Sunday, December 13, 2009

Unholy ‘Mahajot’ in West Bengal

Nilotpal Basu

THE process of political cohabitation between disparate forces to forge the `grand alliance' in West Bengal is coming out in the open. And it is a truly sordid story of systematic targeted killing and bloodbath. Many in the corporate media can hardly conceal their glee over the electoral reverses that the Left has come to suffer in its bastion. While many of these sections who highlight the commissions and omissions of the Left Front government and the weaknesses of the CPI (M), maintain a studied silence on the nature of the comprehensive anti-Left project that is clearly being played out in West Bengal. It is in this context that there is a genuine need to understand and comprehend the various strands of this overarching convergence of various forces and processes which is at work to successfully meet the central direction of this project – that of seriously undermining and dislodging the Left in West Bengal.

Since the late sixties the growth of the Left movement and the CPI (M) has faced severe attacks from the ruling classes. The premature removal of the United Front from office twice in the late sixties by the imposition of the president's rule with blatant abuse of Article 356 is part of the political history which was primarily aimed to thwart the rising tide of the movement of the workers and peasants. The most significant development during that phase of politics of the state was the unprecedented mobilisation of the landless, marginal and small peasants for land rights. The big land owning elements opposed the United Front government's thrust to identify ceiling surplus land, its vesting and redistribution among the rural poor. The popular struggle to ensure such a direction of the government was spearheaded by the CPI (M) during those troubled times. What is important to note is the decidedly rightist character of the platform which was forged to oppose the Left and dubbed efforts to ensure agrarian reform as one which caused ‘law and order’ problem and provoked anarchy.

But it was also clear that such a blatant rightwing thrust of the opposition to check the rising tide of the militant peasant movement was proving to be futile. It is in that context that the ultra-Left movement surfaced in the tiny hamlet of Naxalbari in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal. Later on, as a sequel to the essentially agrarian nature of the protest, it degenerated into largely armed activities of urban groups of youth and students. That these activities were almost exclusively directed against the CPI (M) and the Left was a foregone conclusion given the experience of the ultra Left anywhere in the world. It was also in the background of such a course of development that the 9th Congress of the CPI (M) noted “…petty-bourgeois adventurism must degenerate into an anti-working class, anti-revolutionary line and its inevitable destiny was to serve the interests of the ruling classes”. Finally, the movement that started with pronouncement of ushering in a `revolutionary transformation' got completely hijacked by the Congress and paved the way for the period of semi-fascist terror of the seventies.


For the last thirty years since the Left Front government has been in office in West Bengal, the Naxalite movement has generally faded into oblivion. The reasons were obvious. What proved decisive in the isolation of the naxalites was the successful and widespread land reform that was led by the organised Left. This process got statutory backing when the Left Front government came to power. So the combination of socio-economic development, political and ideological interventions by the CPI (M) and the organised Left led to the situation that prevailed in West Bengal during the last three decades.

The reappearance of the sporadic actions of the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) and the CPI (ML)-(People's War Group) in the beginning of this decade were however not based on any sustained work of the ultra Left in the largely tribal dominated areas of West Medinipur, Bankura and Purulia -loosely referred to as the Jangalmahal. These activities which again were mostly limited to carrying out ‘hit and run’ armed attacks against the CPI (M) killing its cadre. These activities were carried out with their bases in Jharkhand which had a long border with these districts. Subsequent to the formation of the CPI (Maoist) these forays increased. But what has really ensured the scaling up of the Maoist activities and violence with CPI (M) as its principal target has been the open support that they have come to enjoy from the Trinamul Congress.

The Trinamul Congress suffered a major electoral drubbing in the 2006 assembly elections. Apart from the positive support of the people to the policies of the Left Front government a major instrumental factor in the electoral outcome was the TMC's association with the BJP which by the time had come to face increasing political isolation following the 2004 Lok Sabha elections. In fact the Left movement in the country based on the strength of the support it enjoyed of the people of West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura against the communal-fascist politics of the saffron brigade and its aggressive neo-liberal promotion of the ‘Shining India’ paradigm contributed largely to the BJP's electoral predicament. The 2006 assembly elections were also an endorsement of the people to the Left Front's call for setting up new industries.

It had become apparent to the Indian ruling classes and particularly to the most die-hard political opponents of the Left -epitomised by the Trinamul Congress -that the Left in West Bengal cannot be undermined by the traditional rightwing platform which had been repeatedly attempted and failed in the past. Therefore, the need for an image makeover and refashioning the formal thrust of the opposition platform was initiated. The Trinamul Congress rallied some of the fringe naxalite groups and the SUCI around it on the question of opposition to use of agricultural land per se for setting up industry and infrastructure.

It is this background which saw many disparate forces coming together for their own reasons to undermine the Left Front government. The CPI (M)'s opposition to the pro-US imperialist shift in our foreign policy provided great impetus to both the forces of imperialism and the domestic ruling elite who preferred such a shift to engage more actively to lend support to this political project of launching a fresh political offensive. These sections were oblivious of the Left wing pretensions and avowed defence of the rights of small and marginal farmers who had come to overwhelmingly own agricultural land in the state. Incidentally, during the Left Front tenure an unprecedented 84 per cent of the cultivable land in the state was under the ownership of the small and marginal farmers. These advocates of neo-liberal globalisation had no confusion about the real nature of the Left sounding verbiage that the Trinamul Congress and its voluble supremo Mamata Banerjee were spitting. They knew right away that the pathological hatred that the Trinamul Congress harboured towards the CPI(M) and the Left can hardly result in anything but ultimately secure the most favourable atmosphere for the Right once the Left could be undermined.

Since the developments in Nandigram, this sinister nexus was becoming increasingly apparent. The methods which were employed in Nandigram pointed towards the involvement of political forces which were unlike the traditional anti-Left forces. The digging up of roads, the blowing up of bridges and the targeted killing of the CPI (M) activists in Nandigram created that situation where the entire area was out of bounds for the administration much before the unfortunate police firing of March 14, 2007. Later on, the Maoists themselves have revealed details about their involvement in Nandigram. In fact, a document of the West Bengal-Jharkhand Committee of the Maoists had pointed out that there is a growing opportunity for them to unite with different anti-Left political forces and forge an ‘all-in unity’ against the CPI (M) which according to them was a `social fascist' force. It is important to note that as is wont with the ultra Left, they did not find it necessary to elaborate economic, social or political factors leading to such a characterisation. The type of ammunitions that were unearthed, the eyewitness accounts of training given to the Trinamul led Bhoomi Uchhed Pratirodh Committee, the umbrella organisation which spearheaded the Nandigram agitation were tell tale signs of Maoist presence. Of course, subsequently, it did not require any formal investigation to establish such a connection. The Maoist leaders themselves, notably Koteswar Rao, alias Kishanji has made that explicit. Claiming the support that the Maoists had provided to the Trinamul in Nandigram they urged a quid pro quo from Mamata Banerjee vis a vis Lalgarh and Jangalmahal. That the Maoists were there and continue to have operational contacts is clear from the manner in which Nishikanta Mondal -the pradhan of Sonachura gram panchayat – the epicentre of the Nandigram agitation was eliminated by the Maoists. Mamata Banejree and the Trinamul Congress leadership had tried to shift the onus of the assassination of Mondal on the CPI (M). The Maoists came out with a strong rebuttal claiming responsibility for the murder. The Maoists further claimed that elimination of Mondal was the result of his attempt to shrug off the Maoists.

The Maoists have actually rubbished Mamata's claim. In a report published by the Telegraph on November 27, 2009, (which by no means can be faulted for its Left sympathies!)

A statement purportedly by Selim, head of the Maoists’ Nandigram zonal committee, said: “You (Mamata) had said at a rally at Sonachura recently that it was the CPM who brought us to Nandigram in 2007 and provided us with safe passage to flee. You know it was a lie.”

Selim invited the railway minister to an open debate at Sonachura. “If you believe what you said in your speech was a fact, please come to Sonachura and we will prove who is right, you or us.”

The statement also criticised Mamata’s proposal for engaging the army in Lalgarh.

It said: “We appointed Narayan to lead the Nandigram movement against CPM cadres. Trinamul MP Subhendu Adhikary knows how many times Narayan visited Nandigram and how he worked among the people of the area.

“You had delivered a speech from a place in Sonachura after the death of Nishikanta Mandal, the local (Trinamul) gram panchayat pradhan. It was the same place where Adhikary had shared a stage with Narayan and our state committee member Sukumar to address the people of Nandigram.”

The Maoist leader explained why Mandal was killed by his men: “After Trinamul achieved political success in Nandigram, it wanted to drive us out of the area. Mandal was planning to hand over Narayan to police. He had to pay for his betrayal. We are still active in Nandigram and we will be there in future.”

