February 6, 2009


KOLKATA: An act of unimagined inhumanity unfolded before my eyes, deep into the evening of 2 February at Lalgarh. The cortege carrying the mortal remains of the martyr comrade Nandalal draped in a large Red flag was on its way towards the designated place for the last rites deep in the afforested area of Ramgarh. The procession comprised several thousand villagers and was led by the local committee members of the CP (M). The villagers wept angrily for, comrade Nanda had been a household name, always available by their side, rain nor shine. The entire ambience was a mix of rousing slogans and bitter tears.

As the cortege took the final bridle path that would lead to Ramgarh, the marchers found themselves confronted by a dozen-odd heavily armed, masked men and women who rudely declared that the cortege must not proceed farther, the body must be left behind and the marchers gone. A veritable thunderclap of a sound wave hit the accosters as rousing slogans rent the air. The Maoists made a temporary, as it turned out, retreat.

They came back with guns blazing. A very unequal mêlée ensued before our eyes. The CPI (M) workers threw a ring around comrade Nanda’s body while the villagers started to pelt the shooters with brickbats and stones. Palestine and Lebanon have shown that stones are no match for bullets raining death from automatic weapons. Three CPI (M) workers fell.10 were carried off with severe wounds to the chest and abdomen. Yet, the CPI (M) wouldn’t give an inch of the forest land to the craven Maoists who finally chose discretion as the better part of valour and ran away. The last remains of comrade Nandalal were subsequently carried to his native village where they were consigned to flames.

The next morning we met up, at the Lalgarh bazaar, with a self-proclaimed ‘Maoist’ supremo who spoke to us on conditions of anonymity although he his name frequently appears in the corporate newspapers. Openly acceding and maybe with a touch of cravenly boast the shoddy fact that he worked as a leader of the local Trinamul Congress unit during the day while taking on the persona of a Maoist killer when daylight has faded from the jungle mahal of the Santhal Pargana, the double-faced goon freely noted that a spree of killing of CPI (M leaders and workers ‘has been decided on,’ by the ‘joint command’ to work back a terror and abject fear in to the hearts often villagers, and thus also gaining the 'ground lost politically,' of recent yore. He also boasted of the publicity that the killings received in the right manner in the big media. How right the man was. Coming back t the city, I note every one of the corporate media organ, print or audio-visual deep in thought abut ‘who fired the shots at Lalgarh and Ramgarh....(INN)

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