August 19, 2009

'Putting Victims on Par with Killers is Painful'


KOLKATA,7th AUGUST: The Bengal Left Front committee has issued the following statement on August 7, 2009:

THE press statement dated August 6, 2009, released on behalf of the governor of West Bengal and duly signed by him has pained and compelled us to respond to his reactions. While sharing the grief expressed by him we attract his kind attention to the fact that the political violence mentioned in the statement started before the elections to the 15th Lok Sabha and was targeted against CPI(M) in particular and Left Front in general. So far 74 CPI(M), 2 Forward Bloc workers, 4 JKP (Naren Hansda) supporters, 2 villagers and 3 polling personals were killed since declaration of the elections, notwithstanding 103 CPI(M) workers killed during the last one year (since September 1, 2008). The self styled Maoists take pride in openly claiming their ownership of most of these ghastly murders and their attempt to kill the chief minister of the state. We have no knowledge of any public statement released from Raj Bhavan on such occasions.

By asking “when the leading political formations of West Bengal have the same objective, why should violence not abate?” and arriving at a conclusion that he believes “those who can act, are not doing so,” leaves no distinction between the killers and the killed. The perceptive Indian mentioned in the statement would not have missed this difference and that probably explains why the statement is shy of taking his name. The role of some union ministers of the Trinamul Congress in encouraging this ‘tandava’ has been amply explained in the memorandum submitted by a delegation of Left Front MLAs to the governor of West Bengal. We are not aware if the honourable governor has sent any report to the union government on the involvements of these union ministers in this matter.

We would humbly like to submit that the constitutional head of the state should exhibit more apparent neutrality while making statement in public. If worship of force in all its forms has to be eradicated, the way highest office of the state behaves should also call for a meaningful change.


A sea of humanity reached out the last remains of comrade Subhas Chakraborty to the final destination as a clouded evening accompanied by a light drizzle descended on the metropolis. Leading the cortège was state secretary of the CPI (M) Biman Basu and the state secretariat. The frontage of the march of lakhs included the largest bulk of the state leadership of the CPI (M) and of the Bengal Left Front, and almost the entire cabinet of ministers of the Bengal LF government. 67 fluttering Red Flags recalled the number of year’s comrade Subhas Chakraborty had spent on the earth that and the people of which he was so much in love with, all his political life.

Earlier homage was paid to him in hundreds of thousands of wreaths and garlands at the Muzaffar Ahmad Bhavan, earlier to that at the Assembly House, the Writers’ Buildings, the Dumdum office of the CPI (M), his ancestral house, and at his Salt Lake residence. Comrade Subhas Chakraborty had been for some time in the past, a victim to a fell disease that he bravely battled for months and weeks and days. Indeed, out last memory of him was his stentorian presence at the meeting with the bus owners who were tarrying to implement the banning of fifteen-year-old vehicles despite environmental ‘reasons why’ having been made clear to them. Comrade Subhas Chakraborty had his way.

What most people did not know that risking infection, Comrade Subhas Chakraborty had left in the midst of chemotherapy session to ensure that Bengal’s streets and roads remained moving with vehicular traffic and that the strike threat had no effect: this became as he had planned. Comrade Subhas Chakraborty went back to the medical institution where he was being treated for a fell disease, and to the immense regret of us all, succumbed and breathed his last, come the mid-day hours of 3 August.


Apart from the CPI (M) general secretary, Prakash Karat, Comrade Subhas Chakraborty’s passage was condoled by the Bengal CPI (M), the Bengal Left Front, the Bengal Left Front government including chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, the mass organisations, the various popular associations including sports bodies to which Comrade Subhas Chakraborty was intimately linked – we recall his rousing reception to an overwhelmed legend called Diego Maradona in Kolkata some years back – and by the entire gamut of the Bengal opposition.

Of them all, Biman Basu broke down helplessly when he had to state the passing away of Comrade Subhas Chakraborty whilst the veteran mass leader and CPI (M) Polit Bureau member, an ailing Jyoti Basu was the most distraught at the going away of a CPI (M) stalwart whom he described as an activist ‘young Party leader’ in the full bloom of political endeavour.


Born in Dacca on 18 March 1942, Comrade Subhas Chakraborty grew up in Nager Bazar in Dumdum where he cut his political teeth at the Motijheel College. A member of the Communist Party in 1958, Comrade Subhas Chakraborty had to go to jail for leading movements of students (the then BPSF) against a fee raise. Comrade Subhas Chakraborty took part in the successive food movements, struggles against imperialism, movements against price rise and for the spread of education.

