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.