September 29, 2009

'Nothing wrong in cops disguised as journos making arrest'

Kolkata,September 29, 2009: There was nothing unethical about the arrest of Chhatradhar Mahato by the police disguised as journalists, a top West Bengal official said on Wednesday. "It was not unethical on the part of the police," Home Secretary Ardhendu Sen said in reply to a question if it was justified for the CID to arrest Mahato disguised as scribes.
Sen suggested that as a measure of caution journalists contacting Maoists should do so over phone for some days. "The situation will normalise after a few days." "The police have confirmed information that Mahato, who is chief of the so-called People's Committee against Police Atrocities, has direct links with Maoists," he said.
Mahato was arrested on September 26 for sedition and under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act at Birkar village near Lalgarh. Sen said, there were specific cases against Mahato, who has been leading an agitation against alleged police excesses in Lalgarh of West Midnapore district since last November. Asked why he was not arrested when he visited Kolkata at least twice a few months ago, Sen said "the situation did not warrant his arrest then, it has changed now." The manner of his arrest led to sharp protest from journalist bodies, some political parties and a section of intelligentsia.
Chhatradhar Mahato remanded to police custody till Oct 1

Chhatradhar Mahato, who was arrested yesterday near Lalgarh where he had been leading an agitation against alleged police excesses since last November, was on Sunday remanded to police custody by a special court till October 1. The Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate also remanded eight others, arrested yesterday, to police custody till that date. The eight include persons arrested along with Mahato and those held during planting of a landmine at Katapahari.

Mahato, an ally of the Maoists, was booked for three offences, including setting fire to Jhargram police outpost and torching of several other police stations. Mahato, chief of the so-called People's Committee against Police Atrocities, who had evaded police arrest ever since he started the anit-CPI(M), anti-police stir in Lalgarh in West Midnapore district, was caught at Birkara, near Lalgarh, while he was giving an interview to a journalist who was followed by policemen posing as TV journalists.

Mahato, who was kept in the Midnapore Police Lines after his arrest yesterday, was brought to Jhargram amid tight security this morning. Initially, he was taken to Jhargram police station from where he was taken to the court around noon. The police custody of a Maoist leader Pradyot Mahato, who was arrested six days ago, was today extended by a Midnapore court till October 1.
Meanwhile, two police constables, who were abducted by the rebels after Mahato's arrest yesterday, remained untraced till date, the police said. The constables -- Sisirkanti Nag and Siddheswar Prasad Singh -- were on leave and had boarded a Purulia-bound bus from Jhargram when armed men intercepted their vehicle near Tamajhuri village, eight km from Belpahari police station, last night, dragged them out and disappeared into the forest.
The PCPA today dug roads and obstructed a 30-km stretch between Midnapore and Dherua with tree logs in protest against Mahato's arrest. They also jammed roads leading to Lalgarh at several places with uprooted trees. The PCPA has called a two-day 'Bangla Bandh' starting on September 30 and the Maoists have called a 'Bharat bandh' on October 3 in protest against the arrest.


Mamata Banerjee & Chatradhar Mahato at Lalgarh on 4th feb.2009

Far from witnessing, the ‘river of blood’ that the arrested criminal Chhatradhar Mahato had ‘promised’ would flow, in the event of his arrest, even bare sympathy for the goon was conspicuous by its absence. On the other hand, rural people of the forestry and beyond in the townships, already furious with the ‘Maoist’ incursions, have celebrated with joy the occasion, and the events that led up to it.

CPI (M) units of Midnapore west in the red clay area tell us with confidence something they had hinted at during our last visit to the laterite zone. The inchoate violence unleashed by the ‘Maoists’ and the PCAPA had infuriated the masses enough to make the criminals shelterless even at the point of guns and dire threats.

The armed assaults of the marauders are met with mass resistance – it is a classic case of a few guns arraigned against a thousand staves and a stiff, challenging outlook of the villagers who had been cornered -- and had nowhere to go but forward to meet and defeat the ‘Maoist’ thrusts.

Yet another cause that had made the PCAPA and its lackeys as well as the so-called urban band of ‘friends,’ here and there, leery of the counter-assault, has been the commencement of falling out among the thieves over the proverbial loaves and fishes.

The internecine strifes, the local units of the CPI (M) tell us, have probably resulted in ‘revolutionary’ bloodshed of the sectarian vein in recent times, and the inner fighting, armed fighting, among the Trinamuli cadres all over Midnapore are there for everyone to see, and draw the correct lessons. This has happened elsewhere too as witnessed on 27 September at Mayureswar in Birbhum where such an armed strife saw three Trinamuli hoodlums killed.

Reactionaries and sectarians are easily demoralised as history has proved repeatedly. The demeaning defeat of the student wings of the ‘Maoists,’ the BJP, and the Trinamulis at the Presidency College, the villagers tell us, has seen a drastic drop in the ‘import’ of propagandists from the metropolis into Midnapore west.

A good number of the Kolkata teaching community who, sadly, had come once out with all pistons firing in support of the ‘Maoist’ ‘cause’ are now talking in whispered, shady undertones about ‘sins’ being committed by the very people whom they had idolised in the big media.

Thus, when the cuffed Chhatradhar – his only complaint was of a queasy stomach – was taken from Lalgarh to the Jhargram court of law, a good six or seven kilometre of distance had to be covered, in an ancient police van, not one villager stood up in his favour. Twigs of trees scattered across the route that were easily motored over did signal symbolically the state-of-affairs of the ‘Maoist’ ‘braves’ and their cohorts.

The city-based die-hard members of the ‘civil society’ did bring out a small procession far away in Kolkata, but it was, as we said, a tiny band of downcast marchers, and the TV channels were strangely devoid of the firebrand interviews and voice-overs the earlier period had seen in relation to such incidents.

Herewith we add a final good word. The two unarmed police constables whom the ‘Maoists’ had kidnapped in the wake of Chhatradhar’s arrest have been released the next day on 28 September in good health – and unconditionally.



LALGARH,26th SEPTEMBER,2009: The Patrika-group anointed, self-proclaimed, non-tribal ‘leader’ of the ‘second Santhal rebellion’ has been how Chhatradhar Mahato, named accused in 21 murder cases of CPI (M) workers over the past couple of years, accustomed to being referred to reverentially among the bourgeois political outfits, the big media -- and their patrons in and out of the country.

The media in particular had been much ‘critical’ for a long time now also about the ‘inability’ of the police to arrest Chhatradhar despite his continual appearance in the electronic media. As it turned out, it was a ‘media person,’ close enough to the criminal to have him act as one of the conduits between the ‘Maoists’ and the Trinamul Congress-SUCI combine over the past one year, who gave the renegade the surprise of his life by suddenly delving into a stylish side-bag, and there leapt out a service revolver. This was on one sunny afternoon in the jangal mahal on 26 September.