A close aide of the late Comrade Dinesh Majumdar, Comrade Subhas Chakraborty spurned repeated offers of jobs – he was an outstanding student – and chose to be a Party wholetimer. Comrade Subhas Chakraborty was the general secretary of the BPSF in 1969, state secretary of the newly-formed SFI in 1970, and was the second general secretary at the all-India level of the SFI after the founder general secretary Biman Basu.

Comrade Subhas Chakraborty fought a stiff battle against both revisionism and sectarianism. A member of the state committee as far back as 1971, he was made a member of the state secretariat in 2008. He led the CITU from the front as a Bengal and all-India office-bearer.


His electoral battle started as far back as 1967 when he was elected a councillor with overwhelming popular support in the then south Dumdum municipality—and he remained a councillor till 1978. In 1977, he won from the Belgachia Assembly constituency. Comrade Subhas Chakraborty who had won seven times in succession from this constituency was made a minister in the LF government in 1982.

Thence he was successively and successfully in charge of sports, youth welfare, and transport. Intimately linked to the Salt Lake stadium, Comrade Subhas Chakraborty was associated with the movements and struggles for the Bakreswar thermal power project and the Haldia Petrochem set-up.

A leader of great popular appeal, Comrade Subhas Chakraborty leaves behind his wife, Ramala who is a member of the district committee of north 24 Parganas of the CPI (M), and their son, Anubhav.


Date of Birth: 18th March,1942

Place of Birth: Born at Mashail, Dhaka, Bangladesh(now)

Academic Degree: B.A.

Name of School: K. K. Hindu Academy

Name of College: DumDum Mothijhil College

Name of University: University of Calcutta

Name of Spouse : Smt. Ramala Chakraborty(Bhattacharya)

Son: One

Political Activities:

· Joined Student movements while in School

· Member, CPI from 3rd May, 1959

· Joined CPI(M) after ideological division of Communist Party in 1964

· General Secretary of BPSF(1966-70)

· State Secretary of SFI(1970-77)

· All India General Secretary SFI(1977-79)

· Member, CPI(M), West Bengal State Committee from 1971

· State Secretariat Member, CPI(M) from 2008

Peoples’ Representative:

· Former Commissioner of South DumDum Municipality

· Elected MLA since 1977 from Belgachia East constituency (8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th West Bengal Legislative Assembly)

Positions Held:

1982 MOS, Sports,Youth Services, Dairy Development

1987 MIC, Sports and Youth Services, and Tourism

1991 MIC, Sports and Youth Services, and Tourism

1996 MIC, Transport and Sports

2001 MIC, Transport, Sports and HRBC

2006 MIC, Transport, Sports and Youth Services

Activities as a Trade Unionist:

Vice President, CITU, West Bengal Committee

Member, All India Working Committee, CITU



Comrade Subhash Chakraborty: A popular leader

NEW DELHI,3rd AUGUST: The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) expresses deep grief at the passing away of Comrade Subhas Chakrabarti, member of the West Bengal State Secretariat, trade union leader and minister in the Left Front Government.

Subhas Chakrabarti began his political activities from his school days when he joined the student movement in the late fifties. He was the all India General Secretary of the Students Federation of India between 1977 and 1979. He became a member of the West Bengal State Committee of the CPI(M) in 1971. During the period of semi-fascist terror in West Bengal, Subhas Chakrabarti boldly faced the attacks and organised the student and youth movement. Later he began working on the trade union front and he was till the end the Vice-President of the state CITU.

Comrade Subhas Chakrabarti was a popular leader who served the Party with dedication. His death is a loss for the Party and the working class movement in West Bengal. The Polit Bureau conveys its heartfelt condolences to his wife, son and other members of the family.

WEST BENGAL: Party Reviews Govt Work And Organisational Matters

Changes To Be Made In Ministry

KOLKATA,2nd AUGUST: THE CPI(M) West Bengal state committee at its two day meeting on August 1-2, 2009 decided to reshuffle and re-allot some of the ministries held by CPI(M) members in the state cabinet. The meeting also discussed key organisational issues and the work of the Left Front government. Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee drew the conclusions from the discussions in the meeting on the working of the state government while Party state secretary Biman Basu drew the conclusions from the discussions regarding the Party’s organisational matters.

Post the state committee decision, the reallocated ministries in the state cabinet would be as follows: Suryakanta Misra – Health; Anisur Rahman – Panchayat and Rural Development; Narayan Biswas – Animal Husbandry; Anadi Sahoo – Labour; Mrinal Banerjee – Power; Sailen Sarkar – Environment; and Rabilal Maitra – Law and Parliamentary Affairs.