The Lalgarh episode was sparked off following police actions in the area in the wake of a mine blast which was intended to kill the West Bengal chief minister on 2 November 2008, when he was returning from a programme in Salboni to inaugurate a steel plant. Incidentally there was no agitation on land acquisition in the proposed site of the plant neither was any SEZ proposal involved. The so-called People’s Committee against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) which had been created in the wake of the attempted assassination was not interested in anything else but disallowing the entry of the state administration and the police personnel into the area. Subsequently, it became clear that they were acting as the front of the Maoists demanding withdrawal of cases against the Maoist squad leader Sasadhar Mahato who had carried out the assassination attempt on the West Bengal chief minister.

Trinamul Congress And Maoists

The link between the PCAPA and the Trinamul Congress was also clear from the very beginning. The PCAPA spokesperson Chhatradhar Mahato, Sashadhar's brother, had been a former Trinamul Congress local leader. Trinamul Congress chief Mamata Banerjee and other Trinamul leaders had also attended events organised by the PCAPA in Lalgarh during this phase though these areas were otherwise out of bounds of the administration. Now even the home minister has admitted in the Rajya Sabha (on 2 December) that the PCAPA is “only a front organisation to the CPI (Maoist)”.

In February 2009, Mamata Banerjee and other leaders of the Trinamul Congress attended political events of the PCAPA in Kantapahari the Maoist stronghold. The Trinamul Congress refused to accept that the committee was a Maoist front and did their level best to legitimise them as a genuine mouthpiece for `spontaneous unrest' of tribals who were `suffering under the 32 years of Left Front misrule'. The Trinamul Congress has spared no efforts to oppose the joint operation of central and state police in Lalgarh and adjoining areas and call for the withdrawal of those forces. Mamata Banerjee in her inimical style had claimed time and again that the assassination attempt of the chief minister was `stage managed' by the CPI (M) and Maoist presence in Lalgarh and Jangalmahal is a figment of the CPI (M)'s imagination.

But as and how the Maoist involvement in Lalgarh became impossible to deny, the task became all the more onerous given the overall stand of the central government on the Maoist question highlighted by the prime minister's observation `Maoist violence is the single largest threat to the country's internal security'. Meanwhile, the Maoist leadership was also making it impossible for Trinamul and Mamata to deny the complicity. Kishanji on 4 October 2009 clearly stated that Mamata was their preferred choice for becoming the next chief minister of the state. Of course, the Maoist leader Kishanji justified that with weird argument that Mamata being an all important individual with the sole proprietorship of her party – could be manipulated in favour of the people and insulated from the overall ruling class policy framework. The Maoists are real dreamers! They can bring themselves to ignore the fact that Trinamul Congress is a part of the central government which pursues a pro-imperialist neo-liberal policy. But on the other hand Kisanji's claims to Ananda Bazar Patrika- the spearhead of the media offensive against the Left-underlines the danger that democracy and the people face from such an obnoxious combination.

Undeterred by the failure of Trinamul and Mamata to call off the joint operation, Maoists have time and again repeated their pleas – at times even assuming a cajoling tone to pursue their goal. The Trinamul Congress of course has repeated its opposition to the joint operation and Trinamul leaders not only at the grass root level but also central ministers and other leading functionaries have visited Lalgarh to provide with specific assurances for operational support. The infiltration of Trinamul ranks by Maoist elements is a fact which has been confirmed by security experts and also substantiated by official intelligence received by both the central and the state governments.

Instances of Trinamul-Maoist nexus are almost unlimited. But the most explicit of these was played out around the siege of Bhubaneswar Rajdhani Express near Jhargram. That the siege was the handiwork of the Maoists was apparent from the very outset given the demands of those who perpetrated this crime. Neatly scribbled demand for the release of Chatradhar Mahato who had admitted that he was appointed the spokesman for the PCAPA by the Maoist operatives was a clear proof of the Maoist involvement. In fact the Maoists have given call for bandhs in the area demanding his release. But the railway minister refused to accept the truth and tried initially to blame it on the CPI(M). Later, the railway FIR did not even mention the Maoists.

The unsatiable thirst for power has landed the Trinamul Congress and its supremo in the company of all kinds of forces who are inimical to the interests of the people, democracy and development. This has happened in the past as well. Otherwise, how can one forget the ganging up with the BJP-- from the very day the Trinamul was born. Today, it seems that notwithstanding the broad political consensus in the country over the disastrous course that the Maoists have embarked upon – the Trinamul Congress and its leader is acting as if they are in siege. This sinister political course has to be defeated. Peace, democracy and people's welfare face an unprecedented challenge in West Bengal. It is a challenge which does not only affect the Left. For all patriots and well meaning people it calls for action. The central government also has a responsibility. The lessons of the Bhindranwale phenomenon cannot be lost on us.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Left leader Memorandum to PM : Irresponsible and dangerous moves of the Railways Minister

New Delhi, December 4: Following is the memorandum given to PM by the leaders of Left parties -- Sitaram Yechury, Basudeb Acharia, Shyamal Chakraborty, Prabodh Panda, Manohar Tirki, Barun Mukherjee.

December 4th 2009

Dr. Manmohan Singh
Hon’ble Prime Minister of India
New Delhi

Sub: Irresponsible and dangerous moves of the Railways Minister

Dear Prime Minister,

1. You have called the ‘Maoists’ the greatest internal threat to the security of the country, and yet, the Railway minister has kept providing these elements with her full fledged support in the media and through her declarations and acts. She has also repeatedly called for the release of Chhatradhar Mahato, named accused in murder cases. The Railway minister is constantly demanding the withdrawal of Joint Forces from West Bengal, which will only facilitate the activities of the Maoists. Within hours of a landmine blast in West Midnapore on 27.11.2009 which killed two policemen, the Railway Minister denigrated the Joint Forces.

2. The said minister has claimed before the media inter alia that the violence being committed on and against the leaders and workers of the CPI(M) is not the handiwork of the CPI(Maoist) but a result of internecine feud. She has called for the arrest of the Bengal Chief Minister and in the same breath the release of Chhatradhar Mahato while repeatedly calling also for application of ART 355 and 356 in Bengal. The ‘Maoists’ receive a moral boost from her declarations and deeds And almost simultaneously the Maoist Leader Kishanji reciprocated by airing his loud suggestions that the present Railway Minister should be the Chief Minister of West Bengal.

3. The annexed copies of the media reports would make it clear, the AITC and the CPI(Maoist), have long been engaged in destabilising the political situation of the state by means of assassination, mayhem, arson, committing crimes on women and generally seeking to create a situation where the democratic fabric of the state in put under great duress. The Maoist along with AITC activists are forcing people at gunpoint to join their rally and barricades.

4. Annexure I A, B, and C provide a detailed list of the leaders and workers of the CPI(M) and Left Front assassinated by the Maoist and the people’s War Group (PWG) from 2001. The number of those killed from June 2006 itself is 326. The ‘Maoists’ and the AITC have also killed, scores of common men, women, children, as well as police and medical personnel.

5. The AITC leadership is a close patron of the leadership of the People’s Committee against Police Atrocities (PCAPA), and its supremo Chhatradhar Mahato. Annexure II A, B, and C provide examples of this state-of-affairs from media reports.

6. Annexure III in the form of a CD contains photos that show the Railway Minister, Chhatradhar Mahato, and a section of the intelligentsia in confabulation in the area of Lalgarh, which has been a ‘Maoist’ stronghold. The PCAPA is nothing but a mass front of the CPI (Maoist) as reports in the media have repeatedly noted.

7. We draw your attention to the recent declaration of the ‘Maoist’ leader ‘Kishanji’ that since they have provided support to the AITC at Nandigram against the CPI(M), the AITC should come forward and help them at Lalgarh and adjacent areas.

8. The most recent incident of the blockade of the Rajdhani Express exposes the AITC game plan further. Even as the blockade was going on and graffiti being painted on the sides of the bogies calling for the release of Chhatradhar Mahato who is presently in police custody, the railways minister blamed the ‘Marxists’, meaning the CPI(M) that has held the train up. To add insult to injury, a full 24 hours earlier to the blockade, an AITC central minister Shri Sisir Adhikari had claimed before the media that he ‘knew that the blockade would take place.’ The source of ‘knowledge’ of this minister may kindly be probed and the nation kept informed.

9. At a time when the ‘Maoists’ have laid claim to the murder of an AITC worker Nishikanta Mondal at Nandigram on 22 September 2009, the Railway Minister keeps harping on the untruth that he was ‘killed by the CPI(M).’ On 29.11.2009, she has also said that she was privy to clues of the murder.

10. We enclose as Annexure II A and B the English translation of what has appeared in the Bengali print media on the nexus between the AITC-PCAPA-‘Maoists’ and as Annexure IV we enclose the original reports in Bengali that has appeared in the Bengali print media.

11. We urge upon you to take appropriate implicational notice of the developments.

Thanking you,

Yours sincerely,


From India News Network (INN)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

West Bengal Left Front Memo to the Central Team

KOLKATA: 2 December, 2009-The following is the memorandum submitted by the Left Front of West Bengal to the central team visiting the state on December 1, 2009, detailing the incidents of terror, killings, loot and destruction of property indulged in by the Trinamool Congress and their Maoist accomplices.


The anti-Left gang up, consisting of the Trinamool Congress, their ‘Maoist’ accomplices and other allies including some separatist forces, has been hell bent to disrupt and jeopardise the democratic atmosphere of West Bengal.

