THERE is now enough ground to conclude that the January 7 incident in Netai village in Lalgarh was pre-planned. For the last two years, many families in Netai were forced to leave the village. It was a kind of a den of the Maoists and the so-called People’s Committee. The villagers were tortured in many ways and a number of CPI(M) cadre were killed. In Lalgarh block alone, 72 CPI(M) activists were killed in the last two tears.
On December 31, 2010, a mammoth meeting of the CPI(M) was held in Lalgarh after nearly two years. Nearly a lakh people participated. It was the height of people’s desperate resistance to the Maoists. Many villagers from Netai participated in the meeting though the village itself is still dominated by the TMC-and the People’s Committee. After the meeting, the homeless people started to come back.
It is now reported that on January 6 night, a group of Maoists and trained cadre of the People’s Committee entered the village. They were led by one Tanmoy Roy, a TMC activist. He was the bike driver of Chhatradhar Mahato, the leader of People’s Committee, now in jail. On January 7 morning, a team of Maoists along with TMC cadre attacked the houses of those who had returned. It was naturally resisted, resulting in clashes. According to the DIG (Western Range), Anil Kumar, there was “exchange of fire.” According to eye witnesses, the armed group that started the attack began to fire indiscriminately, killing and injuring many villagers. It is evident that they were instructed to fire randomly. What they wanted was dead bodies, not necessarily of whom. The post mortem report of at least three persons suggested that they were fired from the back side. Seven people were killed and 18 injured.
As a part of the anti-CPI(M) maligning campaign, they are now seeking to present the incident in a different way --- as if the villagers had encircled a house where ‘armed’ CPI(M) cadre had gathered and then the latter fired upon the unarmed villagers from inside the house or from the rooftop. It is a travesty of truth. If it had been so, many villagers won’t have died after receiving bullets from the backside. After the incident, moreover, the mediapersons who visited the village noted a large number of bullet marks on the walls of the house where the CPI(M) cadre had allegedly collected and also on the walls of the neighbouring houses. This indicates that in fact it is the CPI(M) cadre who were fired upon; it was not the other way round.
On the very next day of the Netai incident, PCPA spokesman Dileep Hansda gave an interview to a private TV channel, in which he confirmed that the incident was a result of the attack launched by his organisation and by the Maoists on its back. According to Hindi daily Jansatta, January 9, Hansda presented the incident as a big deed of his organisation, declaring that “the camps of the CPI(M)’s harmad vahini in West Medinipur, Purulia and Bankura will be razed to the ground. Hansda also announced that attacks on the CPI(M) camps would continue in future as well, adding that the police and administration would be responsible if anything untoward happens. Hansda labelled the accusation that the CPM has become active in Jangal Mahal because of its politics of vote.” However, as it happened in the Gyaneshwari case, Maoists later made Hansda keep silent.
Be that as it may, by the time the PCPA spokesman accepted the responsibility for this incident, the TMC, Congress and the media supporting them had got enough time to present the Left cadre as the oppressors while in reality they are facing the brunt of the TMC-Maoist attacks in Jangal Mahal area. On her part, TMC supremo Ms Mamata Banerjee was hell bent upon proving that there were “armed camps” of the CPI(M) in Jangal Mahal. On her behalf, parroting her accusation, the union home minister too has so far written three letters to the state chief minister. The incident in Netai was pre-planned to ‘prove’ that such camps are indeed there.
It is another thing that despite the iota of success that they have received, the TMC-Maoist grouping has not been able to mislead the people of Jangal Mahal area. On Saturday, January 8, TMC leaders were in fact chased away from Netai when they reached to oversee Ms Mamata Banerjee’s programme there. The railway minister, however, went there without much of a noise. She was scheduled to address a public meeting in Lalgarh. All preparations were made, including the erection of a big stage and security barricades. But the people’s response was so low that Ms Mamata Banerjee cancelled the meeting.
January 16, 2011