Formally proclaiming his arrest loudly -- and there was no resistance on the surprised Chhatradhar’s part at all, especially as two other ‘journalists’ jumped on Chhatradhar, pistols at the ready, pinning his arms behind his back and a loud ‘click!’ was heard as the cuffs snapped into place – the police whisked him away to an unknowing destination, with the remaining eager-beaver journos, after all, it was a ‘media conference’ that the criminal had called with self-confidence deep into the jangal mahal at a village near Lalgarh, and all of them faithful to the ‘anti-CPI (M) cause’ that the criminal represented with aplomb, showed a series of clean pair of heels for the fear of getting ‘involved,’ and so much for the arrested goon’s ‘popularity.’

The chieftain of the Bengal opposition preferred to be mum to the arrest, as were the senior citizens of the Pradesh Congress-- and the ‘civil society’ was of differing views with at least one member of that motley anti-CPI (M) crowd calling Chhatradhar a ‘member of the CPI (M).’ Panic causes such ridiculous lies to pour out of those in the throes political isolation. The reaction of another ‘civil stalwart’ was even more interesting. She ‘grieved’ for Chhatradhar and said with a sob that the ‘Santhal rebellion’ has ‘just lost momentum.’

Herewith we give a brief recap of the rise, rise, and then fall with a bloomer of a thud, of the criminal Chhatradhar. In November of 2008, the ‘Maoists’ exploded a landmine at Bhadutala in Purulia near the motorcade of Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. In the wake of the unsuccessful attack, the ‘Maoists’ formed a convenient ‘front’ with Trinamuli goons Chhatradhar and his brother Sasadhar as the respectively overt and covert heads of a ‘People’s Committee and Against Police Atrocities’ or PCAPA.


The PCAPA lost little or no time in raising hell in the jangal mahal -- and it funded and armed ‘Moist’ killers to kidnap, torture, as well as kill and maim CPI (M) workers systematically. Sasadhar meanwhile had been inducted directly into the ranks of the ‘Maoist’ killers and given the name of ‘Vikash.’ Both this goon and one other hoodlum who called himself ‘Kishanji’ regularly briefed the electronic and print media at ‘unknown’ places in the jangal mahal, cowardly backs to the camera, faces covered, over the past one year.

What these murderous neo-fascists did not take note of the fact was that three young ‘journalists’ had joined the throng of those media-persons who have been in great love and affection with the anti-CPI (M) wrong-doings of both the PCAPA and its motherlode, the ‘Maoists.’

All three were in fact young detectives of the Bengal police. Nothing and nobody would and could give them away, such was their professional appearance and behaviour, and all three carried impeccable media credentials. They often ‘stringered’ for the bourgeois media and they organised phone-in programmes, on a fair regular basis, on behalf of the ‘Maoist’ killers and the criminal Chhatradhar.

A worrying factor
There was one worrying factor though in the entire episode. Just before the police trio sprang into action, a call was received on one of the three sophisticated cell phones the criminal Chhatradhar carries. On receiving the call, Chhatradhar suddenly ‘ended’ the ‘media conference’ and whispered that ‘I have news of the police coming in.’ He was about to make good his escape deep into Jharkhand just across the very porous border when he was taken into custody. Is another ‘sleeper cell’ of the ‘Maoists’/PCAPA active yet in certain quarters?

In between, the example of Enayetpur has emboldened the villagers in the red clay zones to come forth with stiff resistance to the ‘Maoist’ and the Trinamuli predators. We receive news quite regularly over the past week of the attackers retreating in the face of mass resistance. Raat pahara or night watches have been set up. The villagers count on increasing numbers in their ranks of resistance just as the dwindling popular support – whatever little there had been of it – of the ‘Maoists’ and Trinamulis make them depend more and more on arms.

This is classical case of extreme alienation of the people, and one that reminds us gray-haired lot of the fate the ‘Naxalite’ movements in the Midnapore locales of Debra and Gopiballavpore, the so-called ‘liberated zones’ of the CPI (M-L) in the 1970s. Will these goons never learn a single lesson from history-- and are condemned to repeat all the errors of commission of the past in every exaggerated form!

This, however, is not to underestimate the cruelty of the record of ‘accomplishment’ of the ‘Maoists.’ Only a couple of days earlier to the criminal Chhatradhar’s arrest, two CPI (M) workers were brutally done to death in the jangal mahal at the hands of the ‘Maoist’-Trinamuli murder conglomerate. They were comrades Nemai Bishui and Samir Singha Mahapatra of Goaltore in Midnapore. We record that from the time the ‘joint forces’ started ‘ops’ in the jangal mahal, 60 CPI (M) workers have been brutally killed, and several dozens are yet missing and this includes quite a few police personnel.

In a related development, far away deep in south 24 Parganas, at Pathar Pratima, Trinamuli goons shot and killed a CPI (M) worker, comrade Rafiq Mollah. This fourth time attack on comrade Rafique proved fatal. Biman Basu, Bengal CPI (M) secretary has condemned the killings.

September 25, 2009



KOLKATA,23rd SEPTEMBER,2009: The killing of Nishikanta Mondal, the self-styled ‘terror of Sonachura,’ and the chief suspect in the brutal murder of comrade Sankar Samanta, has been condemned by Bengal state secretary of the CPI (M) Biman Basu who has also characterised the assassination as a direct fall-out of Trinamuli inner strife with a ‘Maoist’ conspiratorial connection visible.

At the same time, Biman, speaking to PD, was of the view that taking advantage of the death, the Trinamulis, of both factions, led respectively by the Abu Taher-Subhendu Adhikary clique and Mondal himself, had started to run riot, stepping up their misdeeds, not only at Sonachura where they already had unleashed a reign of terror, but also in adjoining Nandigram and Khejuri.

For a long time now, normalcy has been rare in the Nandigram-Khejuri-Sonachura localities. CPI (M) and LF workers have been repeatedly subjected to murderous assaults here and very many have been rendered homeless at the behest of the Trinamulis and the ‘Maoists.’ At the same time the latest fall-out amongst the Trinamulis over allocation of funds for the GP’s they run, had recently reached a fatal peak.

The gang of rank opportunists, the self-styled ‘Maoists’ joined in the fray for the loot – and the struggle turned bloody. Nishikanta was en route to some spot when at a desolate place his cell phone rang. The moment he stopped the motorbike he was riding to respond, shots rang out from the bushes – four found the target.

The assassination ‘format’ if it could be so-called strongly resembled a piece of ‘Maoist’ action, perhaps this time as an act of hired goons of one section of the Trinamulis, the section which had become vocal about the defalcation of money by Mondal -- and had led a deputation against him at the level of the district administration.

Biman Basu expressed his deep disapproval of the counter-democratic acts of commission being perpetrated by the ‘rainbow coalition’ of the Trinamulis, the SUCI, and the ‘Maoists’ in these areas, and he called upon all democratic-minded people to rise in sturdy denunciation of what had been going on for quite some time now in the Nandigram-Sonachura-Khejuri region.