The TMC-backed hoodlums seem to learn no lesson even to-day and these forces of anarchism and disorder are in no mood to give up their fascist-like terror-tactics.

The irresponsible behaviour especially on the part of the members of the union cabinet representing the TMC is deplorable. It is quite unprecedented that two union ministers, Mukul Roy, minister of state for shipping and Sisir Adhikari, minister of state for rural development along with leader of the opposition in the state assembly, Partha Chattopadhyay went to Lalgarh on 28 July 2009 defying Section 144 and paying no heed to the advice of the state administration not to do so.

The open demand to withdraw the joint security forces from Lalgarh even by the members of the union cabinet reveals their disrespect for the decision of the union cabinet and exposes once again TMC’s covert and overt connivance with the Maoists and the so-called ‘Janasadharaner Committee’.

Such an attitude is quite detrimental to democratic norms and will only encourage the Maoist gunmen and anti-social opportunists. This is part of a well planned programme to incite and organise violent activities in West Bengal for petty political gains.

It may also be remembered that few months back a TMC MP ‘warned’ in Khejuri of Purba Medinipur district that nobody would be allowed to remain to hold aloft the Red Flag.

The terror-tactics of the TMC and its allies and their total disregard for democratic norms are also exposed in the incidents of planned attempts of assassinating democratically elected people’s representatives.

Apart from attacking Left Front MLAs, the armed anti-socials backed by the TMC in particular are threatening our local body members in Panchayats and municipalities and even forced a number of them under gun point to tender resignation from their respective responsibilities as elected members.

It’s now an open secret that the TMC and its ‘Maoist’ accomplices are helping each other in various forms and the pro-Maoist elements/ex-Naxalites are getting entry into different frontal organisations backed by the TMC.

In Nandigram, the Maoists helped the Trinamool hoodlums. In Khejuri also they came forward to back the TMC.

TMC leaders are also conspicuously maintaining golden silence uttering nothing against, rather tacitly supporting the senseless activities of the ‘Maoists’ at times.

It is a shame that even when Rajdhani Express passengers were at the threshold of abduction recently, the union railway minister tried to skirt the responsibility from the shoulders of the Maoists.

Nishikanta Mondal, a TMC leader and gram panchayat pradhan in Nandigram, Purba Medinipur was killed. The TMC leadership including its supremo tried to pass on the buck onto the CPI(M), even when the Maoists accepted the responsibility of ‘punishing’ Mandal.

The facts recorded below will reveal the real picture of how the TMC-Maoist combine is operating in West Bengal right now:

2 Nov 2008 – Mine blast to kill Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya in Shalboni, Paschim Medinipur. The chief minister and other dignitaries narrowly escaped.

3Nov 2008 –‘Eye wash’ was Mamata Banerjee’s comment on the incident.

6 Nov 2008 - Mamata Banerjee in a rally in Kolkata said: ‘I don’t see any Maoists here.’
17 Nov 2008– A so-called ‘People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities’ was organised in Dalilpur Chawk, Lalgarh, Paschim Medinipur. Chatradhar Mahato was made its spokesperson. Khemananda Mahata, Asit Mahato, Jatin Pratihar and such Trinamool Congress leaders are in the front rank. CPI(M) since the very beginning has been pointing out that Chatradhar Mahato is a Trinamool leader. Chatradhar too admited this on 4 July 2009. In the last year’s panchayat election, he was the election agent of Khemananda Mahato, a TMC candidate in the panchayat samiti. He even was responsible for giving a lead to the Trinamool in three booths of Lalgarh.
27 Dec 2008 - Mamata Banerjee submitted a memorandum to the governor of West Bengal about the issues concerning West Bengal. But there also, not a single time did she mention about Maoist problems.
1 Feb 2009 - Comrade Nandalal Pal, CPI(M) Binpur Zonal Committee member was murdered while performing the last rites of his mother in Murar of Ramgarh.
2 Feb 2009 - Even Comrade Nandalal Pal’s mother’s last rites were not allowed to be performed by Chatradhar Mahato-led goons.

4 Feb 2009 – Mamata Banerjee went to Khasjungle Chotopelia Dharampur area of Lalgarh, pillion riding on a motor cycle provided by the Maoists without any police protection and attended a local political programme. There she also met with Chatradhar Mahato and other PSJBC leaders, addressed a public meeting there supporting Chatradhar Mahato and his gang but maintained a golden silence on the Maoists. This inspite of the fact that the district administration had requested her not to go to Lalgarh.

6 April 2009 - The Trinamool candidate and retired bureaucrat-turned TMC boss Dipak Ghosh demanded that the election should be held in Lalgarh without any police presence. Same was the demand of Chatradhar Mahato.

12 April 2009 - Chatradhar Mahato raised a new set of demands that the so called ‘civil society’ ( pro-TMC group who were already involved in anti Left campaign in the state ) should act as observers in the poll process in Lalgarh.

24 April 2009 - Chatradhar Mahato and his gang created ruckus in Kolkata, Trinamool preferred to look the other way.

17 June 2009 – The campaign of the joint security forces started. Kishenji, Maoist boss was quoted as, ‘What will Mamata do now?’ On the first day of the joint forces’ campaign, the Maoists for the first time opened fire on the security forces from the house of a Trinamool leader Anil Mahato. Police arrested six miscreants from that house.

20 June 2009–Mamata Banerjee labeled the joint forces campaign as the ‘state- sponsored terrorism’.

23 June 2009 –Gour Chakraborty, ‘spokesman’ of the Maoists was arrested.

28 June 2009- Mamata Banerjee dismissed angrily villagers’ offering of drinking water to jawans of the joint forces as “all drama’

10 July 2009 -- The Maoists brutally murdered CPI (M) Party member Comrade Gurcharan Mahato (48) in Shirshi Village, Sadar Block of West Medinipore district. The Maoists set up a kangaroo court in the village and cut off the facial vein of Gurcharan Mahato.

11 July 2009- Biswanath Mahato , TMC activist from Belpahari and publicity secretary of Maoist leader Kishenji was produced in the court.

15 July 2009- The Maoists brutally murdered Comrade Gangahar Mahato (60), secretary of the Tumrashol local committee of the Party in Purulia district’s Barabajaar police station area’s Beldi village. Comrade Gangadhar Mahato was surrounded from all sides and was fired upon at point blank range and he died on the spot.

21 July 2009- Chatradhar Mahato wanted to sit in a discussion with a Trinamool delegation.
28 Jul 2009- Sishir Adhikary, Mukul Roy (both are union ministers) and Trinamool leader Partha Chatterjee went to Lalgarh defying Section 144 of the Cr P C and held closed-door parleys.

30 July 2009- In Paschim Medinipur district’s Goaltore’s Kanjimakali village, suspected Maoists gunned down CPI(M) leader Comrade Sagar Masant.

1 Aug 2009- Comrade Nirmal Mahato, secretary of the Birkaad branch committee of the Lalgarh was killed by the Maoists. His throat was slit by sharp weapons and hit with flat objects. Comrade Nirmal Mahato was the resident of the same village as that of the Maoist leader Chatradhar Mahato.

17 Aug 2009- CPI (M) Jibontla local committee member Madar Ali Mollah was shot gruesomely by Trinamool congress hooligans. The sixty-seven year old veteran leader was shot at point blank range. Before killing him, the miscreants also attacked the Zonal CPI (M) Party office at Canning, South 24 Paraganas. Several structures including a CPI (M) demonstration venue, a transport workers’ union office, an auto rickshaw union office were destroyed.

29 Aug 2009- In Purulia district, Comrade Laxmikanta Kumar, secretary of the CPI(M) Chatuhaasa local committee and Arshaa CPI(M) zonal committee member and was killed brutally by the Maoist- Trinamool assassins. He was a farmer by profession. The miscreants fled riding on a motorcycle.

30 Aug 2009- Comrade Debiprasad Hazra, secretary of CPI(M) ‘s Balarampu Gitilanghar Branch, Balarampur, Purulia district, was killed by the Maoists. He was brutally shot before the eyes of his 5 year old son.

8 Sept 2009- Comrade Ramdas Murmu was brutally killed by the Maoists. He was a primary school teacher and a member of the CPI(M) Sukhdali local committee, Sarenga area of Bankura district.

10 Sept 2009 - Comrade Krishna Kundu, CPI(M) Sarenga zonal committee member and secretary of the Bikrampur local committee, Bankura district was brutally murdered by the Maoists.

14 Sept 2009 - In Lalgarh Block, two persons were killed by the Maoist Trinamool alliance. Before the eyes of innocent children in a school building, their teacher Kartik Mahato was brutally gunned down by the Maoists. He was teaching his students in a class room. On the same date, in Shalboni’s Buripala, CPI(M) branch secretary Sambhu Mahato was forced out from his grocery shop and was killed by the Maoists. In the last nine days of September in Jangalmahal, seven CPI(M) workers had been killed by the Maoists. Four ordinary villagers had been killed by the Maoists.

