a bid to force ‘ordinary villagers’ to restrict their democratic struggle and practices within the limits set by the state and its agencies, by the limits of parliamentary democracy, the state wants to target Maoists.  This is where the state and, perhaps not surprisingly, the democratic rights activists make the separation between ordinary villagers waiting to be uplifted and the violent Maoists exploiting their plight.

It is against such deft ideological operations that it needs to be pointed out that the ‘violent Maoist’ is actually an emergent quality of the democratic struggle and autonomous political practices of the ‘ordinary villager’ or adivasi in Lalgarh. For, the moment you separate the two, you are back to enclave democracy, NGOisation.  It is here that we have to ask what it means to oppose the state for using the ‘bogey of Maoists’ in order to kill and repress ordinary villagers and ordinary civilians.  Now, the state does not always kill civilians; nor does it right away go after anyone who calls himself a Maoist (didn’t the Bengal government arrest Gour Chakraborty1 only at an opportune time?).  The state invariably kills, as we see in Lalgarh, when civilians, ordinary villagers, adivasis, enter into a symbiotic relationship with the Maoists; or when the Maoists enter into such a relationship with ordinary villagers.  That is, ‘ordinary villagers’ now are no ordinary villagers engaged in ‘participatory democracy’ or ‘rural empowerment’ but are challenging the very framework given by the state as the generalized expression of power relations; similarly the Maoists are not a small band of abstract believers in violence roaming the countryside recruiting children and poverty-stricken tribals for a Cause but are now engaged in a real struggle on the side of the masses.

Therefore the state does not really kill ordinary villagers in the name of killing Maoists; it kills those who are ’supporters’ of the Maoists, those who are part of the larger, longer struggle which at some point or other assumes the name of Maoist.  To be sure there are armed Maoist combatants and unarmed civilians and one needs to differentiate the two.  However if the democratic struggle and the ‘violent’ struggle so often get intertwined and intersperse each other, if the Maoist moment is an integral moment of the overall struggle, then unarmed civilians are an integral part of the Maoist movement.

To say that the Maoist is the name for the articulation of the ordinary villager/adivasi as a political subject is to say that autonomous democratic practices do not close shop once the repressive state moves in, the form of struggle often alternates between ‘peaceful’ and ‘violent’ ones, and armed revolutionaries as much as unarmed civilians form part of the struggle.  Thus the resistance in Lalgarh was such that it was extremely difficult to sustain the separation between the Maoists and the adivasi population.

Benign Government

Even as there is mounting evidence that ordinary adivasis are part of Maoist politics in the area, the government today is forced to somehow act as though the adivasis are waiting to be won over through the right development policies, employment opportunities.  First security forces were sent in to flush out Maoists.  With hardly any encounters with the Maoists, the armed forces basically marched endlessly from one village to the next, across empty fields and villages whose male members had mostly fled.  It is anybody’s guess where the male members had escaped to!  After the ’success’ of this ‘flushing out’ operation, sincere attempts are being made to reach out to the people there with all kinds of development plans, employment generation, food and medical provisions.  Under express directions form the chief minister, the secretaries from different ministers are posted in the different villages finding out the problems and needs of the people there.

One should not here doubt the sincerity of the CPIM to really follow the democratic rights perspective here in separating ordinary villagers and the Maoists.  In fact it declared that it wants to fight the Maoists politically, grudgingly accepting the centre’s ban on the Maoists.  So much so that the state government declared that it does not want to apply the UAPA, except in rare cases and that too the police will not have the authority to decide its use which will be decided by the government at the highest level.

Now all these welfarist proposals derive their rationale from the belief that ordinary villagers/adivasis stand opposed to the Maoists or got temporarily duped into supporting Maoists.  However in a total reversal of this separation theory, in Lalgarh ordinary villagers not only rejected the welfarist state but upheld the Maoists precisely in their supposed violent avatar.

That is, while, on the one hand, you had the case of Malati rejecting the most benign offer the state can ever make, the 0ffer of medical care to the mother and new-born baby, on the other hand, you had ‘ordinary civilians’ cheering and celebrating (ululate) the mass action at Dharampur, destroying the house of the CPIM leader Anuj Pandey.  Where does one draw the line between ordinary villagers and ‘violent Maoists’ when women who reject welfare measures offered by the state are more than participative in violent programmes of the Maoists?  The Hindustan Times reports from Dharampur, “A huge crowd gathered below in the area now under Section 144 lustily cheering each blow that fell on the white two-story house, quite out of place in this land of deprivation under Lalgarh police station.  By sundown, the hammers had chopped off the first floor, leaving behind a skeleton of what was a ‘posh’ house in the morning” (Hindustan Times, 16 June 2009).

Conclusion

Thus the approach of trying to defend the human rights of ‘ordinary civilians’ by arguing that they are not with the Maoists allows the state to justify repression of the Maoists in the name of defending the rights of these civilians.  Far from this separation being something which the state must be forced to adopt, the state in fact was seen in Lalgarh to enforce it.  Lalgarh showed that when the ‘ordinary civilians’ rejected the state even at its welfarist best and made it difficult to separate them from the Maoists, the state was forced to invent a technical separation (a particular dye mark on the body identifying a Maoist).  This however did not work.

Those on the left who support the democratic struggle in Lalgarh but deplore its supposed Maoist takeover, too, vociferously uphold this separation.  What this separation does is prevent the interplay between different forms of struggle, ‘peaceful’ and ‘violent’, and constrict it within the limits set by the decrepit structures of state power.  In the name of defending the democratic struggle from the authoritarian Maoists, it actually precludes the autonomous emergence of this struggle, a full-fledged political struggle against and beyond the limits set by state power.

Lalgarh showed that the Maoist is the name for the articulation of the democratic struggle which now refuses to give up even when it comes face to the face with the state exercising its monopoly of violence.  Opening a novel chapter in the interrelationship between the ‘Maoist party’ and mass resistance, the Maoist ‘take-over’ of the ‘democratic struggle’ was actually the latter’s articulation beyond the last limits set up by given structures of power, the refusal of the struggle to recoil and rescind in the face of this power, refusal to remain merely another enclosure of democracy, the site of ‘primitive accumulation’ for capital and its democratic claims.  It is a movement and a resistance where ordinary civilians no longer appear ordinary, and where the Maoists do not appear crudely vanguardist.  Lalgarh today helps us rethink the entire question of political subjectivity, party, and the masses — but above all of democracy and its concrete realisation through mass action.

1 Gour Chakraborty, a veteran and widely  respected Communist in his early 70s, had been a leading figure of the Ganapratirodh Mancha (Democratic Resistance Front), a coalition of left revolutionary groups in Kolkata.  On December 26, 2008 West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said that the government wished to deal with the Lalgarh rebellion “politically.”  Gour Chakraborty then announced that he had quit the Democratic Resistance Front to become the public spokesperson for the Communist Party of India (Maoist) in West Bengal, offered to meet with the chief minister, and said “we are giving the CPM a chance to deal with us politically.”  But despite efforts from other constituents of the Left Front in West Bengal, the leadership of the CPM refused to enter into political discussions with Chakraborty.  On June 23, 2009 the West Bengal government arrested Chakraborty, using the provisions of the draconian anti-terrorism Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, as he was leaving a talk show on a TV channel.

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Lunacy against Lalgarh “C.P.I. (Maoist) awakened and organized”

Posted by ajadhind on August 15, 2009

-Biplav

Indian ruling class has shown the capitalist lunacy by barbarous ban on Lalgarh and C.P.I.(Maoist) .The ban imposed to the people for their raised voice of the real democracy, has unmasked the so called Indian democracy that the Indian bourgeois class and uncovered the brutal face hiding behind the mask. In other hand, the rebel of Lalgarh has succeeded to awaken the working people of the world, especially of the Indian subcontinent by tearing the clutter of entire capitalists. Flag of Lalgarh will alive forever.