MIDNAPORE,22th SEPTEMBER,2009: They came to loot and burn, and they came to kill. They had to leave in a hurry in the face of stiff resistance, mass resistance, from thousands of rural folk who were determined to defend the Enayetpur CPI (M) office in Midnapore west. Biman Basu speaking to PD said that the ‘people had maintained, successfully, the sanctity of a Party office above which the Red Flag flutters.’

The big lie is now spread that CPI (M) members have been killed during the incident that stretched well into the night of 21-22 September. ‘This is an exercise in Goebbelsian media attack, where a lie spoken big, repeatedly, is expected to be accepted as the truth,’ commented Biman.

The CPI (M) leader added to comment that the bourgeois media and its patrons in the ruling classes were fond of dubbing the dastardly attack on the tribals and members of the scheduled castes by the outlander ‘Maoists’ from across the border as a ‘Santhal rebellion’: ‘they do not know history and are only interested in putting out their own class-distorted version of events taking place.’

What happened at Enayetpur commenced when around five in the afternoon – it was already by then dark in the jangal mahal as the short autumnal day rolled in – a large number of killers trooped in, and their clear, pre-decided aim was to burn the local CPI (M) office, which, Biman reminded us, also acted as the shelter for those ousted from their home-and-hearth in nearby localities by the ‘Maoist’-Trinamuli nexus if goons and hoods. Thus, he pointed out, a successful attack would have proved nothing short of a human tragedy of great proportions as the ‘Maoist’ hired killers are loathe to take prisoners.

As soon as the gangs of armed killers approached the CPI (M) office, firing automatic weapons in the air, holding aloft lit torches, and swinging along large jerry cans filled with kerosene, they ran into a solid wall of maybe ten thousand local villagers, lathis, dahs, and staves at the ready. It was simply a case of resist or be butchered. A struggle ensued that carried on well into the evening. The ‘Maoist’ killers, self-styled experts as they are in the criminal act of individual assassination, had not known before what mass fury constitutes.

After a brief hand-to-hand, close body contact struggle the ‘Maoists’ and their Trinamuli lackeys ran away. More than thirty of the villagers were left severely injured. The ‘Maoist’ attackers lost at least eight persons, dragging their wounded and the rest of the dead away as is their practice.

A large contingent of the police of the ‘joint forces’ did make an appearance when the fracas was over and pleaded that the unknown terrain, the pitch-black darkness of the roads also rendered impassable, unfamiliarity of the surroundings, and discretionary caution had prevented then from appearing earlier. Which, we believe, was sad but by no means have we considered the police action or lack of it, completely devoid of rationale.

Elsewhere the inner-squabbling between once-beloved-of-each-other ‘Maoists’ and Jharkhandis saw another step mounted as the former killed in cold blood three local level leaders of the latter outfit at Belpahari. In a related development, Asit Sarkar, a ‘theoretician’ of the ‘Maoists’ and later a leader of a breakaway Belpahari-based faction of the outfit was brutally done to death in the dark of the night of 20 September.

In the meanwhile, at Sundarpur village in Murshidabad, the happiness of the Eid day was tragically robbed of its glad-tidings when a CPI (M) worker, comrade Zachariah Sheikh was hacked to a painful demise in broad daylight by goons of the Pradesh Congress. Comrade Zachariah had been instrumental among those CPI (M) workers who had toiled hard to ensure a runaway win, after decades, for the CPI (M), at the Sundarpur Gram Panchayat this time around.

The same evening at Indus in Bankura, a CITU leader, Naba Ghosh was attacked and left with heavily bleeding injuries by the hoodlums in the pay and protection of the Trinamulis. Nanda is recovering in a local health centre. (INN)


KOLKATA,20th SEPTEMBER: First she announced that she would ‘change everything’ about the Indian Railways. Then she, with great fanfare, and at great cost, ‘spend more,’ overtly or otherwise, is after all the neo-liberal economic mantra, ‘flagged off’ train after old-coach-laden tired-looking train, with the loco running staff standing petrified in horrors and apprehensions of various kinds. The Bengal Governor was ‘pleased to be’ present, as always, on every occasion, as were the squads of various central ministers of differing rankings, plus the Trinamuli ‘intellectuals.’

Then, more recently, she did something that would call for, we confess, real courage, if desperation can be equated with courage in these distressing times for her as the web-and-waft of the jockeying for the mayoral positions for the Siliguri Municipal Corporation surely gets her nervy and worse.

She brought out condemned coaches of the various Delhi-Howrah-Delhi trains, had the exteriors painted in horrifically garish ‘psychedelic’ colours -- reminding us of the days when an anarchist ‘hippie’ culture had ruled the roost in capitalist Europe and the US -- and gloatingly passed off such a poor, dilapidated ensemble of a train as the ‘irrepressibly fast’ duronto in Bengali, express train that would run non-stop to and fro Delhi-Howrah, except for fuel stoppages.

The very first run proved a disaster. The creaking coaches would not be moved initially. A new engine was brought in, with no results. An engine of another more popular Delhi-bound train was uncoupled and put to push the ‘irrepressible.’ This time a snail’s pace was observed – only up to the local Dankuni station, an embarrassingly few kilometres away when the worn-out train gave up the ghost.

That yet another engine managed to pull the train staggeringly away in some manner to Delhi, well behind schedule, does not detract from the fact that the chieftain is playing dangerously, recklessly with the lives of passengers, safety be damned, and this was especially evident when one saw that after the third time ‘flag off,’ the train pulled irrepressibly away ignoring a Red signal – or was it a symbolic gesture on the minister’s part?



KOLKATA,20th SEPTEMBER,2009: Downtown Kolkata was after a long period the scene of Trinamuli intransigence. A book stall put up by the National Book Agency, the publication outlet of the Bengal CPI (M), a popular exercise and which has a history of setting up such book stalls, come the festival seasons, for more that four decades, was the focus of all-out attack by the local Trinamuli hoods. This most recent incident of Trinamuli depredation in the heart of Kolkata, happened during the daylight hours of 19 September -- and the imbroglio still continues as we file this report.

The fracas started when the Trinamuli goons, armed with one-shot ‘countrymade’ rifles and pistols, short-handled scythes, sledge hammers, and iron staves jumped on the NBA stall, completely wrecked it, and put up the Trinamuli colours plus the inevitable picture of the ‘supreme one of their’ outfit.

On being told of the dastardly, cowardly assault, the members of the adjoining local units of the CPI (M) and of the mass organisations, especially the youth front, came out in strident protest – and promptly found themselves heavily outnumbered by the armed hoodlums some of whose loyalties have recently changed back to Pradesh Congress as the local leadership has shifted political space away from the Trinamulis.

Those injured included the secretary of one of the local committees of the zone, as well as at least a dozen CPI (M) workers, including three women cadres who were especially targeted, had their faces smashed in, and had to be hospitalised – but only after the local people chose to put an end to the neo-fascist attack by ranging themselves against the attackers and throwing the gauntlet before them. The hoods chose discretion as the better part of valour and took off, fast.

Later on, the stall was refurbished and put up, Red Flag fluttering from the top – normalcy has been restored thanks to mass intervention.

