JHARGRAM:It was in the feint emitting light of a rain-melted sundown and amidst the caressing whisper of soft breeze of his favourite patch of sal trees that comrade Jaladhar Mahato, a CPI (M) zonal committee member of the Jhargram Gramin (rural) unit, was pitilessly gunned down. The assailants were hired killers on the payroll of the ‘Maoists’ across the border in Jharkhand. This happened on 19 July.
In a macabre development, the ‘news’ of this gruesome misdeed was then quickly text messaged in ugly gloat from across the border to a select group of reporters who the ‘Maoist’ assassins feel are their simpatico partners in their criminal hatred against the Communists. Murder it is not, boasted the message, but a part of ‘annihilation of class enemies.’
Comrade Jaladhar (52) was alone and travelling on his trusty if old motorcycle after having led a meeting of the local Gramin unit of the CPI (M) some time back late in the afternoon. The locality is near the Jhargram police station. The attackers struck with deadly precision at a lonely part of the dense forestry.
Whenever a rattle of automatic weapons is heard in the jangal mahal, and this has been the fact for some time now, it usually is the signal and the tragedy of yet another criminal attack on CPI (M) workers. The villagers rushed out after the initial shock. The only sight that confronted them was the martyred remains of comrade Jaladhar who had been shot twice in the head and as many times on his chest.
Comrade Jaladhar leaves behind his much-beloved wife who has been a mentally-retardant for some years now, and who is not quite able to pin-point what has actually gone wrong with the villagers who are in a teary if angry mood. The sight is piteous. The fallen comrade also leaves behind, for the Party and the village to care for and to bring up, a daughter and a son.
Comrade Jaladhar was a small kisan by calling and farmed a tiny plot of land for vegetables, in a clearing of the jangal mahal. A staunch Party leader, comrade Jaladhar was fond and affectionate in nature, and had a particular soft spot for the wide swathe of sal trees that shaded his hutment for, amidst them he had grown up albeit through a bitterly poverty-ridden childhood. Was he, then the ‘class enemy’ the ‘Maoists’ would be ‘glad to annihilate’?
Elsewhere in Midnapore west in a related development and on the same evening, the ‘Maoists’ with direct help from local Trinamuli killers assassinated a CPI (M) worker, comrade Ashok Ghosh at Goaltore.
Comrade Ashok (35) was a humble shop-keeper. He was closing shop-- and as he was downing his wood-and-tin shamble of a ‘shutter,’ he was pounced upon and shot on the head with countrymade six-shooters, by an unknown number of attackers.
The criminals then proceeded to ransack the shop and made off with whatever they could lay their hands on before the people of the locale rushed in. Bengal CPI (M) has strongly protested the two ‘Maoist’ killings.