18 Sept 2009 – Jatin Pratihar, TMC leader close to the Maoists was arrested from Katapahari along with Trinamool workers, Aswini Bej , Sunil Bej and Sundar Mandi.

20 Sept 2009 - Trinamool organised demonstrations demanding the release of the Maoists, they gheraoed a Police Camp in Dherua.

26 Sept 2009 - Chatradhar Mahato was arrested.

28 Sept 2009 - Noted strategic expert Bed Marwa alerted on entry of Maoists within Trinamool ranks.
3 Oct 2009- Mamata Banerjee is the fittest candidate for the post of West Bengal chief minister’, said Kishenji.

10 Oct 2009- ‘The central government didn’t want to arrest Chatradhar Mahato. The joint forces did a wrong thing. The Maoists should get a chance and the intellectuals should mediate on this issue’, commented Mamata Banerjee

14 Oct 2009- Kishanji welcomed Mamata Banerjee’s demand to withdraw the joint forces from Lalgarh.

25 Oct 2009– Sishir Adhikary, union minister attended a secret meeting in Salboni resulting in tension in the area.

27 Oct 2009- Attack on Rajdhani Express. - Sishir Adhikary claims that he knew about it - beforehand. Mamata Banerjee didn’t even mention about the involvement of the Maoists and said it is the work of CPI(M) .
29 Oct 2009- Not a single name of accused persons is present in the FIR of the Railways.

22 Nov 2009 - Comrade Tapan Mahato was killed in Salboni by the Maoists. He was among the three CPI (M) workers abducted by the Maoists.

24 Nov 2009–CPI (M) Binpur 2 zonal committee member Madan Ghosh was killed by the Maoists. In Belpahari block's Hardah area’s Aulia village when he was reaping his harvest, the Maoists fired upon him and then hit him with choppers. Madan Ghosh’s young son who was a police employee was also not spared .He was also shot at.

26 Nov, 2009 – Subimal Malli , ABTA member and teacher of Ranga High school and CPI(M) supporter, was shot from a close range by suspected Maoists . They snatched the money that he was carrying and shot the teacher and his pillion rider.

29 Nov 2009- Mamata Banerjee reiterated: ‘There is nothing called Mao’.

Attacks against CPI (M) members and supporters in Pursurah, Hooghly:

1. Dilip Manna, son of Haradhan Manna from village Shyampur, was brutally murdered by TMC Hoologans on 22, December 2008. The FIR No. is 144/08.

2. Mosammat Siddique Begam, wife of S K Mosaraf of village Boro Digrni, aged 40 years was gangraped, her hands and leg was broken by rapist TMC hooligans on 27 September 2009. The
FIR No. is 111/09

3. Saifunnesa Bibi, mother of Mosaraf, aged 75 years was attacked on 27 September 2009. Her left leg was smashed by iron rods. She was admitted first in Dakshin Narayanpur BPHC, Arambagh and transferred to Arambagh SD Hospital, and later on referred to SSKM Hospital where she died on 4 November 2009.The FIR No. is 115/09 dated 17October 2009.

4. Sk Hasibul Hussain, son of Late Moliar of village Boro Digrui was brutally beaten with iron rods. His hands, legs and rib bones were crushed. He died in Hospital. His house was attacked, ransacked and looted. The FIR No. is 100/09 dated 26 September 2009.

5. Baidyanath Pal of Sodepur, Pursurah was attacked.

6. Ganesh Hasda from Scheduled Tribe was brutally murdered in open day light. The FIR No. is 88/09 dated 12September 2009

7. From the 24-25 November 2009, eight members of Shyampur gram panchayat were beaten and forced to sign resignation letters. Chhabi Hazra, gram panchayat member, and her husband were beaten, their house was looted and destroyed.

Altamesa Begam, Pursurah panchayat samiti member of village Borodigrui was beaten and forced to sign resignation letter. Her house was looted. The FIR could not be lodged because of threat from TMC goondas. The house of Bimal Sigha Roy, Pursurah zonal committee member was looted and set to fire. Jharna Bhukta, wife of Kanan Bhukta, Shyampur gram panchayat member was beaten and forced to sign resignation letter. No FIR could be lodged because of threat from TMC goondas.

Gobinda Bera, pradhan, Shyampur gram panchayat in his written complaint to officer-in-charge, Pursurah complained that TMC miscreants are forcing him to sign on allocation of funds, looting the funds of panchayat. TMC miscreants are threatening him that his family would be murdered if he refuses to sign according to their instruction (Already established in district magistrate’s enquiry on last 25 November 2009).

8. Eight Party offices of CPI (M) in Pursurah were looted and burnt to ashes. The houses of 37 persons belonging to minority community were looted and destroyed. The houses of 65 persons belonging to the Scheduled Caste community were looted and destroyed till date. A total of 127 CPI(M) workers were seriously injured. A total of 173 workers and Party members were forced to leave their houses. The FIRs were lodged in Pursurah police station.

During the last floods, TMC miscreants looted relief materials from Pursurah relief godown (7 October to 12 October 2009).

All Types of weapons – guns, revolvers, mini canon, sword, tangi, and bombs are being used by the TMC hooligans in all the eight gram panchayat areas of Pursurah police station.
Astapada Bera of Pursurah village and Parvez Rahaman of Baikanthapur village are leading all the TMC attacks.

On Central Team to Bengal


THE central government has dispatched a team of officials of the union home ministry for discussions with the officials of the West Bengal state government on issues pertaining to law and order in the state. The CPI(M) had strongly protested this on the grounds that this violates the letter and spirit of the federal structure of the Indian constitution. The Supreme Court on several occasions has judged that any central intervention on matters which fall within the purview of the state government, in the “state list” enumerated by the constitution, can only happen in consultation and in concurrence with the state government.

The Trinamul Congress had interpreted the dispatching of the central team as the first step in the process of ensuring central intervention in West Bengal leading eventually to the dismissal of the duly elected state government and imposition of president's rule under Article 356 of our constitution. The TMC has repeatedly expressed its desire publicly that it seeks an early election in West Bengal under president's rule. In fact, all its activities have been directed to achieve this objective. By utilising the Maoists they are continuously engendering violence and terror and use this to try and establish the breakdown of law and order in the state. On this pretext they are seeking central intervention. This has been their clear strategy which has resulted in the imposition of unprecedented hardships on the people of West Bengal and has claimed hundreds of innocent lives. Elsewhere in this issue, a detailed memorandum establishing the TMC-Maoist nexus and listing the series of attacks mounted by this combine on the CPI(M) and the people from the November 2008 attempt to assassinate Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, is being carried.

Forced to respond to the CPI(M) protests in the parliament, the home minister made a statement in both the houses which reflected a retraction from the position taken by the TMC concerning the import of the home ministry officials visit to West Bengal. Four points were unequivocally made by the government: a) The visit of this team of officials is non-confrontationist. b) They shall hold discussions only with the officials of the state government. c) They will visit districts or areas of conflict only if the state government requests and facilitates such visits. d) They may receive memoranda from political parties in West Bengal but are not mandated to have any discussions with them.

This assurance clarified the fact that the visit of this team was more in the nature of assisting the state government and not for assessing the law and order situation as made out by the TMC. Currently, the central and state security forces are jointly operating in Lalgarh and other adjoining areas in Midnapur in combatting the Maoist violence. The effort is to restore both normalcy and the rule of civil administration in these areas.

As stated earlier in these columns, it is simply untenable for the Congress to have the TMC as part of the ruling coalition. This is so because the prime minister on several occasions and the union home minister on more occasions have publicly gone on record to state that Maoist violence constitutes the gravest of threats to India's internal security. The TMC on the other hand is directly and openly collaborating with the Maoists in unleashing terror, creating lawlessness and anarchy besides claiming the lives of innocent people. It is for the Congress to explain how it can live with such blatant contradiction in its own union cabinet.

If the political objective is to try and weaken the CPI(M) and the Left in Bengal through murderous assaults and the spread of terror, then, all that can be said is that they have not learnt from history. Using Left adventurists to attack the CPI(M) is not a new phenomenon in West Bengal. For five years between 1972 and 1977, a semi-fascist terror was unleashed against the CPI(M) by a similar political combination. The CPI(M) not only fought back but has established an unassailable political and electoral leadership in the state for over three decades. Unable to break this consolidation of the Left Front in Bengal in the absence of any credible alternative policy direction that they could offer to the people of Bengal, the Trinamul Congress has ganged up with all reactionary forces, ranging from the Maoists to sections of Muslim fundamentalists, to dislodge the Left Front government and capture power through terror and violence. It is this unholy gang up under the leadership of the TMC that is mounting the current assaults in Bengal. This anti-democratic gang up and its violent terror attacks against the CPI(M) and the people of Bengal needs to be politically isolated and defeated in order to prevent the state from sliding back once again into lawlessness and anarchy like it was subjected to in the 1970s.

(December 2, 2009)

Assault on Federal Structure

New Delhi: 1 December, 2009- The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:

The decision of the Central Government to send a Central team to West Bengal bypassing the state government is an assault on the federal structure mandated by the Constitution. It is unfortunate and regrettable that the Central government should succumb to the unreasonable and politically motivated demand of the Trinamool Congress for sending a team.