September 19, 2009



LALGARH,18th SEPTEMBER,2009: At Lalgarh in Midnapore west, where the Trinamuli-‘Maoist’ depredations including gruesome killings and abductions have continued apace, joint forces ops or not, a thin, bright, streak of glow lit up the political scenario in the laterite zone late into the night of 18 September. It was an example of an illumined class struggle all the way.

A large gang of Trinamulis and ‘Maoist’ criminals chose to attack the Dasbandh village to the north of Ramgarh in the Lalgarh locale. The hamlet is principally inhabited in by goalas of the ancient line of caste of cattle herders. Recent times had seen the villagers choose to grit their teeth and -- boldly refuse to cooperate with either the Chhatradhar Mahato-led right reactionary Trinamulis or the left sectarian and the heavily-armed, ‘Maoist’ gangsters.

Devoid of shelter, the ‘Maoist’ goons issued a threat earlier in the day that representatives of the goala community including the Mondol or the village headman must be present from Dasbandh village at the next ‘squad meeting’ of the ‘Maoists.’ None of the rural folk of the village heeded the notice.

As an act if avenging their wrath as well as a fulfilment of a step towards ‘teaching the goalas a good lesson,’ 20-odd armed ‘Maoists’ entered the village and knocked on the door of Luba Mondol and his son Dhanu Mondal – neither of whom were in their hutment but had chosen to go to the deep of the jungles to collect firewood as is the custom, as we know it, in the jangal mahal, to avoid the fierce daylight heat.

As soon as the killers knocked down the flimsy piece of slattened plank that passed off as the ‘door’ of the hut, the two women remaining inside woke up from their sleep, thought for a while -- and then must have decided that life would not get any better if resistance now was made -- they rushed out with swinging large dahs with which they split open dry coconuts. The bravura of the attackers vanished – and they ran, and ran. The room to flee had by then closed up.

For, by that time the entire village had woken up at the ruckus and hundreds of goalas came streaming out of their hutments with whatever they could lay their hands on. At close quarters the sten guns that the attackers carried was of little use as body conduct range developed and the beatings began. At the end of the heroic resistance, three of the attackers lay dead, while the ‘rearguard’ of the ‘Maoist’ squad managed to drag away two more bodies. A dozen-odd villagers were critically injured and had since been removed to district hospitals.

The forests throbbed with the cheering that arose from the throats of the relived villagers. A new chapter of resistance to known criminals and hardened killers has perhaps started in the form of mass resistance in the forest range in western Bengal.

It should be added that the entire village is a stronghold of the CPI (M), and the rural folk knew that despite the strong if disoriented presence of the ‘joint forces’ in the vastness that is the jangal mahal, 12 CPI (M) workers and sympathizers had been killed in the vicinity over the past two weeks. Among those killed very recently had been the school teacher comrade Kartick Mahato, and CPI (M) workers, comrades Krishna Kundu, and Sambhu Mahato. That did not deter them from putting the class enemy on the run.

In a related development, the ‘joint forces’ uncovered a ‘sleeper cell’ of the ‘Maoist’ goons in the household of a well-known physician of Kantapahari named Jatin Pratihar. Jatin would provide food, shelter, and funds to the top brass of the ‘Maoist’ killers and perhaps it was this place, the shelter was in the shape of a well-appointed air-cooled ‘cellar’ below the ground level under his palatial residential building, that facilitated the ‘Maoists’ to operate their electronic NetCom through which they interacted with one another and also kept a cosy touch with the bourgeois media.

Jatin’s wife Sulekha, also in police custody as we write this, has been a senior worker of the local unit of the ICDS and there, at the work place, she would use threats to make the women workers pay up regularly for the ‘incidental expenditures’ incurred by the ‘guests’ who would come and go, to and from the Pratihar ‘cell.’ Two other ‘Maoist’ hooligans were arrested from the Pratihar house, the police tell us, as we file this report.

The murderous attacks on CPI (M) workers and sympathisers have started in Jadavpur, post the Lok Sabha elections. During the night of 17 September comrade Dilip Dhara, a close supporter of the CPI (M) and a youth organisation member was battered to death and his two young comrades, Joydeb Mondal and Totan Halder were left critically injured at Chhit-Kalikapur in east Jadavpur.

These young men, for a long time now, had been the targets of the assassins who are known for their far-from-tenuous links with the Trinamulis. The trio of murdered youth ran tea shops, and were in the habit of rising in protest, taking along them the people, against all forms of anti-social activities. Bengal state secretary of the CPI (M) Biman Basu has condemned the killing.(INN)

September 18, 2009

West Bengal offers land to Wipro and Infosys

KOLKATA: September 17, 2009: The West Bengal government will formally invite information technology majors — Wipro and Infosys — to take immediate possession of 45 acres of land being offered to each of them at Rajarhat on the outskirts of the city and start constructing their facilities there.

On September 7, the government had decided not to proceed with the proposed joint sector IT township in and around Rajarhat in the wake of allegations of illegal land deals by a private partner of the project.

“We are ready to give 45 acres of land to both the IT giants, Wipro and Infosys. We will contact them and ask them to come…The units they set up will create huge job opportunities – an estimated 16,000 jobs – within the next two to three years,” Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said here on Thursday.

The State government will contact the two companies on Friday with the offer.

The sites identified for the two IT giants is in the custody of the State’s Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd and has adequate social infrastructure that will suit the interests of the two companies, Mr Bhattacharjee said. “The price of the land being offered to them will be negotiated with the companies,” he added. Both the IT majors have been keen to set up units in the State. “In the case of Wipro, which already has a facility in the city, it is a matter of expansion of their activities. As for Infosys, they have been very eager to come.”

Admitting that it was “unfortunate” that criminal activities “of which we had no idea earlier” were being engaged in for acquiring land for a section of the proposed joint sector IT township within which the two companies had earlier been offered 90 acres of land each, the Chief Minister said his government had decided that “it would not be morally correct” for it to go ahead with the project.


KOLKATA, 17th September 2009: In its one-day meeting held on 17 September, the state committee of the Bengal CPI (M) gave a rousing call for mass assemblages and mass conventions to be continued all over the state to defend democracy and to foil imperialist designs. Biman Basu later briefed the media.

Earlier Biman had led the discussion at the state committee meeting where Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee was present throughout. Buddhadeb later briefed the media at the CPI (M) Bengal HQ.

One needs to discuss especial attention some of the mot pints that were debated discussed, and resolved at the meeting. The Bengal CPI (M) leader was clear in stressing the pro-rich and anti-poor outlook of the Congress-led régime at the centre.

Biman had little doubt that as the days would rush by the urge for consumerism and the disruption of people’s unity would be actively pushed forth and unimpeded by the Indian ruling classes that held a vice-like grip over the rich-dominated central government. Attacks on the pro-poor Left especially the three CPI (M)-led LF governments in the country would increase incessantly.

The speaker drew specific examples to show the unabashed pro-people bias the central government displayed with garishness. The points to note include disinvestment en masse, massive financial benefits being accrue or big business, especially MNCs operating in India, and a wide tax cut across the board for those in the super-rich category, miniscule as the population of this kind may be.