The ban of the bourgeois over Lalgarh and C.P.I.(Maoist) proved one of the saying of peoples. “Poisonous snake is poisonous wherever from it.” The bourgeois are the same from Europe, America, Asia or Africa wherever from they are. They are fake, oppressors, despotic and violent. They pervert people, loot and burden the hegemony. When people become conscious, resist and rebel, then they blazon illusive propaganda, burden fake blames, ban and oppress fiercely. Today Indian bourgeois class is showing this character of its own. Interesting thing is that the bourgeois class commits and is committing all of these activities in the name of ‘Democracy’.

Ban and exploitation for rising voice for real democracy! What would be another thing that shameful in 21st century! Ban is issued over Lalgarh why? Because Lalgarh opposed the oppression, didn’t bear despot, demanded their fundamental rights. Further more raised the voice of democracy of the people. Ban is issued over C.P.I.(Maoist) why? Because C.P.I. (Maoist) awakened, organized and raised for right Lalgarh. Means C.P.I. (Maoist) led to establish the people’s democracy. Lalgarh tried to return back rights; C.P.I. (Maoist) opened the alternative of real democracy instead of so called democracy. The bourgeois were unable to compete in the battle of rights with Lalgarh. And Indian bourgeois were unable to compete with C.P.I.(Maoist) in the battle of democracy then they issued the ban over Lalgarh and C.P.I.(Maoist) to take revenge by force. It merely proved the decrepitude and unfitness of so called 60 years old Indian democracy.

Democracy is class relative, means democracy is also classified. It is impossible to be a common democracy for all class. Moreover, the bourgeois democracy is a useless democracy which gathers up very little (a handful) people. This keeps away the enormous part of the society making right less. The handfuls who are frightened and terrorized from people’s vigilance, take heavenly pleasure in the bourgeois democracy. But the socialism is a democratic system which gathers up maximum class and peoples. Although it leads working people mainly but it can mobilize all except anti people tendencies in the role of transformation of the society. The competition and the struggle of the democracy are expressed in Lalgarh. There is a capitalist democracy on one side and people’s democracy on the other side. One is for capitalist democracy and others are for people’s democracy. Indian ruling class, anti people huge capitalist, feudal, landlord, usurious, revisionist compradors of Lalgarh and corrupted administrators are on the side of the present democracy. They are blaming of extremist, terrorist and exploiting the working people, intellectuals, revolutionary party and its cadres or attempting to burden the old democracy. On the other side, C.P.I.(Maoist) , workmen, peasants, intellectuals and working citizens of the whole world are on the side of people’s democracy. They tempt to lead workmen, peasants, intellectuals instead of capitalist, feudalist, usurious and the people’s democracy in place of old democracy. Workmen, peasants are resisting the exploitation and are rebelling for that. Capitalist, feudalist, landlords and revisionists, beside Indian army, have been defeated and workmen, peasants, intellectuals have won in the competition of Lalgarh. In other word the bourgeois democracy has lost and people’s democracy has won the war. The ban over Lalgarh and C.P.I. (Maoist) of the bourgeois only proves its insanity not success in the clash of democracy.

Indian ruling class blamed of extremist and terrorist on Lalgarh and C.P.I. (Maoist) when it banned them. It would be farcical for them who knows only ‘D’ for democracy because the blamed workmen, peasants, intellectuals are the working class, constructors and majority peoples of India whereas the blamers are equipped with modern weapons, money holder feudalist and a handful in number. The crucial reactionary, exploiters and terrorist, in deed, are democratic and the honest, working population, democrat is the terrorist! It only ascertains farcical on itself. But it is reality being understood by us proletarian socialist is that the tendency perused by Indian bourgeois is not anything new but it is the tendency of heredity shown by its ancestors which the rulers of India are following. When the rapacious ruling class faces catastrophe or reaches near the defeat it takes out parch of terrorist and extremist from its box and starts avenge on working peoples. It attempts to make unsuccessful and disturb, in this way, each pioneer flow of civilization. Few years ago, its followers also had done like this in Nepal. But one should consider the ironically that marauder class failed totally in spite of thousands of attempts to stop the flow of civilization and stop the victory of working people, they collapsed own self instead. Indian ruling class will also, as it is barbarously aggressed over Lalgarh and C.P.I. (Maoist) today, be obligated to follow of their ancestral way in spite of thousand attempts and the victory will go to the working peoples of India and of whole world.

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Revolution in India: Lalgarh’s Hopeful Spark

Posted by ajadhind on July 13, 2009

source
And the riot be the rhyme of the unheard…
– Zack de la Rocha
Background of the Movement
At this moment an incredible event is taking place in the West Midnapore district of West Bengal. Before the eruption, this sleepy area was little known except to its own inhabitants. Now, a people’s movement of unprecedented size to West Bengal has risen from the suffering of its adivasi (tribal) inhabitants, galvanizing the region, and shocking greater India. This movement has been popularly termed “the Lalgarh uprising.”

Although one could accurately say the point of eruption of this rebellion occurred early in November of 2008, it is necessary to step back further in order to appreciate the context within which these events have unfolded. Lalgarh is an incredibly impoverished area of West Bengal. It contains one well-developed road—built to accommodate police—that is of little use to its indigenous inhabitants to whom even a motorbike is a rarity. Neither clean water nor electricity is available. Police brutality was a regular occurrence where villagers were detained and tortured for little or no reason—some singled out for repeated horrific abuse. (De, 2008) For many years the State promised development in the area, yet little to none was seen. In 2007, the Jindal Steel Group was given rights to set up a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) for steel production and was awarded a huge portion of land (different reports claim figures somewhere between 4,500 and 5,000 acres).

Large sections of these lands were tribal lands, supposedly protected by law for allocation to the indigenous people through a land-reform program. When the development began, adivasi people were displaced, and due to the specter environmental damage, many of their livelihoods were threatened. For years the system had abandoned these people, leaving them under the boot petty bureaucrats to live as paupers and subjected to every imaginable abuse. Then, in a final act of force, it sought to drive them off of the only land they knew. This callous act was no less that applauded by the ruling powers of the area. After word spread of the land rights being granted to Jindal Steel Group, the region shook choking with outrage. (Bhattacharyya, 2009)

On November 2, 2008, a landmine detonated in Shalbani in the West Midnapore district when a procession of business and governmental leaders—including the chief minister of West Bengal—returned from the inauguration of the Jindal Steel Works SEZ, having been planted by Maoist guerrillas to target their convoy in opposition to the shameful industrial project. (Ray, 2008) The high-profile attack spurred a massive campaign of police terror in local villages where many of the indigenous population were targeted as suspects or Maoist sympathizers (support for the Communist Party of India (Maoist) is widespread in many areas of the region). Men, women, and children were targeted without regard and were subjected to physical abuse, torture, and rape. (JNU Students, 2009)

Particularly polarizing moments were when one woman was struck in the face with a rifle butt resulting in a permanent loss of sight in one eye, eleven women were severely abused, and three students were arrested and detained (in a manner more resembling a kidnapping than arrest) on suspicion of being Maoists. However, the inhuman treatment of villagers by police extended far beyond these few vicious incidents and was rooted in a long history of such acts. (Kutty, 2009)

Lalgarh_adivasis_armed_with_traditional_weaponsSeveral days later thousands of villagers mobilized. Armed with only traditional weapons such as bows and arrows, and an iron resolve forged on decades of suffering, they dug trenches and laid tree trunks across roads to prevent security personnel from entering. In retribution they descended on police stations, damaged their cars, cut off electricity to the buildings, and demanded that police explain why so many of the adivasi people had been hurt. Huge mobilizations of this nature went on without pause for more than a month, drawing widespread attention. Police officers became subject to a social boycott, making it difficult for them to acquire the basic necessities of food and sanitary items required to stay in the area. Coupled with a strong Maoist presence, the social boycott made the Lalgarh area almost impregnable for governmental authority figures. (Bhattacharyya, 2009) Since these events, the uprising has spread like a wildfire influencing hundreds of villages in the West Midnapore district and has drawn immense support not just in West Bengal, but also from many areas in India. It has assumed a definite political character.

