October 13, 2009


KOLKATA(INN): This is our preliminary view especially after a four-day-long motoring trip around the so-called ‘Maoist-infested’ areas of Jharkhand of Ranchi-Morabadi Hills-Jagannathpur-Netarhat. Whatever we had written earlier, we left Jharkhand with no doubt in our mind that it was from here, in Jharkhand that the entire loathsome activities of the left sectarians were conducted.

On the situation in Jharkhand itself, we shall limit our bare observations, as a reporter of a Communist persuasion, to two points: the ‘Maoists’ have penetrated deep into the caste-and-sub-caste hierarchy of the societal structure there. Second, inefficacy of the often counter-productive and anti-people police action, especially lacking a focus of the proper counter-insurgency kind, has allowed the criminals, who enjoy overt support of the land barons of the higher castes, and have a sub-strata of shore up from among such caste groups as the lohars, the kurmis, and the musaharas, in particular – thanks to the oppressive nature of the authoritarian rule of the present régime in the state – and this is a state sans development of any visible sort, to use the hill regions as well as the plain lands of Jharkhand to launch murderous attacks on the Communist-led Left Front of neighbouring Bengal across a very porous border.

‘Maoist’ empathy for the criminal
The large number of hand-written -- in Hindi and English -- posters we saw along the route in the cities and the townships, across villages and around tree trunks near the more frequented dhabas, calling for a release of Chhatradhar Mahato and sundry other ‘Maoists’ taken into custody with unprecedented alacrity by the Bengal police recently when we were away, certainly explained to us the kind of strong criminal hold the ‘Maoists’ of Jharkhand enjoy in that poverty-ridden, over-populated, caste-riven hinterland of Bengal.

The day we left a desolate Hazaribag, we learnt that an inspector of the special branch pf the Jharkhand police, kidnapped by the ‘Maoist’ criminals earlier, had been gunned down and his body left horribly mutilated on the Bundi-Ranchi express highway - as an ‘act of revenge against the arrest of Chhatradhar.’

Earlier, speaking to the students, teachers, and the educational employees of the Ranchi University who unlike, say, their counterparts in the Presidency College or the Jadavpur university on this side of the geographical divide, revealed how they are bitterly apolitical and simply curse the ‘Maoists’ as ‘dacoits,’ and ‘lower caste’ upstarts, thus, supporting in a manner of speaking, the rôle of the armed and dangerous descendants of the erstwhile Ranvir Sena and the Sunlight Sena as the ‘effective counterweight’ of the ruling classes against the insurgents.’

Back in Bengal, we note how Chhatradhar has been warbling as a lark in spring about his closeness to the Trinamulis. Much anti-Communist fluff is being bandied about in the bourgeois media about what the criminal has stated or not stated to the police during the interrogations going on. The same big media has been expectedly sympathetic with the ‘cause’ that the history-sheeter and his backer-uppers elsewhere represented. We learn that until date Chhatradhar has gushed out these principal points amongst other complete non sequitors, blatant lies, and easily identifiable misguiding ‘confessions.’

‘Maoists’ it had been that had set up the People’s Committee against Police Atrocities or PCAPA. This happened on the second week of November of 2008. The committee was to act as the ‘front’ of the ‘Maoists’ and the Trinamulis plus SUCI.

Chhatradhar remained a paid-up member of the Trinamulis until his being taken into custody by the Bengal police. Trinamulis asked Chhatradhar to run from a ‘suitable’ Assembly seat from the jangal mahal, in the 2011 Vidhan Sabha polls. A top leader of the Trinamulis, close associate of the chieftain, went to Chhatradhar’s residence to inform him of this ‘award’ for the anti-Communist activities the villain had performed. Chhatradhar was clear in his mind that he would become the minister of a cabinet rank, once the Trinamulis came to office by whatever means in 2011.

The local Binpur constituency is a reserved constituency for tribals. Chhatradhar is not a member of any tribal community. He was asked to contest from the Jhargram seat where thanks to the process of delimitation which itself the Trinamulis had stood opposed to, the entire Lalgarh block would structure a large electoral segment. The entire plan was coordinated by members of the ‘civil society.’

Chhatradhar was asked to keep in close touch also with the Trinamuli toughs of Keshpur-Garbeta, Nandigram, and Sonachura so that a comprehensive anti-Communist insurgency would be set in motion in south Bengal in a big way as the Assembly polls approached, and this was to begin from the last quarter of this year to be continued till the polls themselves approached in ’11. More violence was on the cards, plus the usual depredations.

Chhatradhar has received Rs 1.5 lakh by way of funds to ‘fight’ the Communists of Bengal and a forum called the Lalgarh Sanhati Manch had been set up to act as an open ‘democratic’ instrument to collect subscriptions and liaise with the big media, especially the news channel of the Patrika group.

In a recent interview to the Patrika, a ‘Maoist’ leader and one of the political masters of Chhatradhar, one ‘Kishanji’ alias ‘Koteswara Rao’ has clearly declared that the ‘Maoists’ would dearly love to ensure that the Trinamuli chieftain become the Bengal chief minister as she was the ‘most suitable candidate for the post.’ Elsewhere, just in case something else happened, Chhatradhar has set up a life insurance policy of Rs one crore, and the first instalment of premium set at five lakhs has been paid, source of funds yet stubbornly unknown.

The criminal has confessed that members of the ‘civil society’ were deeply ensconced in the ‘open’ support group and had demanded as the price of the monetary boost that Chhatradhar lead his goons into Kolkata and organise a show of arms at Esplanade which Chhatradhar duly did but sans any popular sympathy. Indeed, the ‘movement’ went steadily downhill since that show put up by a virtual gallery of rogues, criminals, goons, and hoodlums who were given bows and arrows, scimitars, axes, adzes, plus headbands of roughly-woven gamchhas, to pose as ‘authenticated’ adivasis.

Finally the criminal said that from the time the police ops started in the jangal mahal, the Trinamulis allowed the ‘Maoists’ to come to the fore of the PCAPA and asked Chhatradhar to take a step backward. The ‘movement’ declined further. As the resistance put by the villagers later proved, the stepping back part indeed had to be executed by the ‘Maoist’ goons themselves and, as we write this, the resistance movement continues to grow in an ever-widening arc across the red clay zone of western Bengal, and the people of Lalgarh and its surrounds have come out openly to denounce and denigrate the ‘Maoists’ and the Trinamulis as undesirable, harmful, opportunistic elements - something that fear had kept them from doing over the past months, and years. A march of tens of thousands of people in the Salboni area and at Indus on 3 October is but one example of the people’s power in motion.


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