It is against these policies, continued Biman that a continuous, organised, militant movement of the mass of the people must be built up and there was no time to be lost. Biman discussed in great depth the political situation coming up in Bengal. He recalled the massive assemblage of the people on 31 August and called it a success thanks to the months of campaign that had preceded it in thousands of cities, townships, villages, and hamlets in the remotest corners of the state.

Biman also informed the state committee that the task of improving and further augmenting the Party organisation was a necessary task of supreme importance at the present point in time in Bengal. The Party functioning must be made to move ahead apace, keeping the interest of the working people firmly in focus.

Rectification campaign, reminded Biman, was not, could not by its very character, a marsumi, or seasonal job. It must continue with even greater fervour in the present political ambience when attacks were raining down on the CPI (M) and the Left from the imperialist-backed class enemies.

Party education must be stressed at all functional levels of the Bengal CPI (M) was the consensus of the state committee which also agreed to what Biman focussed light on, i.e., increasing the circulation of not just the Bengali language Party press but also of central organs like the People’s Democracy, and Lok Lehar.

Addressing the state committee, Buddhadeb said that the governmental functioning needed to be accelerated in terms of targeted development for the mass of the people of Bengal. The people must be approached and told that the attempt to build up terror in Bengal must be resisted at all costs, for the sake of peace, progress, and prosperity.

The slogan and the cry ‘working class, unite!’ should be highlighted in the form of a political drive. The Bengal CPI (M) on its part must continue to play the vanguard rôle of urging on the masses to take the state of Bengal forward in all developmental sectors, agrarian and industrial, head always held high.

September 15, 2009

‘Maoists’ Unabated Barbarism in Jangal Mahal Area

By N S Arjun

LALGARH(WEST MEDINIPUR),13th September,2009: RATAN Mahato, a school teacher in Pirakata village, 25 km away from Lalgarh town, was a CPI(M) supporter. And for this ‘crime’, the ‘Maoists’ had made him hold his ears and do squats publicly in July 2009, ordering that he immediately quit the Party. Although Mahato had distanced himself from the Party, he did not put up posters proclaiming his quitting the Party as was demanded. Around 20 of these blood-thirsty goons returned to Pirakata on the night of August 25, 2009, and brutally slit his throat after severely beating him up for not obeying their order.

This gory incident is only one example of continuing barbarity of ‘Maoists’ in the jangal mahal area comprising the forest areas of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia districts. Despite the central and state police forces' joint operation and presence in Lalgarh area, the killings, the burning down of CPI(M) offices, the looting of houses of CPI(M) supporters beatings and kidnaps etc continue unhindered. After sunset when the forces return to their base camps, the armed 'Maoist' squads take over. They conduct marches in the villages, flashing their AK-47s and INSAS rifles, terrorising the poor tribals. And among those in the killer squads are members of the 'People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities’ comprising Trinamuli, Jharkhand Party activists. Trinamuli/Jharkhandis in day-time and Maoists by night! This nexus, of course, had become clear when Trinamuli activist Chatradhar Mahato became secretary of the People’s Committee. His younger brother Sasadhar Mahato is a zonal commander of ‘Maoists’ while the secretary of the committee is a ‘Maoist’ action squad member.

But why is this reign of terror continuing even after deployment of central and state armed forces in good strength in these areas? After the first phase of joint operations against the ‘Maoists’ in Lalgarh in mid-June, there was some improvement in the situation with the state administration bring able to make entry and establish apparent control of the area. Some relief was provided to the people in terms of delivering food rations and rendering health services. The people gave good reception to the security forces. However the situation deteriorated from the first week of July as the security operations got bogged down and entered into such a mode that their actual purpose was not being served. Occasionally, encounters do take place but the hot pursuit and neutralisation of the criminals is not happening.

It is pertinent to recall here the hue and cry raised by the Trinamul chief and key union cabinet minister Mamata Banarjee immediately after the first phase of joint operations started yielding results. She openly demanded cessation of these operations and withdrawal of central forces from Lalgarh. Disregarding the advice of the state government, two union ministers, Sishir Adhikary and Mukul Roy, accompanied by the leader of opposition in the state Partho Chatterjee went to Lalgarh on July 28, 2009 along with a jumbo team and held public meetings demanding withdrawal of security forces. They charged that the central government was strengthening the CPI(M) by sending these forces. On the same day they held a closed-door meeting with activists of People’s Committee, among whom were known ‘Maoist’ elements. What transpired in the meeting is not known but the consequences have been very clear. There has been a spurt in the killings of CPI(M) supporters, their torture, looting, burning of property etc after this closed-door meeting. It is clear these elements were reassured by the central ministers presence and backing.

Simultaneously there has been a lag in the security forces’ operations. The CRPF adopted a particular modus operandi here which not only prevents speedy pursuit of culprits but also could alert them about the impending search operation. After the experiences in Chhatisgarh, the CRPF decided to move only in large formations here for any operation. Also, there is a condition that an equal strength of state police force should accompany them. The forces have so far arrested around 45 persons but only very few among them are ‘Maoists’. This situation is being utilised by the ‘Maoists’ to expand their areas of domination. In the recent past they could extend to two more Gram Panchayats. The 15-day long strike called by them from August 18-31, 2009 demanding withdrawal of security forces saw some areas of Jhagram also getting affected. It is learnt that they are conducting around seven armed training camps in the surrounding jungles in which even 16-year olds are being imparted weapons-training. Is there a linkage between the spurt in the incidents of violence and a perceptible lag in the operations of the central security forces? Has Trinamul Congress pressure for cessation of all operations by security forces and their withdrawal worked? At this stage one can only surmise.


Unlike in any other state they are operating in, the ‘Maoists’ face organised people’s resistance in Bengal to their barbarities against the poor and the weak. This resistance is led by the CPI(M). This, in part, explains the entire thrust of 'Maoists' on terrorising the villagers from any form of association with the CPI(M). That the ‘Maoists’ are not entirely succeeding in this is apparent from an incident in Nepura village, 10 km away from Lalgarh, on September 7, 2009. A former CPI(M) MLA and member of CPI(M) West Midnapore district committee, Durga Tudu, was sought to be attacked by five armed ‘Maoists’. Even as they were approaching his house with guns slinging on their shoulders, more than 40 villagers spontaneously resisted them with whatever they could lay their hands on – axes, sticks, rods etc. Clearly outnumbered and seeing the rage of the villagers, the ‘Maoists’ tried to beat a hasty retreat. But three of them were caught by the villagers with their guns and thrashed and later handed over to the police. The media has commented that this is the first instance in Lalgarh where the 'Maoists' had to face such a situation. But even earlier also such incidents of resistance took place. During our visit to Salboni recently, we met with one such comrade from Babubasha village under Salboni PS limits. On June 23, 2009, six armed “Maoists’ came to his house and called him out. They beat up his two sons who were sitting on the verandah when they tried to obstruct them. Both the sons bravely fought the ‘Maoists’ with bare hands. Hearing the commotion, hundreds of villagers gathered and chased away the armed goons some 2 km into the forests. Now, the Party is sheltering the entire family of this comrade. CPI(M) West Midnapore district secretary Professor Dipak Sarkar said that the Party has moved out around 5000 such comrades from these areas and is taking care of them. He said the Party is campaigning all over the district against the terror unleashed by these forces. A one-lakh strong procession under the aegis of the Left Front was held in the district headquarters, Medinipur, on August 16 which created a good impact on the people. Similarly all mass organisations have been conducting mass programmes mobilising the people against terror and anarchy. However, he underlined that this problem is a very serious one and needs to be tackled with much patience and sacrifices. He expressed the confidence that ultimately the people will overcome these forces of terror and anarchy.