The Demands

The Demands On November 8, 2008, the People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (Pulishi Atyacharer Biruddhe Janaganer Committee, or PCPA) was formed in Dalilpur Chowk. It was composed upon formation of elected representatives from 95 villages. (De, 2008) These numbers have vastly grown its foundation. Its inception bypassed previous organizations of tribal elders and mainstream political parties which had utterly failed in providing relief to the people of the area, and gave an organized and democratic voice to those from oppressed groups. The committee now makes all major decisions at large public meetings which are often attended by more than 10,000 people from hundreds of villages. (Chowdhury, 2008) The committee also put forth a 13-point set of demands [see for the list of demands]—as well as the police and administrative boycott—to make clear the adivasi people’s grievances. Many demonstrations, blockades, and strikes have been called by the PCPA, and relatively peaceful assaults on police camps and mainstream party offices were organized, initially by adivasi people. In many cases, police have been forced to withdraw entirely according to their demands. Another significant gain was to win the majority of their 13-point list demands as well as large monetary concessions for development, although these monetary gains were viewed as hoaxes that would never, in the end, benefit the adivasi people. (Kutty, 2009) However, their most important demand—that police go to each village and apologize—had yet to be won. (Indian Express, 2009) The people destroying a CPI-(M) party office

The months after the initial uprising have been characterized by constant forays and negotiations between police, government officials, their respective party cadre, and the people of West Bengal. These conflicts have often taken the form of liberating and losing village territory to government factions. A particularly interesting moment occurred during the weeks prior to the April 2009 Lok Sabha elections. The PCPA put forth a popular demand that no police be allowed into villages during the elections. Although the residents of the areas supported the idea of allowing the polls to occur, they refused to allow them to happen if any police personnel were going to be present. After a long standoff, the villages finally allowed the polls to occur with police presence, but only far outside the villages where the police boycott existed. Any villagers interested in voting were given rides to the designated polling place on buses chartered by the Election Commission. (De, 2009)

An important feature of the uprising has been the oppressive role played by the Communist Party of India (Marxist), known as the CPM—the dominant party in West Bengal’s Left Front government. This “communist” party has been deeply involved with West Bengal’s capitalists for decades and has brutally exploited West Bengal’s large tribal population. In the Lalgarh area, CPM leaders routinely pocket development funds meant for the villagers, and their police forces arrest and torture adivasis suspected of working with the Maoists in the area. Recent Developments On June 14, 2009, the PCPA and Maoists conducted a large campaign where they liberated 48 villages and took control of CPI (Marxist) party buildings in Dharampur. They were met with fierce opposition and were involved in furious gun battles for days preceding these events, but, in the end, succeeded in freeing these villages. (Bhattacharyya, 2009) On June 16, 2009, there was another significant uprising in Lalgarh in which a large number of adivasis set numerous police camps on fire, drove security forces and CPI (Marxist) cadre and leaders out of Lalgarh, retaking control of the area. (Rediff, 2009) An especially important moment was the destruction of the palatial building of CPI (Marxist) leader Anuj Pandey, one of the most hated government officials of the region. The destruction of this building was of great symbolic meaning. It had stood as a tower of oppression keeping the adivasi people under its heavy shadow for many years. Its destruction has finally allowed the sunshine to pour in, lifting the spirits of flowers once so heavily choked by weeds. Unfortunately, since this uprising security forces have descended into the area and have carried out murderous repression campaigns of the same nature that sparked the initial movement. (Sanhati, 2009) We can only hope those facing these campaigns can effectively defend their new found freedom in significant ways. During at least the past few weeks the United States has been providing technical assistance to the Indian government to quell the rebellion, which has allowed them to monitor the areas of Baroperlia, Kantapahari, Ramgarh, Mahultal, Kadashol, Pingboni, Goaltore, Dhrampur and Jhitka (Rajarshee, 2009) as well as plan assaults.

The CPI (Maoist) was officially “banned” throughout India as well in June. Soon after, a spokesperson of the Maoist party, Gour Chakravarthy, was arrested in Kolkata while giving an interview. (Indian Express, 2009) The government has even gone so far as to arrest outsiders who have arrived as neutral observers. A team of intellectuals from Kolkata, including filmmaker Aparna Sen, (General Secretariat of the ILPS, 2009) and a ten-person team of social activists, were arrested and assaulted by police. (MSN News, 2009) Despite the huge mobilization of military units and support from foreign imperialist countries, the people of West Bengal and the Maoists have been able to hold their own against the Indian paramilitary forces by conducting guerrilla-style battles and by driving police back out of newly-seized areas. The tribal people have often mobilized blockades while the PCPA and Maoists have conducted more military-based struggles. (Bhattacharyya, Lalgarh Update) Indian_police_in_lalgarh Since July 4, 2009, paramilitary forces and the West Bengal State police have been sent to capture Pingboni and Birbhanpur. (One India, 2009)

They also have been combing the forests of the Lalgarh area of Kadashole, Salboni, Godamouli, Jhitka, Kantapahari, and Ronja as part of an assault on Maoist forces and tribal people. (Mondal, 2009) Some leaders of the PCPA are also being explicitly targeted for allegedly supporting the Maoists. Sixteen paramilitary groups are operating in the area including COBRA. According to some press reports, the military groups plan to stay in full force until at least the end of July. (The Hindu, 2009) As of July 8th, mainstream news agencies have reported that Lalgarh was recaptured. However, the Maoists forces stationed there were able to escape relatively unscathed to the jungles of Ayodhya hills in Purulia via Belpahari (Chaudhuri, 2009) and still a number of villages remain liberated (up to date numbers are difficult to ascertain).

Notable Characteristics of the Lalgarh Uprising demonstration_adivasis_lalgarhFrom the beginning the Lalgarh uprising has been a progressive force. Since its birth, this movement has had an undeniably organic character, and at its height, drew tens of thousands of villagers out to fight against the corrupt establishment. The movement, clearly born out of the struggles of the noble adivasi peasants, has transcended rural tribal lines in important ways by drawing solidarity and defense from broader sections of the populace including students (Sanhati, 2009), human rights organizations (Amnesty International, 2009), small store owners, and adivasi migrant workers. (Ray, 2009) Although spontaneous at birth, the movement has quickly taken shape and developed leadership along democratic lines. The first leading mass organization rising out of the struggle was the PCPA. After its formation, committees quickly appeared in multiple villages, often being lead by women. All the major decisions of this organization were decided at mass meetings consisting of up to 10,000 adivasis from hundreds of villages. (Ray, 2009) Aside from the mass democratic organization the PCPA, embryonic parallel governing structures have begun to emerge as well. These are known as Gram Committees, which were formed in January of 2009 as an alternative to the panchayat system, a tool of the ruling factions of India. Each committee consists of a 10-member elected body—five men and five women—with each body having two delegates for larger area meetings (10 villages). Above those committees are a total of 35 representatives for central committee meetings—at this level the male/female ratio is not required to be equal (with females occupying a minimum of 12 seats)—who play governing roles. Each decision these committees make must be ratified by a general assembly of people and at least 150 of these committees have been formed (although these numbers are rapidly changing). Along with Gram Committees, the villagers also have set up village defense committees—a form of militia—to protect the people from hermad, police, and CPI (Marxist) attacks. (Bhattacharyya, 2009) These committees are quite radical and novel departures from the traditionally patriarchal and authoritarian institutions of the area. Whenever these organizations meet with representatives from the official government, they demand that the officials sit on woven mats alongside them. This occurs in direct contradiction to the traditional practice of governing officials sitting in a chair while the people sit on the ground around them. (Ray, 2009) These practices have served to shatter the chains wrapped around the inhabitants of the area, elevating them from a subservient childlike position, to one of equality, one of a people no longer subject to the rule of a small elite. lalgarh_communal_kitchen A communal kitchen Over the course of the struggle, new developmental initiatives have taken place. In Kantapahari, a hospital set up two years ago, but never utilized by the government, was seized by the PCPA and renamed the “People’s Hospital.” The hospital opened its doors staffed with one physician and six health workers. (Bhattacharyya, 2009) The PCPA has also taken steps to deal with agriculture and water scarcity problems with the instillation of tubewells in multiple villages and irrigation projects such as canal dredging. These initiatives have all taken place solely on the basis of monetary contributions and voluntary labor. The Maoists have also been playing an important role in developmental projects by encouraging a model of self-sufficiency and sustainability as opposed to projects dominated by foreign capital and a wealthy elite. These projects have included health centers, drinking water and irrigation projects, and road development. Besides helping set up parallel governing structures, the Maoists, alongside the villagers, have built at least 50 kilometers of gravel paths, set up tube wells and water tanks, set up irrigation initiatives, and are running health centers. (Bhattacharyya, 2009) lalgarh_woman_armed_with_bowExciting developments have occurred explicitly within the women’s movement—practices such as fair representation have been won and women’s leadership in the general movement has served as an important offensive against traditional patriarchy. An all-women’s branch of the PCPA has been formed, which is not only responsible for the fight against police repression and CPI (Marxist) attacks, but also against domestic oppression. One important initiative of this movement has been the seizure of businesses that distribute alcohol. Those who ignore the ban on consumption can be subject to social boycott. [see note B] (Bhattacharyya, 2009)