The politically motivated demand by the Trinamool Congress is against the spirit of the Constitution and amounts to a gross interference in the affairs of the state government. It further contravenes several judgments of the Supreme Court on this question.

The Trinamool Congress in collaboration with Maoists is creating a law and order situation in West Bengal by murdering CPI(M) and Left cadres and blame the Left Front government to cover up its nefarious activities.

The Polit Bureau appeals to all the democratic forces and the people to oppose the move of the Central government and the Trinamool Congress which violates the spirit of the Indian Constitution.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Buddhadeb steps into his 10th year as Chief Minister

The Hindu, 9th November,2009
KOLKATA: West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, besieged by challenges, stepped into his tenth year in office on November 6. This is, arguably, the most difficult time in his tenure.

“There is no looking back, the only way is the one forward,” has been his refrain over the years. Mr. Bhattacharjee stays on track, apparently cool and stoic, while all around him, the sound and fury of political enemies and detractors grows fiercer by the day.

For one who adopted “do-it-now” as a credo, Mr. Bhattacharjee has come a long way: from the poster-boy of reform in the Left to a Chief Minister wizened in the face of adversity. The setbacks range from forced relocation of the Tata Motors’ small car project from Singur to a severe electoral defeat for the CPI(M) and the Left Front in the 15th Lok Sabha election. The problems include simmering political unrest in the Darjeeling hills arising from the demand for a separate State comprising the region, and violent Maoist activity in parts of the southwest with its epicentre at Lalgarh.

Chief Minister Bhattacharjee’s programme of greater industrialisation in the State to create more jobs has met with some setbacks at the hands of Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress teaming up with the Congress, ‘left’ extremists, and various bit players. But the industrialisation programme remains on his list of priorities as does a determination to counter the Maoist threat — not only through security operations against the ultras but by ensuring development in the affected region.

What is notable is this man’s resolve to end lawlessness. This, the leadership of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) believes, is part of the programme of the principal Opposition party in the State, the Trinamool Congress — on occasions in league with the Maoists — to create anarchy and terror across West Bengal. Never one to shy away from admitting lapses on the part of his government, Mr. Bhattacharjee speaks of “lessons learnt” during his term in office.
There was one lesson to be learnt from the high-handedness of some policemen during raids to track down those responsible for an abortive attempt on his life (by Maoists) when he was returning from Salboni in Paschim Medinipur district on November 2, 2008. The tribal resistance group that emerged quickly morphed into a local front for the extremists in Lalgarh. Another lesson was learnt from the developments in Nandigram where the Chief Minister called off a proposed chemical hub project early in 2007. The hostilities were purportedly against the proposed acquisition of villagers’ land, a baseless charge brought by a concerted opposition that the CPI(M)-led government failed to counter effectively. In actuality, what was involved was a political turf war between the Trinamool Congress and the CPI(M). As for the Nano project being moved out of Singur, it was “a battle lost, not the war.”
In times as grim as these, what makes Mr. Bhattacharjee tick, one wonders. Asked about the relevance of holding film festivals (the Kolkata Film Festival on which he has always been keen will be from November 10 to 17) at a time when the State is being buffeted by inter-party clashes, the person behind the persona had this to say: “Even a hungry man sings.”

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Probe This Nexus!

People's Democracy
November 01, 2009

THE Maoists have staged a daring stoppage of the Bhubaneswar-Delhi Rajdhani in the Jhargram-Kharagpur section, near Banstala station and holding it for over five hours. Mercifully, there were no casualties, thanks to the joint operations conducted by the security forces which resulted in the safety of the passengers and the release of the train. From the graffiti on the train, scripted by no hapless tribal but by someone well heeled, it can be inferred that this was done to demand the release of Chhatradhar Mahato, leader of the Maoist-backed People's Action Committee against Police Atrocities, recently arrested by the police.

The whole incident raises many questions that need to be probed. All those who have travelled by Rajdhanis or Shatabdis know that the train hurtles at speeds of around 120 kilometers per hour and even when obstructions are noticed on the track, application of emergency breaks would lead to damage to both the tracks and the train. In this case, however, the train peacefully ground to a halt.

The minister of Railway's first reaction, typical of the usual hyperbole and absurdity, was that the CPI(M) cadre had blocked the train to malign her image! However, when the graffiti exposed the perpetrators of this outrage as belonging to the Maoists, the minister expressed her desire for a dialogue and even conveyed to those holding the train hostage to suggest a venue! Further, one of the Trinamool Congress ministers in the union cabinet, Sishir Adhikary, soon after the incident, boasted to the media that he had prior knowledge that such an attack would take place. Surely, the prime minister needs to probe the source of such `knowledge' by his ministerial colleague and inform the nation.

The collaboration of the Trinamool Congress with the Maoists has been detailed in these columns earlier as well. Chhatradhar Mahato was a local Trinamool leader before becoming the head of the so-called People's Committee. The self-declared and publicity hungry spokesman of the Maoists, Kishenji, had earlier declared to the media that the Maoists wish to see Ms Mamata Banerjee as the future chief minister of Bengal. He has also suggested that as they had helped the Trinamool earlier in Nandigram and now in Lalgarh, they expect the Trinamool to return the favour. Clearly, this has once again confirmed that the Maoists began their operations in Bengal under the political patronage and protection provided by the Trinamool.

It is precisely due to this political collaboration between the two that the Trinamool, till we go to press, has not condemned this Maoist outrage of stopping and damaging the train. It is again precisely due to this political arrangement between the two that the Trinamool Congress has been asking for the withdrawal of the central forces in the operations against Maoist terror in Bengal. Ironically, such blatant support for the Maoists and their terrorist activities comes from a party that is in that very union cabinet headed by the prime minister who on repeated occasions had stated that Maoist violence constitutes the gravest threat to India's internal security. The tragedy for the country is that this UPA government is continuing, displaying no discomfort, despite such a blatant contradiction. The prime minister owes an explanation to the country on this score.

In the meanwhile, there are reports of growing unrest and insecurity amongst the railway employees. A leader of the Railway Men's Union in Purulia has expressed grave doubts on the security of railway personnel who are not being provided adequate forces to protect themselves from growing Maoist attacks on railway stations, tracks and other railway facilities. The situation will not improve, they feel, as long as the Trinamool chief is the Railway minister because of the close political collaboration between them.

These are issues that warrant a serious probe. Can the safety of the Indian Railways, one of the most important instruments of our country's unity and integrity, be jeopardised at the altar of crass political opportunism of protecting and patronising the Maoists? And, consequently, permit the Maoists to mount grave threats to our country's internal security? The prime minister and this UPA-2 government need to assure the people that India's internal security is not being compromised. A thorough investigation into all these issues must be urgently ordered and those culpable of damaging the interests of our country that threaten the lives of the innocent people must be made accountable.

(28 October, 2009)

Concerned Citizens on “Maoist” Violence

About 40 eminent intellectuals, writers and artistes etc. jointly issued the following statement from New Delhi on October 27.

THERE has been a spate of growing murder and violence in certain areas of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and West Bengal by armed persons acting on behalf of the “CPI (Maoist)”. We strongly feel that their use of the name of Mao Zedong, a widely respected figure, while carrying out the acts of carnage and killing, is reprehensible. Such acts can also in no way be justified in the name of a war against the state. While every conscious citizen opposes acts of oppression committed by members of the exploiting classes or individuals in the state apparatus, the so-called “Maoists,” by their violent acts of vendetta, torture and gruesome killings, are gravely damaging the cause of the popular democratic movement. The “Maoists” are thus in fact working against the interests of the workers and peasants.

In order to isolate the “Maoists” politically, it is however important that the Indian state do all that is necessary to restore its presence and credibility in tribal areas whose interests it has largely been ignoring. The central government should review its neo-liberal policies that have pauperised the tribal people and help the state governments to meet their developmental challenges in these areas. Counter insurgency vigilante groups (such as Salwa Judum) have proved to be counter productive. Harassment and killing of innocent local people should be avoided while tackling the violence, and those responsible for such acts in the name of fighting the "Maoists" should be punished. A genuine dialogue should be started with those "Maoists" who are ready to give up the path of armed struggle.

The signatories included:
Irfan Habib,
Teesta Setalvad,
Vijay Prashad,
Utsa Patnaik,
Amiya Kumar Bagchi,
M K Raina,
Najaf Hyder,
Badri Raina,
Shireen Moosvi,
Jayati Ghosh,
Iqtadar Alam Khan,
Sohail Hashmi,
Archana Prasad,
Amar Farooqui,
Ayesha Kidwai,
Simi Malhotra,
Nadim Rizavi,
Sonya Surabhi Gupta,
Lata Singh,
Atlury Murali,
Biswamoy Pati,
Madhu Prasad,
D N Jha,
P K Shukla,
Arjun Dev,
Suvira Jaiswal,
H C Satyarthi,
Kesavan Veluthath,
V Ramakrishna,
N R Rana,
N K Sharma,
Prabhat Patnaik,
Arun Bandopadhaya,
Rajendra Prasad.