The state committee noted that the Left Front government has earned success in many of its endeavours. But it stressed that alongside these successes, the government's drawbacks should not be lost sight of. It advised that after reviewing the work from a class angle, work should be prioritised and taken up at a brisk pace. The administration should be more pro-people in attitude, observed the state committee. There is also a need to tone up the administration and bring enhanced clarity within the administration. Works pertaining to land distribution, agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry, pisciculture, irrigation, provision of agricultural loans, higher quality seeds, fertilisers, and cooperative departments should receive more attention. The successes in these aspects should be further improved upon. Irrigation facilities in the state should be extended more widely and it should be ensured that poor farmers receive loans more easily and on easier terms, the state committee observed.

The committee noted that on the whole in the state, capital investment for industrialisation is steadily increasing. It stressed that in the drive for industrialisation efforts should be made to attract investments in the manufacturing sector, including small and medium industries in the state. More definite policies on land acquisition and rehabilitation should be adopted by the government. Work is going on for setting up land banks in the state, leaving aside fertile lands of the state. Efforts should also be undertaken to increase power generation in the state. Proper development of Self Help Groups and generation of new employment in the state should receive priority.

There should be enhanced clarity on preparation of proper and dependable BPL lists, taking care to see that every poor person in the state is included in it. All citizens of the state should have ration cards. The issue of ration cards and Antyodaya scheme should be given priority by the government. The process of obtaining bank loans should be simplified and marketing endeavours should be increased. Work programmes should be prioritised amongst schedule castes and tribes, OBCs, religious minorities, and refugees. The scope of work under NREGA should be further enhanced. Work on rural electrification should be speeded up. Construction of houses for both urban and rural poor and for religious minorities should be beefed up. Care should be taken to see that every child goes to school. The quality of education should improve and more teachers should be appointed. Greater efforts are needed for proper implementation of West Bengal government’s policies pertaining to workers of closed industrial units and unorganised sector workers.


Rectification effort within the Party is a continual process. However, there is a lag in doing this work with emphasis and there is a need to pay more attention to this aspect. Proper action should be taken against undesirable economic activities. Efforts should be made to eradicate inactivity of the Party members, wherever it is found. Party members should be well informed about our ideology. Activists who have emerged from movement and struggles should be enlisted as Party members. This enrollment work should be properly directed. The policy of democratic centralism should be correctly applied to implement programmes and to combat the attacks from the ruling class.

Anti-communists and anti-Leftist forces, ranging from the extreme right to the extreme Left, have formed a reactionary alliance in the state. The continuous terror being unleashed by the Trinamul Congress and this 'axis of evil' can be thwarted only by building up people’s solidarity. Their designs of anarchy and terror can be tackled in this manner alone. It has also been observed that Party organisations at all levels should be bolstered to thwart the conspiracies of the national and foreign reactionary forces against the advance post of the country’s Left movement. Alongside with it, the aspirations of the masses should be channelised into a circle of movement and struggles.

In the context of the present political situation, relatively younger generation workers should be entrusted with more responsibilities. More and more eligible workers coming from working class, schedule castes, tribals and religious minorities background should be entrusted with responsibilities. Efforts should be made to induct more women into the Party and to entrust them with responsibilities. The fact that the CPI(M) is a party of the working class should be reflected within the Party structure. Inner party struggle should continue to uphold this identity of the Party.

The state committee has also observed that the axis of political evil forces in the state, which wants to disrupt the daily chores of the common man and to stall developmental projects, cannot be deemed capable of taking up pro-people work in the state. Though it is true that the mass support of the Left Front has been reduced for the time being, the Party and the Left Front are capable of winning over the minds of the common people of the state through movement and struggles, and by building up more intense relationship with the common people.

The Party state committee has also decided to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historic food movement in the state in 1959 through various programmes on August 31.


KOLKATA,31st JULY: Addressing a large indoor rally to remember E M S Namboodiripad, the legendary Communist leader on his centenary year, held at the Calcutta University centenary hall during the evening of 31 July, CPI (M) general secretary Prakash Karat said that the CPI (M) would go to the people as in the past, learn from them and battle ahead defeating all adversities. Biman Basu was in the chair. The members of the CPI (M) state secretariat were on the dais.

Prakash Karat said that EMS was not merely a theoretician he was also of that rare quality that allowed one to put theory to practice. He would analyse the evolving situation and raw the correct lessons from them. He placed a remarkable address on the problems plaguing the Malabar kisans when he was speaking at a legislative session in Delhi in the pre-independence years.