Anuj Pandey, CPI(M) Binpur zonal secretary, (under which zone Lalgarh falls) expressed similar resolve. As the man top most on the hit list of these goons, he is remarkably unassuming and unnerved. He reeled off the names of comrades killed or kidnapped, by the 'Maoists' in his zonal area. His own home in Bharatpur village has been razed to ground and looted. Under precarious conditions, he is immersed in organising people's resistance to the 'Maoists'. Many people in the villages under 'Maoist' control are dissatisfied and angry due to various reasons. Primary among them is the stoppage of all sort of development activity or services by the administration due to this terror. Moreover, there is blatant extortion/looting by these elements. In fact, recently the 'Maoists' shot dead two of their Jharkhandi colleagues over a dispute about extortion money. There are also serious charges of siphoning of government money by the panchayats ruled by Trinamuli/Jharkhand Party leaders to procure arms for the 'Maoists'. But to channelise this dissatisfaction into a fight against these forces requires the presence of the CPI(M) in these areas. There is talk of a coordinated 'major offensive' against 'Maoists' by security forces stationed here along with the forces in neighbouring Jharkhand. It remains to be seen when that is going to happen and how successful it is going to be in creating confidence among the people.

Some Recent Incidents of Violence

Every other day in Bengal, some or other CPI(M) leaders / activists / sympathisers / supporters are being shot or hacked to death or kidnapped by the murderous goons of Trinamul-'Maoists' combine. Below we give a list of a few of these recent attacks.

August 30: 'Maoists' beat up a woman panchayat chief in Purulia, Latika Hemambra because she had not obeyed their diktat a year ago to quit the CPI(M). Around 8 p m, about 30 goons, armed with rifles, single-barrel guns and revolvers, marched to Nodudi village in the Ayodhya hills of Purulia. When they reached the village — Latika lives there — they warned the people not to step out of their houses.

On reaching Latika’s hut they kicked open the door. Latika, 32, and her husband Gopal, a CPI(M) worker, were sleeping in the courtyard. “We asked you to quit the CPI(M) a year ago. But you did not,” the Maoists yelled at her. Then they started hitting the couple using their rifle butts. “‘If you don’t quit the party now, you will be murdered’, they proclaimed and went away firing their guns in the air.

From there they marched 10 km to Jitinglahar village to CPI(M) branch secretary Debiprasad Hansda's home. Debiprasad was sleeping with his father Hiralal, 68. As soon as his mother opened the door, about 10 rebels rushed in, pushing her aside. Debiprasad’s parents fell at the feet of the Maoists, begging for their son’s life. They kicked the 45-year-old CPI(M) leader awake, then shot him twice in the chest. He died on the spot. “They told him this was the price of his association with the corrupt CPI(M). Then they shot him twice,” wept Hiralal, according to newspaper reports.

August 29: Two CPI(M) supporters were shot dead by 'Maoists' in West Midnapore and Purulia, both rebel strongholds. Lakshmi Kanta Kumar, a 50-year- old CPI(M) local committee secretary was waylaid by a group of Maoists when he was returning home in Arsa, Purulia, about 360 km from Calcutta. He was murdered near a CRPF camp in Mudali, which is near Arsa. According to reports, five assailants on motorbikes fired at Lakshmi from a close range, killing him on the spot. The assailants fled under the cover of darkness, In another incident, an armed gang of Maoists killed Bidyut Baran Das in Binpur, West Midnapore. The assailants stopped Bidyut, 48, a poultry seller and supporter of CPI(M), when he was returning home on his bicycle and pumped bullets into him,

August 28: Mangal Soren, DYFI activist in Binpur, who was mobilising public opinion against a Maoist-backed bandh was gunned down while he was tilling his land. Five 'Maoists' came on motorcycles and shot him from close range. The blood-thirsty hoodlums then hacked him with axes. An axe flew out of the hand of one of the attackers and hit another farmer at a distance. After the gang left, villagers put the two on a trekker and rushed them to hospital, but Mangal Soren died on the way. Soren was actively campaigning against the strike in West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia called by the People's Committee demanding withdrawal of security forces from Lalgarh.

August 19: The houses of CPI(M) local committee member Bankim Singha and chief of the Baita gram panchayat Suman Singha were attacked by ‘Maoists’. This despite both the leaders announcing that they had quit the party a month ago following Maoist threats. Fortunately, both of them were not present at the time of these attacks. After ransacking and breaking the furniture with axes and rods, the goons looted jewellery and money. On the same day the CPI(M) local committee office in Malbandhi was also attacked and burnt.

August 15: ‘Maoists’ shot dead a CPI(M) leader, Ramkrishna Duley, in a Bankura village about 25 km from Lalgarh. The 47 year old leader was returning home from his field in the afternoon when two men cycled up to him on a dirt road and opened fire. Duley was killed 500 metres from his home in Sarenga. He is the first CPI(M) man to be killed in Bankura since the security forces moved into Lalgarh.

September 9, 2009

West Bengal drops IT township project

KOLKATA,7th August,2009: The West Bengal government on Monday announced that it “cannot proceed” with the proposed joint sector Kolkata Link IT township project near Rajarhat in North 24 Parganas district following allegations of land grabbing and the recent arrest of managing director of a firm, which is a private partner.

This is a setback to the State’s plans to develop the IT sector.“The government does not want to be involved in any illegal activity. Thus the IT department cannot proceed with the project …,” a release said.