Whose Interests are Maoists Serving?

People's Democracy
October 18, 2009

THREE people were shot to death during a prize giving ceremony of a football match in Mayurbhanj district of Orissa. A bus carrying pilgrims to the Ajmer Sherif was shot at in Isri in Jharkhand's Giridih district, seriously injuring twelve passengers. Railway tracks have been blown up in various parts of Bihar and Jharkhand. Tourists were looted in the Similipal tiger reserve in Orissa, while forest offices were ransacked looting rifles and wireless communication sets. Schools in Lakhi Sarai district and the Nawadih Middle School in Chatra were dynamited. Roads and bridges have been damaged disrupting traffic on the highways. Explosives have been repeatedly used to damage telecommunication towers.

This is the track record of the first three days of this week of Maoist violence that is sparing not even innocent women and children. The murderous attacks in Medinapur district of West Bengal continue with the latest victim being a member of the Jharkhand party. As reported earlier, nearly 130 members and activists of the CPI(M) have lost their lives in such attacks in recent weeks. The CPI(M) continues to be targeted as it is in the forefront of the battle against such motivated violence and to protect the lives and properties of the innocent people. This is apart from the `ideological' reasons that are advanced to attack the CPI(M), to which we shall return later.

Contrary to the infatuated romantic description that Maoist influence is spreading because they espouse the cause of the most marginalised sections like the tribals, the truth is that control over administration of a territory provides substantial pecuniary as well as political power. This is the driving force behind much of their violent activities. This has been confirmed by the outpouring of information that the Maoist leader, Chatradhar Mahato has provided following his arrest in Lalgarh, West Bengal. Contrary to the propaganda that the People's Committee against Police Atrocities was a spontaneous creation by local tribals, Mahato has revealed that this was a front created by the Maoists to be used to cordon off an area out of bounds for the police and civil administration. The so-called Maoist `liberated zone'. This was to shelter the Maoists who were then being hunted by the police following the land mine blast near Salboni targeted to assassinate chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya. In their typical style, like they did earlier in Nandigram, all roads and communication channels leading to this area were disrupted. Simultaneously, all those who resisted such a capture by the Maoists, mainly the CPI(M), were targeted for elimination.

Mahato also revealed that the Maoists received complete support and protection from the Trinamool Congress. This assisted them in spreading the reach of the `committee' to many neighbouring villages. Local Trinamool leaders would provide both shelter and assistance for the Maoists to spread their activities. Clearly, the Trinamool Congress both patronised and provided the political cover for the Maoists to spread their activities and target the CPI(M) leaders and the Left Front's support base for advancing its political and electoral fortunes. Mahato has also revealed that the so-called `intellectuals' mobilised by the Trinamool Congress also provided huge amounts of monetary donations for sustaining their activities. The Maoist-Trinamool nexus has become so integrated that one of the Maoist leaders in an interview, in Ananda Bazar Patrika (October 4), openly declared their desire to see Mamata Banerjee as the next chief minister of West Bengal!

It is, therefore, little wonder that the ministers in the union cabinet belonging to the Trinamool Congress are pressurising the union government to withdraw the central security forces which are currently in joint operations with the state security forces against the Maoist activities. Apart from legitimising the brutality of Maoist violence, the Trinamool Congress is directly negating the assessments of the prime minister and the union home minister that Maoist violence constitute the greatest threat to India's internal security. This sounds appropriate given the fact that the same number of 17 lives were lost in the Maoist attack at Gadchiroli as in the Taliban terrorist attack on the Indian Embassy in Kabul. Yet, the Trinamool Congress ministers continue to remain in the union cabinet. The UPA and Congress party owes an answer to the country.

That the Maoists represent the voice and champion the interests of the downtrodden sections of the people has, once again, been belied when their call for a boycott of elections in Gadchiroli failed to evoke the expected response. The polling percentage here was much higher than that in the country's commercial capital city of Mumbai. Their domination in any area is, thus, mainly out of terror rather than the support and sympathy of the exploited and the marginalised people.

The cause of the exploited and the marginalised forms the core agenda of the CPI(M) and the Left parties in our country. The elimination of such conditions of misery lies in the powerful mobilisation of the mass of the people in political actions that should eventually lead to the replacement of the Indian ruling classes and, hence, the reversal of the policies that are based on exploitation of man by man and the immiserisation of the vast masses of people. In the run up to such a powerful mass upsurge, popular protests and pressures will have to be mounted on the ruling classes at every stage to protect the livelihood of this vast mass of people. This means that all the neo-liberal economic policies, spearheaded by imperialist globalisation, that have been imposing unprecedented miseries on the people need to be opposed. During the course of this decade or so, in many battles that have occurred against the ruling class policies and imperialism, have the Maoists ever been seen, leave alone heard, to raise their voice on such vital matters?

Further, for the toiling people to succeed in their struggle against exploitation, it is of utmost necessity that their class unity is strengthened in such struggles. Communalism disrupts precisely such unity by exploiting the religious sentiments amongst the people. For the revolutionary advance of the Indian people it is necessary that the communal offensive must be weakened and defeated. Where do the Maoists stand in this battle? They are promoting a person to be the future chief minister of West Bengal who served as a cabinet minister in the Vajpayee government, remaining silent, thus implicitly supporting, the State-sponsored communal genocide in Gujarat. She is serving as a cabinet minister today in the Manmohan Singh government. Such is the opportunism of the Maoist `class assault' against the State.

Today's Maoists are the result of a partial reuniting of the hopelessly fragmented naxalite groups following their split with the CPI(M) in 1967. Following the formation of the Communist Party of India (ML) in 1969 by Charu Majumdar, this underwent various splits and re-splits for over three decades. Of these, the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) in Bihar and the People's War Group (PWG) in Andhra Pradesh merged to form the CPI(Maoist) in 2004.

The Maoists split from the CPI(M) on the basis of their assessment of the character of the Indian ruling classes. According to them, the Indian ruling classes were `comprador', i.e., mere agents of imperialism not having any meaningful social and political base amongst the Indian people. Hence, all that was required was to arm the Indian people and launch a `people's war' to achieve revolutionary liberation. Thus, arose the naxalbari appraisal soon to be quelled by the State.

Despite the experience of the last four decades, which vindicated the CPI(M)'s understanding that the bourgeois-landlord Indian ruling classes had a strong political and social base among the Indian people, the naxal/Maoist groups continued with their earlier assessment. The CPI(M), on the other hand, has been working to change the correlation of class forces amongst the Indian people by using both parliamentary and extra parliamentary methods in order to bring about a revolutionary change. This, the Maoists see, as the legitimisation of the parliamentary democracy in India and, hence, they target the CPI(M) as their principal enemy.

Concrete analysis of concrete conditions is the living essence of dialetics, as Lenin said. If the conditions are not properly understood, then faulty analysis leads to a faulty political line. The task of mobilising the people and changing the correlation of class forces amongst the people, cannot be replaced by seeking the submission of the people through the terror of the gun. In the process, poor Mao Zedong, the legendary Communist who led the Chinese revolution to victory, through a powerful, then the mightiest in the world, people's movement is invoked to justify the very opposite of what he had practiced. Mao had taught all of us that no revolution can succeed unless Communists mingle with the people like fish takes to water. This can never happen through the terror of the gun.

In the final analysis, the praxis of the Maoists is benefitting those very reactionary forces like the Trinamool Congress and, in the absence of any opposition to either imperialism or communalism, they only ensure the continuance of the edifice of class exploitation. Since 1967 when they parted company with the CPI(M), we have been urging them to abjure the politics of violence and terror, and to return to the democratic mainstream and mobilise the people for a revolutionary change. After all, it was Mao who said, “Let a hundred flowers bloom, let a thousand thoughts contend”.

October 14, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

‘Flawed programme and practice’ : Prakash Karat


Interview with Prakash Karat, general secretary, CPI(M)

PRAKASH KARAT SAYS the Maoists will end up helping the state.

AS a party based on the Marxist-Leninist ideology, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has serious differences in theory and practice with the Maoist groups in the country. In an interview to Frontline, party general secretary Prakash Karat explained why the tactics of the Maoist groups will never help solve the problem of poverty. Excerpts:

Q: How does the CPI(M) assess the spurt of Maoist activity? Politically, how do you view the approach of the Maoist groups?

KARAT: The Maoists claim to be a revolutionary force. But they are far from being an organisation based on a Marxist outlook. Though they call themselves a communist party, their ideology and practice go against the basic principles of Marxism and what a communist party should be. Their programme and practice are flawed; they do not even recognise the realities. They harp on India being still a semi-colonial country; their politics is based on the gun and the use of violence, which essentially disrupts the working class movement and mass mobilisation. By indulging in senseless violence mainly directed at its political opponents, the Maoists end up helping the state to come down heavily on the people they claim to champion.

Q: The Left Front government in West Bengal has been at the receiving end of such violence for some time now. How has the character of such activities changed over the years?

