March 15, 2009


Nandigram,14th March: Mamata Banerjee accompanied by truck-and-jeep loads of strong arm ‘supporters’ descended on Nandigram on 14 March. The small field at Hazarakata where she chose to address her faithful was not even one-third full as very few of the local folks would venture out at the fearsome sight of the kind of people accompanying her. The Maoists looked crestfallen. Mamata said interesting things. A few gems of samplers amongst many follow.

- ‘There would no PCPIR allowed at Nayachar even if “Rakesh Roshan” [father of actor Hritik Roshan] again visits the moon:’ Mamata also, in this connection, related at some detail the discussion that “Rakesh Roshan” allegedly had with the late Indira Gandhi from the moon. [What she tried to refer to of course, and in her own unique way, was the name of Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma of the IAF who had accompanied a US space mission when Indira Gandhi was the PM].
- ‘Another reason why the PCPIR would never be allowed to come up is that chemicals damage the eye, and I have proof of this.’
- “Even as I speak, the CPM is firing at us, across from Khejuri, only the sound is not heard”
- ‘CPM shall be upturned’ [?] if ‘Muslims stop running after them’
- Here is my manifesto [showing a thick bound book], but I shall not show it to you [smiles] as I have not read it myself
- The NREGA programme of late has been made dysfunctional in Midnapore east [where most GPs are run by her outfit].

The list is long and confusing and her sayings go on and on and on until we see the smattering of the local people who had made a late appearance quietly do a discreet disappearing act. The corporate media stay on as we make good our exit.


Lalgarh: Isolated they might be from the masses, the Maoists have kept up the tradition of viciously executed planned individual assassination of CPI (M) leaders and workers, supporters and sympathisers, a practice that was indulged in with impunity by their predecessors the Naxalites of the turbulent and anarchic Bengal of the 1970s.

As Chandi Karan, local committee secretary of the Belatikari unit of the CPI (M) at Lalgarh later was to say later, voice firm, back straight, “Twenty seconds late and I would have been pulverised by the land mine that blasted away a large part of the road over which I had driven my motorbike”.

Nonetheless, what the brave comrade did not disclose was the sight that we saw with the motorcycle lying flung to a distance of more than a hundred yards, on the red clay sandy soil, from the large, deep, ragged hole in the ground, and the lacerations, deep and bleeding on Chandi’s body, his shirt torn to ribbons.

The CP (Maoists) later claimed that they had blasted the land mine on the day, 13 March, to kill as they put it, an ‘enemy of the people.’ The attackers, said the villagers, were five in number and that they made well their escape following the dud explosion by running away towards Kantapahari, another Maoist haven in Midnapore west, offered to the assassins from across the border, by the local Trinamul Congress chieftains.

The police later made enquiries, and found that the local comrades have already and quickly enough, discovered and tore up from a shallow cut on the ground, a long length of coaxial cable with which the land mine had been triggered off. The blast pattern was the same as had been tried unsuccessfully on Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee just over a month back away at Purulia, perhaps by the same faction of Maoist killers.

Elsewhere at Nandigram the next day, a sad sight was unearthed when the severely disfigured body of a CPI (M) worker, face made a mass of flesh wounds through repeated acidic burns, hands and feet smashed, spine twisted out of shape, Subol Kajli (32) who was very apparently tortured for an excruciatingly long time, long before being finally killed with a shot through the side of the head, was found stripped to the flesh, on the char land of the Haldi River. Comrade Subol had been forcibly taken away by Trinamuli hoods and their Maoist minders back on 7 march.

Comrade Subol had been out of his native village, out of his familiar soft, green surrounds of the Southkhali hamlet where he had been born and brought up, for a pretty long, harshly long time, away from his small family, well-knit, loving. Subol had crept back inside what is now a marauder-reigned Nandigram 1 on 7 March itself and had gone to his humble hutment. He was taken away at the dead of the night as his wife screamed in vain for help.

Subol joins the long list of CPI (M) workers who had been kidnapped by the Maoists-Trinamulis after they exerted their hold on the GPs at Midnapore east- so many familiar faces: Chanchal Midda, Mohitosh Karan et al.

Both incidents saw people come out in their thousands early enough in a show of solidarity to the Party and the class struggle the Party and the masses faced in the western and southern parts of Bengal. Biman Basu has condemned the incidents and has again asked the CPI(M) workers to move around with revolutionary discretion.