“Under the circumstance, we are unable to stick to our assurance of providing land to Wipro and Infosys.”Major IT companies had already sealed agreements with the State to set up facilities in the township. The project was to have come up on 1,200 acres.
Press release by Information Technology Department, Government of West Bengal
(Enclosure to 15(50)- JS(SB)/IT(O)/91/2007 dated 07.09.09)
Recently, all of us came across several conflicting news items about Kolkata Link IT township. Though IT Department do not like to comment on each and every news item, we believe that all these created a lot of confusions among the people, specially the actual stakeholders of this project including several IT companies and thousands of young aspirants who want to be employed in their own state after their studies.
To clear the confusion and to avoid any further confounding, IT department decided to provide the necessary information about this project in written form. That is why the IT department is releasing this press note. We believe that everyone should have the right to know about this township plan, its present status and its fate. To make it more visualized and to help the people to have more access to the information, IT department has decided to publish it in the website of IT department Anybody who has any query about this press release can send the questions to or send them through fax to the number 22821944. It will be answered as quickly as possible in written form and we will also provide it in the website of the department. It may please be noted that the questions should relate to this press release only.
1. Background
(i) Despite continuous efforts land could not be offered to some key IT companies who have been demanding the same since 2004-2005. This had been hindering the growth and depriving the state from realizing its full potential in this field. Three of the top five employers are TCS, Wipro and Infosys. All are expected to grow @ 12.15% per year in today’s tough times and @ 30% in the good times.
(ii) Reputed IT companies like Wipro, Infosys were very much interested to get the land at New Town Rajarhat. But the price of that land deterred them to take it.
(iii) In the middle of 2006 Infosys was shown land near vedic village by WBIDC. The state Government planned to make land available for Infosys and other IT companies near Vedic village by March 2007. But this land could not be acquired till date.
(iv) The State Government in general and IT department in particular were under tremendous pressure as the Government had failed successive dates for acquiring and handing over land to Infosys and other IT companies.
(v) Failing to get land in West Bengal several IT companies like Infosys, Zensar and Wipro started taking land and expanding their base in adjacent state, Orissa.
2. IT department’s initiative
To address this impasse, IT department explored all the available options: land acquisition, land purchase and public private partnership.
(i) IT department arranged Government land at Kalyani. This site did not become acceptable to the industries. We could succeed to arrange the visit of Wipro there, but they did not like to take it.
(ii) IT Department started acquiring land through Land and Land Reforms Department at Jagadishpur Mouza, which came under opposition. In September, 2008 the notice under section 4 was given which sparked off agitation. In May, 2009 the notice under section 6 was given. However, due to public agitation, it was stalled. IT department was offering a high price for acquisition – about Rs. 1.10 lakh per cottah (evidence shows that it was much higher than the market price).
(iii) When the Government failed to provide land and accommodate IT companies, a private company on its own initiative contacted Infosys and offered them land in the area close to Airport and Rajarhat New Town. Infosys visited the area a number of times and agreed to take the land and come here provided the Govt. was involved in the project. The company also engaged the renowned architect of the country, Hafeez Contractor, whose services are extensively used by Infosys also for their projects.
(iv) This private company, namely, M/S Akash Nirman Pvt. Ltd. offered a proposal to IT department for an IT township in this area. They gave an undertaking to assemble land for the development of this integrated IT Township. It proposed to hand over 50% of the land assembled free of cost to Government to allot land to IT companies. Towards this the company was willing to enter into a joint venture agreement with Webel for the creation of a joint sector company for the development of an integrated IT township complete with required social infrastructure like commercial complex, convention centre, housing, food court, hospitals, gymnasium, training centres etc. In lieu of sharing 50% of land with Webel/Government for allocation to IT companies, the Joint Venture partner expected Webel to take the responsibility of providing the road connectivity for this township as well as the other required physical infrastructure facilities like power, water supply, sewerage disposal, etc. at the doorstep of the proposed project area.
3. Cabinet Approval
With this background and taking into account the urgent requirement of land by some key IT companies (Wipro, Infosys, ITC Infotech, ICICI, etc) the IT Dept. prepared a Cabinet Memorandum for entering into this partnership for the establishment of this IT township.
The cabinet memo was submitted to Finance Department, which made some observations. All observations of the Finance Department were accepted by the IT Department including the condition that the expenditure to be incurred on infrastructure should not exceed the amount realized by providing land to IT companies. The memo was then placed before the Cabinet Standing Committee on Industry which approved the above proposal in its meeting on 28th February, 2008. The members present in this meeting were - the Chief Minister, C & I Minister, Finance Minister, MSME Minister and IT Minister. This was later mentioned and ratified by the full Cabinet in its meeting on 17th April, 2008.
4. The Proposed IT township and Vedic village resort are totally separate
As per the master plan the southernmost point of the township touches HIDCO area, which is about 7 kms away from Vedic Village where it ends. The proposed township does not include the Vedic Village Resort. However, the owner of Vedic Village Resort is one of the Directors of Akash Nirman Pvt. Ltd.
5. Land to Wipro and Infosys—
IT Dept. signed separate MOU on 03/04/08 with Wipro and Infosys to hand over 90 acres of land each to the two companies at the IT township. The representatives of Wipro, and Infosys along with IT Department met the Chief Minister on 24/04/08 to seal these agreements.
6. Nothing Concealed from Public/ No Clandestine
In a joint press conference of IT Department, Wipro and Infosys on 24th April, 2008 all details of the township project were spelt out openly before the press. At no stage did the IT Department try to hide it from the public. All the news agencies carried it as the lead story on 25th April, 2008. Besides, it was reported in detail several times in the leading newspapers (Ananda Bazar Patrika 08/06/08, Times of India on 04/03/08). It was also articulated in the Annual Report of the IT Department and the budget speech of IT minister. The project is thus well known.
7. A Joint Sector Company was formed
As per cabinet approval, the Joint Sector company namely “WEBEL Akash IT links Pvt, Ltd.” was formed on 26/09/08.4
8. Involvement of other Departments to facilitate the Project
(i) Housing Department: IT Minister wrote to Housing Minister on 29th May and 24th September 2008 and the Principal Secretary, IT wrote to MD, HIDCO on 13/06/08 informing about project and seeking road connectivity and access to HIDCO area. HIDCO in its letter dated 4th July 2008 to the IT Department agreed to provide the access road connecting the said township with HIDCO and asked IT Department to bear the cost for this connectivity.
(ii) Land and Land Reforms Department: Letters were issued by the IT Department to Land and Land Reforms department on 04/05/08, 05/08/08, 25/08/08, 27/08/08, 22/09/08, 26/09/08, 17/12/08, and 22/12/08 asking for the required clearances. The L&LR Department issued an order on 11/12/08 allowing the Joint Sector company and its constituents to hold land in excess of ceiling limit.
(iii) Urban Development Department: The IT Department wrote to the UD Department on 04/07/08, 19/08/08, 27/08/08, 24/09/08, and17/10/08 asking for the required clearances and notification. The UD Department issued the notification on 17/11/08 declaring the Project Area as a Planning Area under the Town and Country Planning Act along with the constitution of a Planning Authority. The UD Department again issued a letter on 03/12/08 concerning the Planning Area. The Planning Authority constituted includes representatives from the IT Department, the UD Department, KMDA, District Administration—North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas and Finance Department. The first meeting of this Authority was held on 27/05/09.
(iv) PW Department: Letters were issued by IT Department on 27/08/08 and12/11/08. PWD was requested to strengthen and widen the existing road of 211 Bus route which connects the township.
(v) Irrigation and Waterways Department: Letters were issued on 4/7/08 and 12/11/08. Officials of this Department surveyed the area for the sewerage canal and connectivity of this township.
(vi) Power Department: Meetings were held with official of Power Department to meet the power requirement of the township.
(vii) Chief Secretary’s Review meetings with concerned Departments:Meetings were held under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary on 26/5/2008, 13/8/2008, and 22/10/2008 where the progress of this Project was reviewed. In the meetings the officials of the concerned Departments including Housing, Urban Development, Land and Land Reforms, PWD, Power, Irrigation and Waterways, District Administration of North and South 24 Pgs were invited.
9. Another Cabinet Approval
UD Department mentioned its Notifications of Planning Area concerning the said project in the Cabinet meeting on 27/01/09 and got it ratified.
10. The present position
(i) IT Department has or had no connection or role in purchasing process. Moreover, the Department had no whiff of any forcible purchase.
(ii) In May 2009, IT Department got a list of 90 acres of land from the private partner that could be given to IT companies. Immediately on 27/05/09, WEBEL provided the details of the 90 acres of land to Infosys. Infosys informed IT Department that though they were keen to take the land, they preferred to go slow at present in view of the global economic slowdown.
(iii) An understanding was reached with Wipro to provide them 50 acres of land to them. The land is ready. The IT Department is looking into the details of this land (whether it is contiguous, whether it has valid registration, mutation etc.).
(iv) No land has been transferred till date to either WEBEL or the joint sector company Webel Akash IT Links Pvt. Ltd.
11. The effects of recent incident surrounding Vedic Village
(i) In a recent incident, the Managing Director of the Private Partner has been arrested by the police;
(ii) The Government does not want to be involved in any illegal activity;
(iii) Already, some Departments have opined to scrap the project;
(iv) It is also impossible for IT Department to proceed with the project, if any of the six Departments mentioned in section 8 refuses to facilitate;
(v) Thus IT Department cannot proceed with the project; and
(vi) Under the circumstances, at this moment we are unable to stick to our assurances of providing land to Wipro and Infosys and thereby constrained to inform them about the Government’s inability.

