May 2, 2009


MIDNAPORE(INN): When we reached the spot at a remote corner of Jambani in Midnapore west, where an improvised explosive device or IED detonation buried in a desolate part of the road leading to Jhargram town, had taken place post-poll in the evening of 30 April, and we were met with the combined reek of blasting powder, of human remains -- the bodies were scattered over a half-a-kilometre radius -- and with the smell of death.

Prasada Bandyopadhyay, polling work completed, rang up his ailing and elderly father telling him that everything was all right and that he was well on his way home, and then he asked of his three-year old daughter to ‘tell mummy to have some food ready.’ He had hardly beeped off his cell phone when the word turned topsy-turvy for the Bandyopadhyay family.

The IED exploded with ferocious impact on the jeep Prasada and two of his colleagues Sougata including the chauffeur Sanjay Das were travelling in. We found little evidence of the vehicle other than a few steel parts from the engine. The body parts were flung as high as the flowering Palash trees crowding both sides of the metalled road, trees that reached out 40 feet into the sky. A ‘Maoist’ leaflet later clamed with glee that they had exploded the devices and that ‘many more deaths would follow.’

What is tragic is the fact that Prasada who was computer software engineers, and his men innocently believed in -- and that cost them their lives-- what the ‘Maoist’ posters had earlier proclaimed in the jangal mahal that: ‘we shall only kill police personnel and not the civilian populace.’ Does one believe the cruel criminal, the merciless and opportunistic hunter of men and women, the social evil incarnate, and the people on the dangerous lunatic fringe?

As we had reported earlier, the presence of the fourth component during what was purported to be a tripartite meeting that the CEO Bengal took with the Maoist backed ‘people’ committee,’ upset all equations, leaking in profusion the poll arrangements to the criminals and the killers. A slip meant the death of three men, and a dirge-like impact on their family units, especially as all three men who mat such a cruel end on the line of duty were the only earners in their household units.

Expectedly, none of the opposition political groupings, none of the foreign-funded ‘democracy-mad’ NGOs, none of the members of the ‘civil society’ would deign to utter a single word in empathy for the departed and for those the murdered left behind.

Earlier, last October, a similar IED blast had left a doctor Dhaniram Mandi, a nurse, Bharati Mandi, and the chauffeur Pranay Mishir, dead much in the same spot. It is believed by the local Party unit that the same gang had brought about the latest detonation and that they operate out of a remote forest area of Jharkhand across the porous border.

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