This was the address that later served to inspire the land reforms movement in the country and gave birth much later to the movement for land reforms in places like Kerala and Bengal.

EMS was also a correct analyst of the nationalities question in Kerala and apart from calling for an integrated concept of what was then called a province EMS also spoke firmly in favour of democratic decentralisation of power, financial as well as administrative.

Prakash Karat said that the CPI (M) was at present under assault from forces of reaction, indigenous and foreign. The attack took a sharp formation prior to the 15th Lok Sabha elections and has continued since in Bengal.

From the date of the announcement of election schedule, 70 comrades have been martyred here in Bengal said Prakash Karat. In Kerala, the attack was open and overt. In Bengal the attack is covert and in the guise of ‘Maoism.’ Prakash Karat was bitterly critical of the politics of ‘Maoism’ being practiced in some parts of the country.

Analysing the election results obtained in the 15th Lok Sabha elections, Prakash Karat pointed out that the results were an ‘exception in Bengal where the LF has been in office for 32 long years.’ The CPI (M) has full confidence that it should learn from the people the correct lessons and drive forward in the days to come. The life and achievements of EMS would serve as source on inspiration in this task.


KHEJURI, 30th JULY: Anjali Maity is a housewife, and is of 30-odd years. She lives in the quiet of the shaded by trees village of Uttar Kalam under the Tikashi Gram Panchayat (GP) in Khejuri, Midnapore east. She leads the local unit of the AIDWA. She has stood stoutly by the side of her comrades when the Trinamuli goons started to harass them, and worse, targeting every single CPI (M) worker in the small hamlet, in the wake of their raucous electoral success at the GP polls.

We have a recent incident of deep political disturbance that occurred to Anjali on the night of 23 July. Anjali lives alone, for her husband, Balai, a CPI (M) worker, has been forced to flee their humble residence because of threats on his life by the local Trinamul toughs. Indeed, Anjali it was who insisted that Balai move out for the time being as a tactical move.

Then something terrible happened. Soft-spoken, mild-mannered Anjali had her residence broken into by Trinamul hoodlums, there were 25-odd men in inebriated state, and they beat Anjali to an inch of death and then gagged and kidnapped her, secreting her away in a remote art of the village as the skies opened up, rain poured down, and her cries for help could not be heard in the boom of the thunder-and-lightening.

She was then overpowered, her modesty outraged, and fingers of her hand broken for having the boldness to fight back. This went on for seven days, seven nights, and the Trinamulis spread the confident and authentic-sounding word around that Anjali had gone away to join her husband.

Anjali bore the torture with fortitude and she would struggle very hard indeed not to sign away the small piece of land that she owned and which the Trinamulis lusted for. She failed. Nevertheless, she did succeed in taking advantage of a momentary lapse of vigilance by her hated captors, jumped from a first floor window and ran for the nearest CPI (M) office in the dark and silence of another rainy night.

Since, she has been moved to a hospital, and a police case has been started against the perpetrators of the crime most of whose names she has informed the authorities. Bengal AIDWA has called upon the state home secretary urging upon him to bring the guilty to book.

The incidence drips sadness and outrage at the same time and, looking back, one considers it a great a pity that the Uttar Kalam village allowed a bunch of Trinamuli gangsters to get away with a win in the GP elections.


KOLKATA,29th July: There is a populist turn of phrase in Bengali, which applies with great political implication in the electoral line of the bourgeois outfits. The expression is khatay-kalamé and it is a signifier of an act of a promise being put on paper and then casually, expectedly given the go by.

The phrase khatay-kalamé has been of apt reportage utility for us, in describing the slight if high-profile difference of opinion on the score of venal political brokerage par excellence amongst the two Congresses who had unamicably combined as an utilitarian act of convenience, to capture the board of the Uluberia municipality in the district of Howrah in the civic polls of late.

The bugles had been blown. The fanfare was in full flow. The hour had approached for the Trinamul Congress, per khatay-kalamé, to assume charge of the municipal board at Uluberia. Something nasty happened, though, between the cup and the lip.

Cometh the hour, we say, cometh the turn-coat, as far as bourgeois parties are concerned. Without even a voting having to be called for, a clutch of Trinamulis noiselessly went ahead to vote the Pradesh Congress into office. Didi kept a grim silence that spoke a thousand words.

Elsewhere, things related to anti-Communist unity, too, are fading a bit we thought. At the time of filing of this report we observe and admittedly not quite with glum and murk, that the Pradesh Congress has gone ahead and unilaterally announced the names of candidates for the by-elections to the two central Kolkata seats that had fallen vacant with the incumbent MLAs having resigned and become MPs.