Concluding Remarks

It is my belief that the facts overwhelmingly demonstrate that the battle occurring for Lalgarh’s liberation is a just one. This movement is one of unprecedented size to the area, born from and led by the indigenous inhabitants of the region for an undeniably just cause. Revolutionary people should be watching this movement, learning what we can, and offering whatever support possible. No doubt this struggle will be a long and brutal one, with the people of West Bengal facing many trials and tribulations. This is a uniquely polarizing moment in recent political history, already being called the new Naxalbari, and will most likely prove to be a locus of revolutionary struggle for some time to come.

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Solidarity Message from the Communist Party of Greece (marxist-leninist) ‘protest rally-picket on’ Tuesday, July 7th, in front of the Indian embassy, Athens.

Posted by ajadhind on July 7, 2009

Call for a protest rally-picket on Tuesday, July 7th, in front of the Indian Embassy, Athens.
Solidarity to the just struggle of the Adivasi in Lalgarh!

The Communist Party of Greece (marxist-leninist) stands by the side of the people in Lalgarh and supports their just struggle, condemns the atrocities conducted by the police and paramilitary forces, denounces the stance of the pseudo-communists that lead the government in Kalkota and calls upon parties, organizations, entities and independent activists to a protest rally-picket on Tuesday, July 7th, in front of the Indian embassy, Athens.

Communist Party of Greece (marxist-leninist)
Athens 2/7/2009

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SUPPORT THE HEROIC STRUGGLE OF ADIVASIS IN LALGARH, INDIA

Posted by ajadhind on July 2, 2009

Over the past week, thousands of Indian police and paramilitary forces have descended on Lalgarh, West Bengal to crush the just struggle of the adivasis (tribal people). Progressive people around the world must raise our voices to help break the reign of military terror that has been unleashed upon the people.

 

In November 2008, the adivasis of Lalgarh rose up against decades of abuse by the police and the “new landlords,” the local kingpins of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), commonly known as “CPM.” This is the same “communist” party that tried to take away peasants’ land in Nandigram and Singur, only to be beaten back and exposed by determined struggle.

 

In recent years, hundreds of adivasis in the Lalgarh area have been imprisoned on false charges of having ties with the Maoist insurgency.  They formed the People’s Committee against Police Atrocities (PCPA), which has extended its influence to hundreds of villages in the Lalgarh area.  In recent months, Maoist activists who have been working in the area for years initiated development projects for drinking water, irrigation, roads and health centers that have involved over 200,000 people. 

 

After CPM cadre fired on a demonstration led by the PCPA in early June, thousands of adivasis burned down CPM offices and police camps, symbols of unbridled power and oppression.  As the movement spread to new areas, the West Bengal Left Front government, led by the CPM, asked the central government to send in its armed forces to “retake” the area.  As several thousand West Bengal police and central paramilitaries moved towards Lalgarh, they were met with dug up roads, felled trees and massed demonstrations of adivasis trying to obstruct their progress. They also were dogged by landmines and a series of ambushes by the Maoist forces.  It took them 2 1/2 days to reach the Lalgarh police station.

 

When the police and paramilitaries reached Lalgarh, they moved to teach the adivasis a lesson.  CPM cadre dressed in police uniforms pointed out homes of PCPA members. Police broke into their  houses and dragged villagers outside to be beaten. Children were not spared; they broke the leg of a seven year old boy.  Hundreds of women were stripped naked and humiliated: a woman was raped with a rifle butt by a policeman.  The paramilitaries forced local youths to act as “human shields,” searching for hidden mines and explosives. Faced with this brutality, tens of thousands of adivasis were forced to flee their villages. Hundreds of houses have been burnt down and several thousand families were herded out of their villages. More than 20,000 people are placed now in make-shift camps looked after by the opposition parties.

 

Even during this military operation, the Maoists operating in the area held mass meetings of villagers only a few kilometers from the state forces. According to the Bengali daily Sanbad Pratidin of June 27, the U.S. and Israel have provided technical assistance that has allowed a recently launched Indian satellite to locate Maoist guerilla units in the dense forests. The West Bengal government also clamped down on outside observers. A team of intellectuals from Kolkata, included the film maker Aparna Sen, that visited Lalgarh and called for a cease fire was arrested and charged with subversion.  A week later, the Communist Party of India (Maoist) was banned throughout India, and Gour Chakravarthy, the open spokesperson of the CPI (Maoist) in West Bengal, was arrested in Kolkata while giving an interview inside a TV channel studio in Kolkata.

 

The adivasis of Lalgarh need the support of progressive and freedom-loving people around the world. The brutality of the West Bengal state and the Indian government must be brought into the light of day.

 

The International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS), (a worldwide alliance of democratic, anti-imperialist mass organizations) supports the heroic and just struggle of the people of Jangal MahalLalgarh and condemns the reactionary and anti-people ruling classes in India that hand in glove with the imperialist powers are hell bent on using brute force to crush the peoples resistance.

 

We urge all ILPS members, and other progressive, democratic and anti-imperialist people everywhere, to urgently build support for the struggling people of Lalgarh.  Statements of support, public meetings, and demonstrations at Indian embassies and consulates around the world can put pressure on the state to withdraw its occupying forces, and can let the struggling people of Lalgarh know that they have friends far beyond West Bengal.

 

Down with the fascist aggression of the CPM, the WB state and Central Indian state against people of India!

Down with the imperialism, Zionism and all other reaction!

Support the Heroic Struggle of Adivasis in Lalgarh, India!

 

 

General Secretariat

International League of Peoples’ Struggle

29/06/09

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Lalgarh Update

Posted by ajadhind on July 2, 2009

Amit Bhattacharyya

 

22-23 June 2009

 

Let us pick up the threads from the last report (published by Visthapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan as a book entitled Singur to Lalgarh via Nandigram, April 2009) which ended with the meeting between People’s Committee leaders and some members of the civil society with the chief electoral officer on 12 April. Ultimately it was decided by the election commission that polling booths would be shifted from areas that come under police boycott.  Lok Sabha elections throughout the country ended on 13 May and results were declared on 16 May. The phase of struggle that started from then on was something that was totally unprecedented in the history of our country—in depth, magnitude and significance.  The subsequent history can be divided into Phase III and Phase IV. Phase III is related to people’s movement, while Phase IV with the deployment of para-military forces, brutality perpetrated by them and resistance by the people and the Maoists.