KARAT: The Maoists have been trying to organise and be active in West Bengal for quite some time now. They have failed to acquire a mass base. Where they are active is mainly in the border districts of Paschim Medinipur, Purulia and Bankura, all bordering Jharkhand. Here we have seen how, in the past few months, they have systematically targeted the cadre and supporters of the CPI(M). Though they claim to have popular support, the Maoists are not willing to put it to the test. The CPI(M), which has a large mass base among the tribal people, is opposed to the disruptive politics and violence of the Maoists. That is why they are indulging in targeted assassinations and killings. Some of the people they have killed have been executed in a brutal fashion, in front of their family members. How can the killing of CPI(M) workers, most of them poor tribal people, be considered a revolutionary activity by any standard? It is now well known that the Maoists collaborated with the Trinamool Congress to fight the CPI(M) and the Left Front. This is a feature of the Maoists elsewhere too. Their squads have no hesitation in backing one bourgeois party or the other. It can be seen in Bihar and in other States too. Most of the people killed by the Maoists, apart from policemen, are poor peasants, agricultural workers or the rural poor.

Q: There has been a palpable change in the Central government’s approach to these Maoist groups. It now views them as a serious threat. At the Chief Ministers’ conference on internal security in Kolkata recently, Home Minister P. Chidambaram described naxalites as the biggest threat to internal security. Do you think that just stepping up police and other paramilitary support is enough to quell the activities of these groups?

KARAT: As far as the CPI(M) is concerned, we think that the Maoists have to be fought and countered politically and ideologically. Wherever they are active and try to mobilise the tribal people and poorer sections, they must be combated politically. When they indulge in violence and terrorising of political opponents, administrative steps have to be taken to curb them. It is not possible to deal with them only politically when they are resorting to large-scale killing. In Lalgarh alone, in the past few months, more than 60 CPI(M) supporters were killed by the Maoists.

The Central government has announced it will deploy more paramilitary forces in some of the Maoist-affected States. This alone is not sufficient. In those areas, the government must embark upon socio-economic development; there have to be immediate measures to execute land reforms and provide basic services to the people. Without a comprehensive approach that deals with people’s problems in backward and tribal areas, the Maoist threat cannot be contained. The government should identify such areas and plan concrete measures, which is not being done sufficiently at present.

The Maoists have to understand that they won’t be able to accomplish anything by their sectarian and adventurous approach of resorting to arms and violence. They should learn from the experience of the Maoist party in Nepal. Building a mass movement on a political platform and relying on the people for political change can be the only correct perspective.

Q: There have been expressions of support for the Maoist cause, sporadically of course, from a section of the intelligentsia. It confers a certain degree of legitimacy to the Maoist approach and acceptance of their tactics.

KARAT: Some intellectuals and civil liberties organisations refuse to see the enormous damage being done by the Maoists by their senseless and indiscriminate violence. For some of these intellectuals, it seems as if they do not want to get into the hard work and grind of building a genuine mass movement but take vicarious satisfaction in supporting such pseudo-revolutionary activities.
Poverty can never be eliminated by such violent tactics as it only disrupts the possibility of developing a powerful and united mass struggle against exploitation and the iniquitous order. By just targeting a few so-called enemies of the people, one cannot bring about any change in the system of injustice existing today.

FRONTLINE, Volume 26 - Issue 22 :: Oct. 24-Nov. 06, 2009

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Trinamul-Maoist Violence Against the Left in West Bengal

