January 21, 2009


KOLKATA: In the late morning of 20 January, the anarchic separatist activists of the so-called ‘greater Coochbehar’ movement blockaded the busy north-south national highway 34. Initially, 40-odd youth loitered in and out of the road space at Raigunj, dislocation traffic as a logjam started to build up.

Then suddenly, catching everybody by surprise, 500-odd armed separatists, equipped with sharp, cutting weapons, and a few countrymade firearms came out from the roadsides, sat themselves down on the highway and started to attack vehicles as well as passers by including cyclists through heckling, threats and pelting of stones and brickbats. They also created an atmosphere of provocation and the villagers and urban dwellers of the area came out in sheer frustration at the block.

By 12 noon, the civil administration of the subdivision and the police argued with the separatists to withdraw the blockade as tension was on the rise. In response, the divisive elements launched an armed attack on the police and regrettable the latter had to resort to a ‘push back’ through a lathi charge. A few tear gas shells too had to be lobbed. The way was soon cleared.

In a statement, Biman Basu, state secretary, Bengal CPI (M) has condemned the separatists’ acts of commission and has said that the separatists’ ranks are filled with the worker of the Trinamul Congress, the BJP, and the Pradesh Congress, the latter always willing to fish in troubled waters. Biman notes that one Shivaji Sarkar, who leads the Coochbehar separatists, is often seen as a leader of the local unit of the Trinamul Congress, the BJP, and the Pradesh Congress.

Under Sarkar’s nefarious leadership, the separatists have been engaged for some time in a covert manner to create spurts of disturbing of the public life in the district. Sarkar’s henchmen-in-chief are Katan Burman, Sashthu Burman, and Bundilal Burman of Bhatol. Biman has appealed to the Left and democratic forces and the mass of the people of Raigunj and north Dinajpore to protest vociferously against the attempts made afresh to create disruption by the forces of division and separatism. The clique that would go to the extent to call for a de novo division of the state must be isolated from the masses, by the masses, said the CPI (M) leader. (INN)

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