 

Phase III

 

  • The attitude of the West Bengal ‘left-front’ government became clear when it refused to give permission to hold a demonstration in Kolkata to be organized jointly by CAVOW (Committee Against Violence on Women) and the women’s wing of the People’s Committee with traditional weapons on 5 June, as it would be political in nature.  The Kolkata police even threatened the local convenor of CAVOW with arrest if they did not listen. Such a decision is discriminatory. Processions with traditional weapons have always been allowed by the state government to the Muslims at the time of Muharram or to the Sikhs during their religious ceremonies. If the government allows these processions to take place as these were religious in nature, then how would they explain the holding of a procession in November 2007 by the CPI(M) after the recapture of Nandigram with adivasis wielding the same traditional weapons like bows, axes, etc.  The organisers were thus forced to shift the venue to West Medinipur. Traditional weapons are a part of tribal culture and the West Bengal government, acting in this way, actually rejected that very right of the tribal people. Superimposed upon it was the fact that when a cultural team went to Chakulia in Jharkhand on the Bengal-Jharkhand border to make propaganda among the adivasis there so that they could join the rally on 5 June, many of them were arrested by the Jharkhand police and a number of women were molested and one raped in Chakulia police station. When the Committee went to enter Jharkhand on their way to the Chakulia police station, a huge force was mobilised on the Jharkhand side and they were greeted with tear-gas shells.  Chhatradhar Mahato declared that the road from West Bengal to Jharkhand would be blocked to cut off supply lines if the arrested were not released. That resulted in the spread of the movement to new areas also. The administration retaliated with the promulgation of Section 144 of the Cr.PC within 2 kms of the Lalgarh police station. 

 

Meanwhile, the CPI(M) hit back to recover lost ground with 200 armed goons from Keshpur and Garbeta. On 11 June, they fired at PCAPA members such as Mirza Abdul Mannan, Hafiz Abdul Mannan and  Omar Sheikh. On 12 June, the goons shot and injured four members of the PCAPA namely, Syed Afsar Ali, Jainal Abedin, Sheikh Kamruddin and Safiur Rahman at Sijua (TOI, 12-6-09). The people retaliated quickly. One CPI (M) leader of a branch of Dharampur was killed.

 

Turning things upside down

 

On June 14, 2009, the People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) started from Lalgarh, covered 11 kms and took control of 48 villages including CPM party offices in Dharampur—an apparently invincible CPM citadel used by the CPM hermads for launching armed attacks on the people. This was preceded by intense firing between the CPM goons and the Maoist fighters for five days in areas such as Dharampur, Jirapara, Hodhodi and Bhaudi. An unspecified number of CPM goons (around 14) died, many people left their homes from the battlefront and the Maoists, according to press reports, have seized the weapons left behind by the miscreants. Then they attacked Sijua, a CPM stronghold that would allow them easy access to the Jindal’s proposed steel plant site at Salboni. So decisive was the power shift in Dharampur that CPM zonal secretary Anuj Pandey, a resident of the village, had to flee out of sheer panic.

 

Around midnight on 15 June, 320 policemen left their camps in Dharampur, Ramgarh, Belatikuti and Koima. Now thousands of villagers from Lalgarh, where the police had been unable to enter since November 2008, swept into areas known as CPM strongholds. They burnt down the police camps at Ramgarh and Kaima; one party office after another was burnt down by the masses, thereby betraying the pent-up hatred the people nourished towards the CPM leaders. One of the most hated of the despicable lot was Anuj Pandey. The time he came to West Medinipur from Jharkhand, he was a person of ordinary means. But gradually through party connections, this fellow minted millions out of the toil and sweat of the people, constructed a palatial building in an area where people have been deprived of the basic necessities of life. He was protected by three bodyguards for 24 hours and there was a police camp in front of his palace also. It was he who exercised total control over everything in the area, viz, distribution of pattas among the poor in the Dharampu area, clearance of 100 days’ work, BPL cards, application for the construction of deep tube-wells—all these and many more were controlled from the Dharampur party office. Votes were looted year after year by intimidation and application of terror. To suppress the opposition, armed hermads were sent from Dharampur by this fellow to Khejuri and Gorbeta. Whenever money came for bringing about development of the area, Anuj Pandey pocketed everything and bought arms and ammunition. In the name of giving employment, he robbed the poor of millions of rupees. The money that came through ‘Indira Yojana’, a rural development programme of the Union Government, could only belong to him. Many of those unfortunate ones who stood against or criticised him were killed by his hired goons. He had the last word there.  What happened to that palatial building?

 

It was broken down by the people. An English daily wrote: “The hammer rose and fell, the energy of the man behind it rising steadily as the blows gradually brought down chunks of concrete from the roof. On the first floor, three men were tearing down the fancy grills of the iron railing adorning the balcony. A huge crowd gathered below in the area now under Section 144 lustily cheering each blow that fell on the white two-story house, quite out of place in this land of deprivation under Lalgarh police station. By sundown, the hammers had chopped off the first floor, leaving behind a skeleton of what was a “posh” house in the morning’ (Hindustan Times, 16 June 2009).  Every punch of the hammer was greeted with the sound of the conch-shells made by the standing women (Sanbad Protidin, 16 June 2009). It was like a festival of the masses. For what was being demolished was the symbol of power, the symbol of oppression and domination. The adivasi women remarked that for them it was a social festival like that of Dussera when the effigy of Ravana—the villain of the Ramayana epic was burnt down. The women on that day talked about the inhuman treatment meted out to the people by that fellow and stated that their act of destruction was a spontaneous outburst emanating out of their veins. And then to climax it all, the Maoist leader, Bikash, addressed a press conference and stated their leadership in this movement (Ananda Bazar Patrika, 16-06-09). Whatever the role the Maoists might have played here, there is no doubt that this was a people’s movement where the masses played a very significant role. Later on, the Polit Bureau member of CPI (Maoist), Kishanji, in a press conference, also acknowledged the people’s role in unequivocal terms. The history of the role of the Maoists in this historic movement is still unknown and needs to be investigated and that, needless to state, would be an interesting study.

 

The destruction of the house was followed by the destruction of the CPI (M) party office and the destruction also of another goon, leader of the ruling CPI (M), Dalim Pandey who is the secretary of the Dharampur local committee. That act was equally celebrated by the women with the sound of the conch-shells (Sanbad Pratidin, 16 June, 2009). What was the reaction of Bimal Pandey, cousin (brother) of Anuj Pandey whose palace was struck down as a result of people’s pent-up anger and hatred? Their house was by the side of that of Anuj Pandey. Bimal Pandey said: “I have seen oppression and injustice being done before my very eyes. But I did not have the courage to speak out against. Lalgarh became liberated on Monday. Why should I feel sorry?”(Ekdin, 17 June, 2009). That this destruction of symbols of power brought about liberation is the feeling of other residents of Dharampur as well. They claim that Dharampur under the CPI (M) rule was unfree. In one case, before one party office was attacked, photographs of Bhagat Singh, Subhas Chandra Bose and Kshudiram Bose were carefully taken out and placed by a tree trunk and then property kept inside the party office was burnt down. And to cap it all, there was no looting at all. Refuting the charges put forward from some quarters that the PCAPA had only created anarchy and did much harm to the common people, Chhabirani Mahato of Dharampur told a newspaper correspondent: “Although party office (ruling party) buildings and residences of party leaders have been broken, the members of the People’s Committee did not do any harm to the common people. Nothing has been looted from the houses. All the rooms in the village remain the same as before” (Ekdin, 23 June 2009).

