THE REAL PICTURE: Trinamool Congress MPs demonstrating outside the Parliament House in New Delhi on Tuesday alleging CPI(M) atrocities in West Bengal. In the photograph, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar,MP (second from left), displays a poster saying it is a camp of "CPI(M) goons" in the Jangal Mahal area of West Bengal. It is actually a picture (at right) of armed Maoists outside a camp in the forestsof Dantewada, Chhattisgarh. That file photo, taken by our Staff Photographer Akhilesh Kumar, appeared in the online edition of The Hindu on March 15, 2010.--- Photo: R.V. Moorthy
By Marcus Dam
KOLKATA: Even as West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattcharjee on Tuesday described the Trinamool Congress as a party of “grotesque lies and slander,” an MP of the party, demonstrating with some of her colleagues outside the Parliament House in New Delhi, was seen sporting a poster with a picture apparently depicting Maoists in one of their training camps in Dantewada, Chhattisgarh.
The poster, borne by Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, representing Barasat in West Bengal's North 24 Paraganas district, read: “All camps by CPI (M) goons in Jangal Mahal areas must be disbanded.” Below this was a picture showing men with their weapons.
The same picture appeared in the on-line edition of The Hindu on March 15 this year (http://beta.thehindu.com/news/national/article 245722. ece) under the heading “Centre warns of retaliatory attacks by Maoists” with the caption: A Maoist training camp in the forest of Dantewada district.”
The Trinamool MPs were demonstrating against alleged atrocities by the CPI(M) in West Bengal.
This begs the question: Was the Trinamool Congress MP (Ms. Ghosh Dastidar) misrepresenting facts and passing off a picture showing armed Maoists in a camp in Dantewada as one of CPI(M) goons in the Jangal Mahal area (a forest area in West Bengal spanning the south-west districts of Paschim Medinipur, Bankura and Purulia)?
The Trinamool leadership has been claiming that CPI(M) activists have been entering the Jangal Mahal area and setting up camps for their armed activists under cover of the on-going security operations against the Maoists there.
Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee has even demanded that the security operations be withdrawn even as she claimed that they were being used by the CPI(M) to gain ground in the region, particularly in those areas of Paschim Medinipur district considered the hot-bed of Maoist activity.
On Monday, the eve of his retirement, Director-General of Police Bhupinder Singh told journalists at the Secretariat that “no evidence of the presence of armed supporters of the CPI(M) has been found in Lalgarh and its vicinity.”
THE HINDU, 1st September, 2010