September 4, 2009



A Mammoth Rally Of Determination

Kolkata: August 31, 2009,India News Network (INN): It was a rally of determination – a determination to counter the forces of anarchy and violence running riot in the state of West Bengal targeting the Left Front. As hundreds of thousands of people marched into the heart of Kolkata, the central business district of Esplanade to participate in a Left Front organised mass rally commemorating the 50th anniversary of the martyrs of food movement, one could sense this resolve among the rallyists. It was writ large on their faces.

In the backdrop of Shaheed Minar chowk, these rallyists were not only paying homage to the 80 martyrs who fell at this very place to the brutal lathis of the then Congress government led by B C Roy on this day in 1959, they were also remembering the 276 comrades who were killed by reactionary forces ranging from the ultra left 'Maoist' goons to Trinamuli lumpens to ultra right BJP goons during the period since the seventh Left Front government assumed office in 2006. A two minute silence was observed by the masses in memory of the martyrs.

Family members of these martyrs – some of who were young widows, brothers, mothers, fathers and a few young kids – were prominently seated on both sides of the dais on specially erected platforms. There were also a few among them who were part of that rally in 1959 and who surivived that brutal repression. The dais itself was erected in such a manner that it could be seen, at least partially, from all the six roads leading into and passing the Dorina crossing near Esplanade. This very place was soaked in blood of the 80 martyrs who were part of the 3 lakh strong rally against skyrocketing prices of essential foodgrains on August 31, 1959. The family members of martyrs were honoured by the Left Front chairman Biman Basu at the start of the proceedings. Both the chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Biman Basu interacted with the family members before the start of the public meeting in a gesture that touched the rallyists.

And as for the strength of the gathering, one could see the crowds as far as the vision permitted, jampacked on all the six roads around the venue. Even after one hour into the public meeting, streams of rallies from Kolkata and North 24 Paraganas districts were still pouring in and there was no space. We watched senior leaders and former MPs leading their contingents from the districts in huge processions. With this rally being the first organised by the Left Front after the Lok Sabha elections, and coming in the wake of murderous assaults on CPI(M) workers/sympathisers, it provided an opportunity to the cadre and supporters of the Left to assert their resistance to the politics of anarchy and terror.

CPI(M) veteran leader Jyoti Basu, who was the leader of opposition during the 1959 events, in a written speech that was read out by Biman Basu, recalled the 'historic mass movement' and said that despite the killings and atrocities of the then Congress government “we did not surrender”. Today also the common people were facing hardships due to skyrocketing prices of essential commodities due to centre's policies. He accused the opposition parties in West Bengal and 'Maoists' of stalling development through anarchy and terror. He called upon Left Front workers to pledge to fight this anarchy and terror and expressed confidence that “people would not bow down to anarchy and would realise who was their friend and who their foe”. Referring to the recent Lok Sabha election results, Basu said “Many people have voted against us. We have to correct our mistakes. We have to bring them back to our fold. We have also to regain their confidence. The people are our hope in difficult times”. Accusing the Trinamul Congress, Congress and 'Maoists' of killing CPI(M) workers, setting their houses and Party offices on fire, Basu said “We have to counter it by mobilising the people. We should not lose confidence on the people”.

Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee in his speech said that even after 62 years after the British left, our country has not got freedom from hunger. He blamed successive Congress governments for the agrarian crisis and consequently the food crisis. Despite tall talk of 'green revolution', the people do not get square meal a day. The present Congress government at the centre has admitted that 30 crore people in the country go to bed hungry. Even while the food production is declining alarmingly, huge speculation is taking place in forward trading which is resulting in the skyrocketing of prices of essential commodities.. The chief minister attacked the central government for not heeding the Left parties consistent demand to ban this forward trading. He asserted that the Left Front government in Bengal would take all possible steps within its ambit to provide relief to the people from this price rise. He announced that apart from providing rice at Rs 2 per kg, edible oil and sugar would also be supplied through Public Distribution Scheme not only for BPL cardholders but for the entire people, including middle classes in the coming months of festive season. He said it is a difficult task but the Left Front government would undertake it.

Charging the Trinamul and 'Maoists' of trying to create a 'fascist environment' in the state with their politics of terror, murder and intimidation, Buddhadeb asserted that this situation would not be allowed to continue. He said these forces were using the typical fascistic method of trying to create confusion among the poor and middle classes and called upon the poor not to be confused and give in to these fascistic forces. He also appealed to the youth to decide on which side they were – whether on the side of anarchy or the side of progress represented by the Left Front. He called upon the LF workers to take a pledge to move forward with vigour after this mammoth rally.

CPI(M) state secretary and LF chairman Biman Basu in his speech blamed the neo-liberal policies of the central government for the present agrarian and food crises. These policies being pushed by the imperialists needed to be countered through a simultaneous fight against imperialists. He criticised the media for indulging in Goebbelesian propaganda against the Left Front in order to break the unity of the working people. He called upon the cadre to be alert to such nefarious designs. He also called for greater unity among the Left Front in order to take on these challenges.

Leaders of various Left Front constituents also spoke on this occasion. A large contingent of leading intellectuals and artists were present in the meeting.