 

Events took place in quick succession as if people suppressed for ages were in a great hurry to settle scores with their enemies. They torched police stations and demolished party strongholds. The deliberate show of strength came within hours of the administration puling forces out of police camps in Belatikri, Dharampur, Ramgarh and Koima. The first wave of attacks hit the Koima camp around 11 am. PCAPA had called a meeting in the Mohulbani forest nearby, after which, according a press report, armed supporters and Maoists ransacked the camp and set furniture and building on fire. The committee members had gheraoed the Koima camp over the past few days, leaving the policemen posted there without any food or water. Policemen had moved out through the night. Others fanned out across a 25-sq km area over the next few hours, with the attacks targeting administrative and CPI (M) party strongholds. Next to fall was the Ramgarh police camp. After that the Dharampur ruling party office was targeted (TOI, 16 June 2009). On the next day, the Lalgarh party office was targeted. Thousands of men and women carrying axes and tongies joined in celebration as the office along with the papers and furniture were set on fire. Although, section 144 was declared, thousands of people defied and rejected it and met at a huge gathering near the police station. Representatives of the BUPC(Resistance Committee Against Eviction from Land) from Nandigram as also those of Adibasi Bikash Parishad from north Bengal joined that gathering(Bartaman, 17 June 2009).

 

The events at Dharampur and other areas reminds one of the days of earlier peasant rebellions when the rebels attacked the houses of the landlords, kacharies and granaries, destroyed property, killed them if they could, burnt down land deeds whereby the hated landlords fleeced the poor peasants and distributed food among poor which rightfully belonged to them. In the Jangal Mahal also, the rebels of Lalgarh attacked the ‘new landlords’ i.e., the CPI(M) leaders, their houses and the party offices—all of which were symbols of power and exploitation and the cause of their indignity and humiliation. By so doing they not only destroyed the power of the oppressors, they also asserted their own power and authority. To use William Hinton’s words, it was fanshen i.e., turning things upside down.

 

 

New model of development

 

The people’s struggle in Jangal Mahal has ushered in some development work keeping the basic needs of the people, and there the Maoists had a role to play. The Maoists have already initiated a development model which is opposed to that followed by the Indian state. Unlike the model which opts for dependence on foreign capital and technology—a model followed in India by all central and state governments since 1947—the Maoist model stands for self-reliance, equitable distribution of wealth, all-round development at the grassroots level and opposition to foreign imperialist control and influence. In Dandakaranya, where they have already set up a new society, this new pro-people model of development has been experimented for quite some time. Although details are still not known, some preliminary efforts along this line have been attempted in the West Medinipur district. This is evident from the following newspaper report captioned ‘Welcome to India’s newest secret state’. The correspondent, Snigdhendu Bhattacharya  writes: “Here across a 1,000 sq.km area bordering Orissa in West Medinipur district, the Maoists over the last 8 months have quietly unleashed new weapons in their battle against the Indian state: drinking water, irrigation, roads and health centres….carefully shielded from the public eye, the Hindustan Times found India’s second ‘liberated zone’, a Maoist-run state within a state where development for more than 2 lakh people is unfolding at a pace not seen in 30 years of ‘left front’ rule. Apart from taking over the organs of the state and most notably the executive and the judiciary, the Maoists here have built at least 50 km of gravel paths, dug tube-wells and tanks, rebuilt irrigation canals and are running health centres, with the help of local villagers”(HT, 10 June 2009).

 

 

Phase IV

 

In the face of people’s wrath, the West Bengal government stood idle. They were probably still haunted by the spectre of Nandigram; also, the major ruling party and its front partners had been trying hard to recover from the deep scar that their loss in the last elections had caused. To them, what had been taking place in Lalgarh and adjoining areas was anarchy and so order should be restored at all costs. The Chief Minister of West Bengal went to meet P.Chidambaran, the Union Home Minister to seek central help to suppress this people’s rising (Ananda Bazar Patrika, 12 June 2009). One of the front partners, the CPI—its leader Nandagopal Bhattacharya–even asked Biman Bose, the ‘left-front’ chairman, to consider thinking about sending the army to Lalgarh(Aaj Bikash, 16-6-09).

 

The decision to send in central forces was taken by the central Home Minister in no time. What has surprised many is the magnitude of central involvement in what it described as ‘Operation Lalgarh’. Besides the state police forces such as the police and the RAF, New Delhi introduced companies of CRPF, EFR, BSF, the notorious CoBra, Straco and Vayusena with Kalaikunda air force base located nearby and with the Greyhounds as stand-by forces. Such a huge mobilization of forces was, with the possible exceptions in Jammu & Kashmir and Chhattisgarh, quite unprecedented in the history of our country. It was nothing but what many people regarded as the declaration of war against the people of Jangal Mahal. That war against the people began with much fanfare by Buddhadev Bhattacharya, the ‘Marxist’  Chief Minister of West Bengal, under media glare on 18 June. The aim was to ‘liberate’ areas under 18 police stations which came under the control of the PCAPA(Ganashakti, 19 June 2009). The whole operation, thanks to the media coverage,  gave the unmistakable impression that an invading army, armed to the teeth, had descended from heaven to take on the Maoist insurgents and to give them a brutal lesson. The media, virtually without any exception, covered front page news of the expedition and nobody bothered to question the validity or the possible impact that it was most likely to have on the people of Jangal Mahal. Some dailies carried front page captions such as “Buddha orders crackdown, Maoists sound war cry” or “Action at last”, or“Greyhounds on standby. Cobras crawl in, save venom for final bite”. It was, as if, a holy war was being conducted by the central and state governments against the Maoist infidels. Not a single media house initially raised the voice against the war. One Vayusena helicopter was introduced to drop leaflets in Santhali and Bengali languages making appeals to the people to refrain from mixing with the Maoist ‘terrorists’. That reminds one of the way in which Naga Battalion was introduced into Chhattisgarh to suppress the Maoist movement. Actually, it was a psychological war on the part of the state to isolate the Maoists from the people or the ‘fish from water’. That attempt, however, as the state home department had to admit reluctantly, did not succeed.  Meanwhile, after giving the order for ‘Operation Lalgarh’, the West Bengal Chief Minister left for New Delhi.

 

‘Operation Lalgarh’ and the resistance by the People and the Maoists

 

The military operation against the people of Lalgarh, despite this massive show of strength, was not at all a smooth affair. It took two days and a half for the forces to reach, by covering about 70 kms, the Lalgarh police station. On the way, they met with people’s resistance at different points. Roads were dug, trees were cut down, very heavy stones were placed on the main roads at several points to prevent the advance of the para-military forces. People shot arrows from different sides, women and children tried to obstruct the progress as far as possible. The police used teargas shells and started beating people mercilessly with women falling on the ground and still being beaten. Landmines exploded causing damage to a bridge and a culvert which stalled the advance of the specially trained elite military forces. The battle that everyone expected since the beginning of the operation erupted just as the sun was setting on 19th – the second day. The Maoist fighters fired at central forces in Kuldiha—one of the areas cleared by police the previous day. At Pingboni, some constables rushed forward with lathis, only to scatter themselves soon as arrows were shot at them. Suddenly, a deafening silence ripped though. One of the policemen had apparently tripped a booby trap—an IED rigged to a tree. That was the signal for the Maoists to open fire. Completely taken by surprise, policemen scrambled for cover (TOI, 21 June 2009). The  blast hit the Domkal sub-divisional police officer’s car in Pirakata critically injuring four policemen. A culvert was blown up at Nimtala and around 9 am, heavy gunfire was heard near Lalgarh police station. Rattled by the attack, many constables reportedly refused to carry out any operation without central forces accompanying them(TOI, 21 June 2009).

