September 29, 2009


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.

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