Since the results of the Lok Sabha elections have been announced, a spate of attacks have been organisedagainst activists and supporters of the CPI(M) in West Bengal. In Khejuri in East Midnapore and Lalgarhin West Midnapore, CPI(M) activists have been physically attacked and murdered, Party offices burntdown and hundreds of CPI(M) supporters forcibly driven out of the villages, by organized and armedgangs led by the Trinamul Congress and Maoists. Targeted assassinations of CPI(M) leaders have alsotaken place in the districts of Bardhaman, Birbhum, Purulia and Howrah. This planned and organisedviolence has been continuing right from the time the Lok Sabha polls were announced. Since then over 70 CPI(M) leaders and activists have been martyred across West Bengal.
A notable feature of this spate of attacks against the CPI(M) in Bengal is the open nexus between theMaoists and mainstream opposition parties, particularly the Trinamul Congress. Their present objective isclearly to physically eliminate the CPI(M) and create anarchy in the state in order to destabilize thedemocratically elected State Government. This nexus, however, is not unique to West Bengal. The socalledMaoists in India, who have refused to abandon the path of individual assassination and mindlessacts of terror, have since long degenerated into armed gangs, indulging in nefarious activities likeextortion, robbery and money laundering. Like criminal gangs, who forge links with political parties forpatronage and protection, the Maoists too have developed links with mainstream politicians in states likeAndhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh. In these states, the involvement of the Maoists inelection related violence has not been limited to their enforcement of poll boycott calls. They have beenoften found involved in threatening or even killing candidates of one political party on behalf of another,and also indulging in booth capturing. In West Bengal, they have discovered a willing ally in the TrinamulCongress.
The links between the Trinamul Congress and the Maoists in West Bengal have surfaced during variousincidents of violence since the early years of this decade. However, it was the Nandigram episode in 2007that had brought this nexus out in the open. While reports in the media had pointed towards the activeinvolvement of Maoists in Nandigram, this was vehemently denied by all the opposition political partieslike the Trinamul Congress, Congress and the BJP, who were a part of the BUPC (Bhumi UcchedPratirodh Committee) in Nandigram. The recent interview by Maoist leader Koteshwar Rao (Kishanji) tothe Times of India (27th April 2009) has put all speculations to rest. He has not only confirmed the activeparticipation of the Maoists in the Nandigram violence but he also stated that the Trinamul Congress hadsupplied them with ammunitions. This corroborates the admissions of Himadri Sen Roy (Somen), theWest Bengal State Secretary of the CPI (Maoists), who was arrested by the police in February 2008. Onthe basis of his interrogation report prepared by the CID, the Indian Express (22nd June 2009) reports:
 “CPI (Maoist) leaders, including Somen, visited Nandigram in December 2006 to ‘assess thetemperament of locals’ when protests against land acquisition for a chemical hub just began.
 Based on the visit, a meeting of his party was held in Chakulia forest in Jharkhand in February2007 to devise a strategy for Nandigram. A decision was taken to keep the Maoists away from theforefront of agitation due to lack of organisational network in Nandigram. It was also decided toprocure arms. Accordingly, the party central committee sanctioned Rs 8 lakh, by which six .315rifles and 500 bullets worth Rs 4 lakh were purchased from one Sahoo based in Jharkhand.
 The consignment was received at Haldia, shipped to Nandigram and kept at the house of CPI(Maoist) East Midnapore zonal committee secretary Narayan's residence in Sonachura, theepicentre of Nandigram movement. Besides, 30 crude guns were procured locally. Narayan alsoacted as a link with the BUPC, whose members Karabi, Ranjit Pal and Dipak formed the Maoistsquad along with Narayan. [Maoist cadre Ranjit Pal was involved in the assassination of JMM MPSunil Mahato in Jharkhand in March 2007]
 Somen also visited Nandigram in July 2007 for two days and stayed at Narayan's residence.TrinamulMaoistViolence Against the Left in West Bengal
 Narayan was in contact with Trinamool MP from Tamluk Subendhu Adhikari, the then MLA fromContai South Assembly constituency, and BUPC leaders. Maoists also forged links with SidiqullahChowdhury's People's Democratic Council of India (PDCI), SUCI and Bandi Mukti Committee(BMC).
 Several Bengal intellectuals, including BMC president Mahasweta Devi, went to Nandigram at theMaoists’ behest to exhort people to join the antiacquisitionmovement.
 However, relations between the BUPC and Maoists soured when the former rejected a proposal toform volunteer groups to take on the CPI (M) cadres.
 Kishanji, also operating under the names of Pradip, Bimal, Prahalad and Sridhar, collected “levy”from contractors in Bankura, Purulia and West Midnapore averaging Rs 8 lakh per month. He also received Rs 1.31.5lakh from the central party headquarters every month, which he distributeddirectly to the state unit. He wrote press statements of the party in English while Somen framed the Bengali ones.”
It is clear that the blockade of Nandigram, which continued till November 2007, had little to do with theprotest against land acquisition for the chemical hub. The State Government had explicitly abandoned the land acquisition proposal in February 2007 itself. The protest against land acquisition became aconvenient cover for legitimizing the gang up with the Maoists and unleashing open terror against the CPI (M).
Having tasted blood in Nandigram, several attempts were made by the Trinamul Congress and theMaoists to create similar situations elsewhere in West Bengal. On 2nd November 2008, an attempt wasmade by the Maoists to assassinate the West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, when hewas returning from Salboni in West Midnapore along with the Union Steel Minister after laying thefoundation stone of a steel plant. The landmine exploded by the Maoists missed the Chief Minister’sconvoy narrowly. The police launched operations to arrest the culprits and some suspects were arrested.In the process, however, the police indulged in some unjustifiable repressive measures in the Chotopeliavillage in Lalgarh, especially against some tribal women, one of whose eye was severely damaged. 11women lodged formal complaints about police torture.
This angered the local tribals who launched protests against the police led by the Bharat Jakat Majhi Marwa (BJMM), a body of adivasi community leaders. They demanded treatment and compensation forthe injured tribal women, action against the guilty police officials and release of the arrested suspects. On14th November the BJMM leadership reached an agreement with the local authorities. The administrationaccepted most the demands and provided treatment and compensation for the injured women, releasedeight of the accused including three school going boys who were arrested and the SP and the Inspector inCharge of Lalgarh police station were transferred.
However, a Committee against Police Atrocities (PSBJC or Police Sontrash Birodhi JanasadharanerCommittee), which was backed by the Maoists was formed which accused the BJMM leadership of sellingout. The PSJBC blockaded the entire Lalgarh area by digging up roads and felling trees, similar toNandigram, and made the area out of bounds for the police and the administration. They demanded apublic apology by the District Superintendent of Police of West Midnapore and other policemen byholding their ears and crawling with their nose to the ground. The administration tried to open dialoguewith them but the PSBJC continued with the blockade insisting upon the public apology by the policeofficials. That the PSBJC was not interested in resolving the issue in a peaceful and democratic mannerbecame clear with the continuing blockade.
The local tribal people were not in favour of the undemocratic tactics adopted by the Maoist backedPSBJC. The Bharat Jakat Majhi Marwa organised a rally to protest Maoist violence on 9th December in theBhulabheda area of Belpahari, where more than 10,000 adivasis had gathered. Sudhir Mandal, theadivasi leader who organised the rally, was shot dead by the Maoists less than 48 hours later. The PSBJCformed a parallel administration and its Maoist allies prevented the entry of the police and administrationin the villages of Belpahari, Binpur, Lalgarh, Jamboni, Salboni and Goaltore.
From here, the Maoist deathsquads launched a series of brutal attacks.
2nd February, 2009: CPI (M) leader Nandalal Pal was killed by the Maoists in Lalgarh. The next day,Maoists also attacked the funeral procession of the slain leader and killed three more tribal villagersRajaram Mandi, Lakhiram Mandi and Gopinath Soren in the Khasjangal area.
18th March, 2009: Two CPI (M) members and Kisan Sabha activists Durga Deshowali and SantoshMahato were killed by Maoists in front of Bhulabheda panchayat office in Belpahari.
10th April, 2009: CPI (M) activist Asim Mondal was shot dead by Maoists in front of the shop he owned atBhulabheda, Belpahari.
21st April, 2009: A small farmer, Hambir Mandi, who was also a CPI (M) supporter, was killed by Maoistsin Nadaria, Salboni. CPI (M) activist Sakti Sen was also killed in the attack.
23rd April, 2009: An armed gang of Maoists attacked a group of CPI (M) activists in Saluka village,Salboni. 10 CPI (M) activists were seriously injured but were prevented from being shifted to the hospital.Among the injured, Gopinath Murmu succumbed to his injuries. The Maoists burnt his dead body.
30th April, 2009: Three Election Commission (EC) personnel, Prasad Banerjee, Sougata Karmakar andSanjay Das (driver), were killed when Maoists triggered a landmine blast targeting their convoy afterpolling in Jamboni.
6th June, 2009: CPI (M) leader Jayanta Mahato was killed by Maoists at Dirghosa forest in Salboni. TheMaoists had announced at a meeting on 2nd June that Mahato would be killed.
11th June, 2009: CPI (M) activist Salku Soren was abducted by Maoists from his house at Kakracharavillage in Lalgarh. He was later shot dead inside a nearby forest.
14th June, 2009: Three CPI (M) activists, Asit Samanta, Naru Samanta and Prabir Mahato were killed inan attack by the Maoists in Dharampur, Lalgarh.
17th June, 2009: CPI (M) activist Anil Mahato, DYFI activist Niladri Mahato and SFI activist AbhijitMahato were killed by motorcycleborne Maoists in Lodhashuli.
It is clear that the blockaded area of Lalgarh was being used by the Maoists to launch murderous attacks,especially targeting CPI (M) activists and supporters. The objective of the blockade was also to shield theMaoists, who were behind the assassination attempt on the Chief Minister. This became clear whenMaoist cadre Shashadhar Mahato (Bikash), the prime suspect behind the assassination attempt, appearedbefore the media within the “liberated zone” of Lalgarh on 16th June with an AK 47 slung on hisshoulders. Bikash said on NDTV: “On 2nd November, our plan was to execute Buddhadeb. If people wantBuddhadeb hanged, who will hang him? It will be us of the People's Liberation Guerrilla Army.” He wasmaking these statements with the CPI (M) local committee office in Dharampur burning in the backdropand the corpse of CPI (M) activist Salku Soren, who was killed few days back by the Maoists, lying besideit. It was in the backdrop of this murderous spree by the Maoists, that the State Government was forcedto launch a combined operation of the state police and the central security forces on 18th June 2009. Theobjective was to combat the Maoists and restore normalcy in the area.
The Lalgarh episode has once again brought to the fore the nexus between the Trinamul Congress and the Maoists. The PSBJC Convenor Chatradhar Mahato, a contractor by profession, is the brother of thisMaoist Bikash. In an interview to NDTV on 22nd June, Chatradhar Mahato stated that he has been anactivist of the Trinamul Congress and actively campaigned for it during the Panchayat elections in 2008.He also admitted in a roundabout manner that his brother is a Maoist. Mamata Banerjee herself hasprovided active support to the Lalgarh blockade throughout and even addressed a rally of the PSBJC in Lalgarh on 4th February 2009, sharing the dais with Chatradhar Mahato. As the security forces’ operation in Lalgarh began, the double standards of Trinamul Congress and Mamata Banerjee got badly exposed:
17th June 2009
Partha Chatterjee, Trinamul MLA and leader of Opposition in WB Assembly: “If the Maoists areunleashing terror, then why is the CPI(M) not asking the government to ban the organisation. The ‘Maoistdrama’ has the support of the chief minister.” (Asian Age)
18th June 2009
Maoist leader Kishanji: “People will block the roads, the armed forces that come will be taught a lesson,the central govt., the Buddhadeb govt. will be taught a lesson…We are asking Mamata too, she was withus in Nandigram…now we want to know what stand she will take. She is now in the cabinet, the solemember from her party… The tribals here are sitting in protest against the Paramilitary forces, ready tofight them. Which side will Mamata support is what we want to know.” (NDTV)
20th June 2009
Mamata Banerjee: “If statements by Biman Bose and Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee linking our party withMaoists are not withdrawn within 48 hours, we will agitate to demand sacking of the government by theCentre. We don't believe in individual killings and don't have link with Maoists. We have been demandinga ban on Maoists in the state…He himself (Buddhadeb Bhattacharya) had said once that he is fond ofMaoist books and literature and has them at his residence.” (Outlook)
Kishanji: “She is playing a political game. Even though she is a member of the Central Cabinet, she hasnot said a single word against sending Central forces to Lalgarh. Now, to gain sympathy in West Bengal,she is saying that the police and the CPI(M) unleashed a reign of terror in Junglemahal. This is clearly acase of double standards on her part. The mask has fallen from her face…After the Lalgarh movementstarted, Mamata Banerjee visited Lalgarh. The locals allowed her to visit this place. But now she will notbe able to come to Lalgarh or any parts of Junglemahal. We have also decided that we will prevent herfrom entering Nandigram and Singur, where we were part of the movement.” (Asian Age)
22nd June 2009
Kishanji: “Mamata’s real interest is to grab power in West Bengal. Had she been sincere, she would havestepped down from the Union cabinet because the Centre has joined hands with the state government tounleash a reign of terror in Lalgarh” (India Today)
29th June 2009
Mamata Banerjee: “I am once again urging the central government not to provide support to the CPIMat Lalgarh and use central forces to unearth illegal arms stocked by the party…I urge the Centre toimmediately convene an emergency meeting to be attended by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee andHome Minister P Chidambaram to review what actually is happening at Lalgarh in the name of flushingout Maoists.” (Hindustan Times)
1st July , 2009
Mamata Banerjee: “What is going on at Lalgarh is a total drama. There are no Maoist activists in theregion. If there had been any ultraLeftactivists, they have by now already fled the area and the LeftFront government has allowed them to flee. Now in the name of running joint operations against theMaoists, the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government is just trying to regain its political base…” (EconomicTimes)
Despite the fact that not even one person has been injured or killed by the security forces since thebeginning of the joint operations in June 2009, Maoist sympathizers have launched a high pitchedcampaign against “state repression” and “atrocities” in order to mislead people on the ground situation inLalgarh. The fact is that 15 more CPI (M) activists and supporters have been assassinated by the Maoistssince the launch of the operations. Efforts by the Maoist sympathizers and the Trinamul Congress to stallthe operations of the security forces is nothing but an attempt to perpetuate the reign of terror by theMaoists. The unholy nexus between the Trinamul Congress and the Maoists and their antidemocraticandviolent politics need to be exposed thoroughly.
(A SFI-JNU Pamphlet on TMC-Maoist Violence in Lalgarh)