Bankura: Comrade Sayid Ali Bhuinya, member of the Jaipur zonal committee of the CPI (M) was on his way back to his humble residence on 12 March, mounted on his trusty motorbike, from electioneering across far flung areas, as the early spring evening crept darkly in, he met with a sudden, but not unexpected, and armed assault at the hands of hired goons of the local unit of the Trinamul Congress who had laid in wait, in cowardly ambush.

A turn towards the area inhabited traditionally by goldsmiths proved fatal for the dear comrade—several shots from high-powered guns rang out from the waiting assassins, two of the large-calibre bullets sliced into comrade Sayid’s right ear and passed clean through, causing an instant if an exploding, harshly painful demise-- and another martyr to the cause for which the Party stands for was written into history of glory.

Comrade Sayid who was a Party member from 1979 had played a heroic role during the 1998-2000 when, as it had been reported in the Party press, a series of attempts, armed and dangerous, had been made by the newborn offshoot of Pradesh Congress called the Trinamul Congress to drive CPI (M) worker-sympathisers-supporters away and off from the whole belt of Jaipur-Kotulpur-Goghat-Ghatal-Jhargram stretching across buttressing parts of Bankura-Midnapore west-Hooghly.

Comrade Sayid along with other CPI (M) leadership was in the van of the task of organisation of the popular résistance. We saw villages being looted by the marauding Trinamuli goons, women molested, and men killed, CPI (M) workers hacked to death, – and the Ananda Bazar group chose to dub the fearsome medieval barbaric acts as a kind of liberation war and termed the killer raiders ‘warriors’ (yodhhas), going to the extent of posing men and women for photo-shoots with automatic rifles in hand and faces swabbed in towelling materials and calling them ‘the liberators.’

Those were the days of attack and popular resistance. Comrade Sayid was active amidst the masses of Bankura around the Jaipur-Kotulpur area we remember. He had been a target of the reactionaries and the sectarians since those days. Biman Basu, state secretary of the Bengal CPI (M) and the Bankura leadership of the CPI (M) have strongly castigated the heinous act of the Trinamuli goons as the elections approach and the bubble of fond optimism, boosted by the bourgeois press, starts to undergo a series of bursting as far as electoral prospect is concerned. Thousands rallied the next day to protest the dear comrade’s murder and called upon the police for an early apprehension of the merciless killers.


By B Prasant
A facetious if factual slogan has started to appear under the supervision of the Left student-youth all over Bengal. The slogan is popular, it attracts attention of passer-by’s, and it creates ripples among the ranks of the opposition as well, against whom it is directed.

What does the slogan say? It merely paraphrases and gives a slight warp to Mamata Banerjee’s policy outlook on Singur. “We, too, want industrialisation-- we, too, want the small car to be produced – not of course in Bengal but in Modi’s Gujarat.”

The politics of destruction, of delusion, of lies, of sabotage—face utter rejection amongst the youth, a wide cross-section of whom we spoke to and interacted with all over south Bengal for the past week. The ranks included students, unemployed and employed youth of various tiers and conditions, young women of various communities and the youth belonging to a bewildering variety of caste groups, and Communists, left liberals, even those who vaguely try to stay away from what they (mis)understand to be ‘politics.’

They were united in one point. The point is the bane of counter-progress advocated by and foisted on the people by Mamata’s men and women. Even more, they detest the strong and malodorous smell that the Trinamuli campaign gives out and which tells, in so many words—you can have industrial development, you can enjoy tranquillity, you can revel in amity, provided you vote us in and the Communists out. Otherwise, we will ensure that mayhem descends on you lot, and we shall let loose the dogs of war on you.

This mind game the youth reject completely. They are also furious at the naïveté political outlook of the Mamata brigade that boasts of the fact that unless the Communists come around to kow-towing to them as the Pradesh Congress has started to do they are going to ‘bash them into submission.’

Older readers will recall the famous slogan of the Hitlerjugend or the youth vandals of the Nazi party in the Germany of the terrible thirties of the last century that we understand CPGB leader Harry Polit was fond of quoting: Seien Sie mein Bruder, oder ich werde Ihren Kopf in verprügeln (‘Be my little brother or I will bash your head in.’)

Whether it is a small gathering during the dusk of a rural evening at Joymollah at Singur or at Gopinathpur in Haripal –both in Hooghly—or a large brightly lit rally at a crowded corner of the Alimuddin Street where Mohd Selim is to open an office of the CPI (M) local committee, the youth predominate the crowd that raise the slogan of triumph, give out the sweet whiff of popular electoral victory, and speak confidently of people’s success, come the elections. The feeling is already in the air before the campaign-counter-campaign has even started: ‘we shall overcome.’