 

What surprised the police was that all the attacks occurred in areas that security forces had swept through only the previous day. According to one report, it was a classic case of an attacking army moving faster than the generals expected. The forces covered 12 km on Day one, but their lines stretched thin. No force was deployed in the 7-km stretch between Pirakata and Pirakhali, which had been ‘sanitized’ by the security forces on Day one. There were huge gaps at the rear that the Maoists stealthily moved in to exploit and ambushed the forces from behind. Another contingent of central forces with minesweepers started from the Sarenga end(a forest area between Goaltore and Ranibandh) towards the West Medinipur border. On Day two, they started advancing from Pirakhali and after one hour, covered a distance of only one km and came to a halt at Bhimpur. Minesweepers and detectors were used to locate explosives. But the operation was abruptly suspended and the forces moved into Bhimpur High school where they stayed put for six hours. The para-military officer reportedly wanted police to remove barricades and take on PCAPA, while central forces would battle armed Maoists. A difference of opinion cropped up and nothing moved. While the meeting was on, it was reported that a 100-man Maoists guerrillas had taken up position in the paddy fields of Kuldiha, 14 km from Lalgarh(TOI, 20 June 2009). In many places boulders were placed, human barricades were created and broken, then created again. Ultimately, forty-five tense hours after the operation started, security forces entered Lalgarh town and reached the police station kept virtually locked from inside by the policemen. These security forces breathed a sigh of relief and celebrated in  manner that Jaffna had at last fallen to them.

 

 

Atrocities by the security forces/hermads

 

The first obstruction raised by the people was on way to Malida with trees cut down and placed on the road and human shields comprising both men and women with traditional weapons and women in the front. Police announced through the hand-mike to disperse within two minutes. People replied with the slogans: “We would not allow police forces that back CPI (M) hermads to advance”. Within a few seconds, police action started; teargas was fired and they rushed towards the crowd with batons and rifles. One group chased the demonstrators to their village Melda and spared not even women, children, teenagers, old men and women. Many of them had been bleeding profusely due to beating. The state armed forces broke into houses and literally dragged people from inside to beat them up in a savage manner (Bartaman, 19 June 2009). A fourteen-year old boy had fled from teargas attacks and asked his grandmother to save him from police beating. By then, the police had already started beating up the grandmother. As she writhed in pain, the boy rushed into the room. Buddhadev’s sentry, according to a reporter, had still been beating the old granny. When a photographer, Ashutosh Patra of Sanbad Pratidin went to take the photo, he was beaten by the police. Four or five policemen entered the room and within two minutes, came out by dragging the boy by the hair; he was naked with blood scars on all parts of the body. He was taken prisoner. Scenes such as these were enacted in many houses in villages such as Pirakuli, Dhanguri and others.(Sanbad Pratidin, 19 June 2009).

 

The security forces failed to advance more than 7 kms from Goaltore in six hours for fear of landmines. That made them so angry that they attacked old men and women, patients and local sportsmen. They poured their venom on the people as they had boycotted the police in their areas. At Pingboni, Bankura, many people were seriously injured, such as Chandicharan Pal and Ranjit Karak, the latter being an epilepsy patients. Both were residents of Shyampur village under Jaipur police station(Bartaman, 20 June 2009).

 

When on 22 June, some intellectuals from Kolkata went to Malida, gory details of humiliation and torture of a sadistic nature came to light. The correspondent of a Bengali daily gave a vivid description, and here is a free translation into English: “All on a sudden, a woman came and got hold of Saonli Mitra’s feet similar to the way a sinking man catches a straw to remain alive. She could not control her tears. ‘Didi(Sister), save us. They will not let us go. Police had entered our house and has only kept us alive. Everything else they had robbed. She broke into tears as she spoke”. The police broke her house, beat her black and blue. As she writhed in pain, one armed police hit her back with the pointed part of the gun. Her mother-in-law pleaded with them to spare her. “But who will listen to whom? They stripped me. I was totally helpless. Before I could realize what was being done to me, the rifle butt was pressed into my vagina. They held my two hands tight. They were throwing all types of abusive languages and continued beating me with sticks”. They did these things as the call for the boycott of police was written on our house. The same was the picture in the villages of Goaltore, Belpahari and Sarenga where the team visited. Even a seven-year old child was not spared by the police force of Buddhadev Bhattacharya. The child was beaten in front of his mother and one of his legs was broken (Ekdin 22 June 2009).

 

That is not all. In some villages, human excreta was thrown into the wells from which drinking water was drawn so as to deprive them of even any source of drinking water at all.

 

CPI(M) hermads in police uniform operate like vultures in the Nandigram style

 

The PCAPA has accused the CPI (M) hermads of entering Lalgarh in police uniform in collusion with the state police forces and identifying the houses of members of the People’s Committee to the police so that they could target them with ease. These goons masquerading as police trailed behind the security forces and started attacking committee members to regain control over so that they could again establish their fascist rule over the people (Dainik Statesman, 22 June 2009). The 40 odd houses in Kuldiha village were attacked by the police on the charge giving food and shelter to the Maoists. The victims of police repression from many villages such as Kuldiha, Pyachapara, Jamboni, Mahatopur, Nimtola, Malida, Pukuriashol, Amchor, Salboni, Saboli, Pirrakuli, Dhorashol, Boro Pukuriashol, Korma, Belashol, Pirakata, Boro Kolshibhanga, Sorberia, Dhangouri and Jorka came to Pirakata primary school for shelter and food. The tales are the same. Strip the women, humiliate them in every conceivable manner and make them break down so that they are never able to hold their heads high again. When Usharani Singh, Gitabani Mahato, Alo Mahato and other women were relating tales of their humiliation and molestation, they categorically referred to the presence of CPI (M) goons in new khaki dress with shoes different from that of the police force—similar to that in Nandigram. Many of them were forced to strip in front of these beasts in human figures(Dainik Statesman, 22 June 2009).

 

 

 

Human Rights Commission and Amnesty International accuse the governments

 

Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission and the Amnesty International had strongly criticised the Central and West Bengal state governments for torturing adivasi people and warned that unless these were stopped, stern action would be taken against the government (Sanbad Pratidin, 23 June 2009).

 

Cops force people to look for IEDs

 

The government that has many a time accused the Maoists of forcing people to act as human shields is itself doing the same thing. In fact, state armed forces—terrified of IED explosions—caught hold of local youths and forced them to poke around for hidden mines and explosives. A newspaper carried pictures of this near Dhangori village(TOI, 22 June 2009).

 

Relief camps for people

 

As a result of police atrocities, thousands of people were forced to flee their villages and take shelter in the relief camps being set up in Pirakata and Goaltore by the TMC. Bikash Mohit and Chanchal Mohit described with tearful eyes how people were tortured by the security forces and the police. Poison was dropped into their well as, the police said, the Maoists come to take water from the well. All the villagers were picked up on the mere suspicion of being Maoists(Bikeler Pratidin, 22 June 2009).

 

Maoists speak

 

One remarkable feature, quite unprecedented in the history of the Maoist movement is that Maoist leaders addressed press conferences or engaged in telephonic interviews with many TV channels or newspapers. At a time when the situation is particularly critical for the Maoists and the hunt is on for their capture or death by encounter, they talked to the media with ease and expressed their views. At a time when the West Bengal administration as also some media declared that top leaders like Kishanji had fled to Jharkhand, Kishanji appeared before the media or got engaged in telephonic interviews with different channels and asserted his presence in Lalgarh. He stated that this people’s war could never be defeated by armed power, ridiculed Buddhadev Bhattacharjjee as a pawn in the hands of the Central Home Minister and also replied to many questions posed by the media. He also appealed to the urban intellectuals to come to Lalgarh and see with their own eyes the brutality committed by the security forces. He also stated that the West Bengal government should immediately stop this para-military operation failing which they would encounter a conflagration in the whole Jangal Mahal(Sanbad Pratidin, 21 June 2009). This indeed is unprecedented.

 

Visit by Intellectuals

 

Many intellectuals from Kolkata such as Aparna Sen, Saonli Mitra, Kaushik Sen, Joy Goswami, Bolan Gangopadhyay and some others visited Lalgarh and other places. They condemned the police atrocities in unequivocal terms and made appeals to the government to stop this para-military operation and to the Maoists to cease fire.(HT, 22 June 2009). According to news reports, cases have been registered against them in Lalgarh police station for breaking section 144. This is vindictiveness at its worst.