The Sealdah seat has always been Somen Mitra’s forté. It has been so whether he was at the helm of affairs of the Pradesh Congress or has deferentially kow-towed to didi and formed a small outfit minus political reckon as a step towards joining the Trinamuli band-wagon. We find it difficult to characterize whose domain the Bowbazar seat belongs though because of the innumerable times Sudip Bandyopadhyay has changed colours between the two Congresses.

At any rate, didi’s men are trying their roughest to cling onto at least the Bowbazar seat, but there is a section which would also angle for the Sealdah seat as well. Watch this space for further developments of toadyism of the querulous kind.

Biman Basu, Bengal Left Front chairman has announced the names of the LF candidates for the by-elections. Prabir Deb of the CPI would contest the Sealdah seat. Minati Gomes, a noted lawyer, is the LF-nominated independent candidate for the Bowbazar seat.


KOLKATA, 29th JULY: In the name of a bandh called on non-issues like presence of police in western Bengal, the Jharkhandis of the ‘disham’ group aided and abetted by local units of the Trinamulis assaulted railway passengers, held up train services, blocked highways and other main arterial roads, and forced shopkeepers to down shutters in the various towns of Purulia and Burdwan.

The hooligans came out with sharp, cutting weapons including large scimitars, spears, and daggers. People were terrorised. One of the chased, a young student by the name of Arghya Samanta, suffered from a panic attack as he stumbled and fell and saw a murderous mob approaching him with arms at the ready.

The young man aged 20 tragically died from a heart seizure. The attackers then ransacked several haats and bazaars putting to the torch houses of CPI (M) supporters in both districts, at several places, and then also ran amuck in the bordering district of Hooghly.

Biman Basu said that the recent events showed how the Trinamulis and their noxious associates were keeping up efforts to step up violence in Bengal, especially in areas where they have won elections of late. At the call of the CPI (M), street corner meetings and smaller rallies have continued across Bengal to protest the attempt at bringing back anarchy in the state.

In a related development, the Burdwan unit of the CPI (M) has produced video clipping that depicts the presence of one Nazir Sheikh on of the killers named by comrade Falguni in his dying statement. Manas Bhuinya the Congress leader had said that if it could be proved that the Pradesh Congress leaders on a recent tour of Mangolkote had been accompanied by any of the accused in the comrade Falguni murder case, he would resign as an MLA.

The ball is now clearly in your court, Manasbabu.(INN)

Transport strike in Calcutta over

KOLKATA,25th July: Operators of private buses and taxis in the Indian city of Calcutta say they have called off their strike. Their action was in protest against a decision by the West Bengal government to implement a ban on commercial vehicles more than 15 years old.

The ban, ordered by Calcutta's high court, was aimed at cutting pollution after studies found high rates of respiratory disease in the city. Vehicle operators said they would lodge a court appeal against the ban. The president of the Calcutta Bus Owners Association, Swarnakamal Saha, said he would take the matter to India's Supreme Court.

He said that they would fight the battle legally rather than inconvenience millions of passengers. The ban will be effective from 1 August - but it has infuriated bus and taxi operators. They say they would have no hesitation in switching to green fuels or buying new vehicles, but would need loans and easy repayment terms to help them make the move.

Environmentalist Subhas Dutta, who filed the case in the high court that led to the judgement, says that transport owners have had enough time to organise funds and switch to new, green-fuel vehicles. "This case has been in the court for a long time and the transport associations tried their best to stop an order for scrapping of old vehicles. Now they have no excuse," Mr Dutta said.

As some 60,000 taxis and 10,000 buses went out of circulation in India's third most populous city, the strike had a major impact, correspondents say. There were huge crowds at metro stations and schools and universities shut down for the day. The state transport minister Subhas Chakrabarty said that efforts to prevent the strike failed because the transport operators were unreasonable.

The city's ageing vehicles are seen as a major cause of air pollution and responsible for the sharp rise in lung cancer and similar diseases in the city. Mr Chakrabarty said that nearly 3,000 buses and mini-buses and almost 6,500 taxis will have to go off the roads or convert to green fuel because they were bought more than 15 years ago.

But Swarnakamal Saha said vehicle operators are simply unable to afford the move. "We understand the environmental concerns, the need to protect our people from pollution. But most of us don't have enough money to buy new taxis and buses on our own and the banks are cautious to lend in a climate of economic downturn," he said. "This is where we want government support."