 

Observations

 

The Battle for Lalgarh is going to be a long-drawn affair. At present, the security forces are consolidating their position. There is no news from the Maoist camp. As one newspaper stated, some sort of a psychological war had been going on between the Maoists and the security forces. The seemingly impregnable security forces are still being haunted by the landmine spectre. The impact of the two-day bandh in some states of the country called by the Maoists was felt in the three districts of West Bengal.  The last two days had been rather eventless, except the destruction and burning of some CPI (M) party offices.

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Report of fact-finding team from JNU on the eve of Lalgarh violence

Posted by ajadhind on June 21, 2009

source -sanhati
June 17, 2009 (revised version June 20). By a fact finding team of students from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
A 9 member fact finding team comprising students from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and journalists recently visited Lalgarh, to probe into the reality of the ongoing movement of the people in the area. Here is a preliminary account of our observations. We would like to appeal to your daily/ news channel to highlight on certain issues of the movement, which have so far been overlooked and neglected by the media.
We heard through various media and other sources that massive state repression had been underway in Lalgarh and other adjacent areas since November 2008, after the attempted mine blast on the convoy of Buddhadeb Bhattacharya. We had learnt of the incidents of rampant police atrocities after this land mine blast, especially on women and school children in the area. Following this the people there had formed the Pulishi Santrash Birodhi Janasadharoner Committee (PSBJC) or the People’s Committee against Police Atrocities and have blockaded Lalgarh and other adjoining areas from police and other administration. With these preliminary facts in hand, we visited Lalgarh from 7 to 10 June. The team visited the villages of Chhotapelia, Katapahari, Bohardanga, Sijua, Dain Tikri, Sindurpur, Madhupur, Babui Basha, Shaluka, Moltola Kadoshol, Basban, Papuria, Komladanga, pukhria, Korengapara, gopalnagar, Khash jongol, Shaalboni, Shaal danga, Andharmari, Darigera, Bhuladanga, Chitaram Dahi, Teshabandh, Bhuladanga and talked extensively to people. We attended a big meeting called by the People’s Committee in Lodhashuli on the 7th of June and witnessed other small meetings which were held inside the villages. A firing and frontal battle between the people on the one hand and the state and armed gangs of the CPM on the other, in Dharampura and Madhupur/Shijua had started during our stay in Lalgarh.
The visit to Lalgarh and interaction with the people broke many of the myths which we still held before going there. After listening to the chronological narrative of the history of police atrocities in the area, we realized that the November incidents were not unique. It was merely the continuation of extreme state terror and police atrocities that the people of the region have been subjected to since 2000.
What is unique this time is the resistance, which has taken an organized and sustained shape this time around.
The people in all the villages we visited conclusively verified police torture. They described how the police entered houses very late at night, and in the name of ‘raids’ and ‘checks’ vandalized their houses and mercilessly beat them up, how any movement of the villagers at night even to look for their cattle was banned. Almost every family had one or more members who had been booked for being a ‘Maoist’. We were told about the 90 year old Maiku Murmu of Teshabandh who was beaten to death by the police way back in 2006. Young school girls were regularly molested by the police in the pretext of ‘body check’. Women were forced to show their genitals at night during ‘raids’ to confirm their gender. Before every election 30-40 people from every village were picked up as ‘Maoists’ in order to weaken the opposition to the ruling CPI (M). The incident of police brutality in Chhotopelia, where a number of women were ruthlessly beaten up and one of them Chhitamoni lost her eye, acted as the last straw. The arrest of three students on the baseless charge of ‘waging war against the state’ further enraged the people. Lalgarh have now risen up-in-arms against this long drawn atrocities and organised oppression of the CPI (M)
For the villagers, police terror was accompanied by the terror unleashed by CPI (M). In fact, the police and CPI (M) are not just in alliance with each other, they meant one and the same thing for the villagers. Our team was taken to Madhupur, where the local panchayat office had been turned into a camp of the harmad vahini (armed gangs of the CPM). They told us how the ‘motor cycle army’ of the harmads roamed around the villages, terrorizing people, breaking their houses brutally, firing in the air, and beating people up, exactly in the same way they did in Nandigram. The police not only stood as mute spectators whenever the harmads went on a rampage, it supported them in all possible ways. The harmads even used police jeeps to move around. To return these ‘favours’, the local CPI (M) cadres acted as informers for the police. We met one villager whose house was demolished by the harmad, during which he kept calling the police for help, but they never came. Similarly, they narrated the incident of Khash Jongol where the harmads open fired on a village meeting and killed three people, injuring three others. It was only after an armed resistance was put up by the villagers, that the harmads were forced to retreat to Memul and then to Shijua.
The Committee was formed against police atrocities but has also been carrying out alternative developmental work inside Lalgarh in the past seven months. These areas are marked by extreme poverty and backwardness. Agriculture is dependent on rainfall which is scanty. We saw the dysfunctional government canal, which is lying dry. They showed us the pathetic condition of roads which become completely inaccessible during the monsoons. The Committee on its own has made 20 km of roads with red stone chips (‘morrum’), with villagers volunteering their labour. They have repaired several tubewells, and have installed new ones at half the price than the panchayat. They have also started constructing a check dam in Bohardanga to fight the water crisis. Two major works undertaken by the committee is the process of land distribution and running a health center in Katapahari. The government was supposed to distribute wasteland among the landless, but never did so. Now the Committee is taking initiative in Banshberi and other villages to distribute the wasteland adjacent to the forests to the landless people. We witnessed the distribution of the patta in one village. The Committee has also turned a dysfunctional building in Katapahari into a health center, which attends to more than 150 patients every day. Doctors from Kolkata and other regions visit there thrice a week.
We had also attended a huge meeting called by the Committee in Lodhashuli against a sponge iron factory located in the region. We visited the factory site and saw the adverse effect of pollution on the trees, water bodies and land. The people informed that even the paddy grown in the region have turned black, so much so that even the panchayat has refused to accept the paddy. The meeting was attended by around 12000 people from many villages of the district, despite a bus strike called by CPM. It was a vibrant meeting, where the committee resolved among other things to boycott the factory and bring about its closure.
The presence of the Maoists within Lalgarh was one of the most contended issues during our visit. Our team observed the presence of Maoists and that they had mass support of the people in this area. Their posters could be seen everywhere. We were informed by the villagers that Maoists have held meetings attended by thousands of people. The people seemed pretty clear about the need for an armed resistance in the face of the regular joint attacks by the CPM and the state. The restriction on carrying traditional arms by them is a clear signal by the state to debilitate this movement.
This team was witness to the genuine anger and suffering of the people. Therefore, we do not agree with many sections sections of the media which brand the resistance there as ‘anarchy’. We also believe that the police, administration and CPM are solely responsible for the current situation in Lalgarh.
By the time we left Lalgarh, the struggle has intensified. By then, the people had been successful in making their immediate enemy CPM to escape along with the police. The enthusiasm we saw in the people was exuberant. For the first time they are being part of not some vote-minting political party but a committee which is their own organization. They are living a life free of state terror and building their own developmental projects. In different villages many residents held one opinion in common, ‘we have got independence for the first time’. Their fight is against age old exploitation, deprivation, torture and terror. In this way, it is a historic fight.
We urge the media to revisit Lalgarh. The movement has its roots in extremely impoverished socio economic conditions increased by the inaction of the state. The state is bound to strike back at this fight of the people. The CRPF and other central forces will soon come with the orders to open fire on the resilient masses. The state government is also shamelessly asking the notorious and infamous Grey hounds and Cobra to come and crush the people’s movement. That will be the most unfortunate and condemnable thing. The anger of the masses against massive state terror, underdevelopment and corruption is valid. And so is the fight against it. This team will publish a detailed report based on our visit about this movement in Lalgarh. We remember the progressive role played by some sections of the media especially the regional media in Bengal progressive role during the Nandigram movement and would appeal to you to also stand by the people of Lalgarh and their genuine fight before the state carries out yet another genocide.
Priya Ranjan, Banojyotsna, Sumati, Anirban, Gogol, Kusum, Reyaz, Yadvinder, Veer Singh,
Contact: 09711826861

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