Lalgarh – Letter from PCAPA to Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR), Lalgarh Mancha and Intellectuals – 2
May 23, 2010
May 23, 2010
Hope you did receive the letter that we sent to you around the end of this March. We don’t have any of your addresses. Moreover, posting the letter is a great problem. Interior villages do not have post offices. Where there is a posting facility, Harmads or the joint forces or both have camped near it. If the bearer of the letter is caught before it is being posted, it is certain that he/she will not return home. This is the scenario of the democratic establishment of Buddha-Chidambaram in today’s Jangal Mahal. We believe that there might be a few days’ delay, but you will definitely receive this letter.
The continuous false propaganda in the papers and on wireless or on TV about people’s movement in the Jangal Mahal is creating a misconception about us amongst you living in urban and suburban areas. Only 10 to 45% of our statements that are coming out almost every day are covered. That too is appended with the adverse comments of a variety of people, from local newsmen to top brass of the administration.
BLEED WE MIGHT, BUT OUR MOVEMENT WILL CONTINUE
On 17th April, Asit Mahato, spokesperson of PCAPA informed the journalists that in protest against the brutal murder of 55-year old Mansaram Sardar by the Gana-Pratirodh Committee on Baisakh 1 (15th April) a bandh has been called in the district of Purulia on April 19. On that very day police officials called for a red alert in all police stations, outposts and camps in three districts of Purulia, Bankura and West Midnapur. Joint forces carried out brutal assaults in different parts of Jangal Mahal in collusion with Gana Pratirodh Committee and Harmads. Mansaram Sardar was killed in the district of Purulia in broad daylight. Therefore, in protest of these murders conducted by Gana Pratirodh Committee and the administration we called a bandh. Was it wrong on our part to call a bandh against these murder, or is this form of movement undemocratic? Right from the start of the movement in the Jangal Mahal the Chief Minister and Home Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharyya, the Union Home minister and the bureaucrats never responded to our demands and never addressed the questions that we were raising. Instead, they carried on with the adverse propaganda against the people’s movement of Jangal Mahal for realizing their legitimate demands, and tried to silence the people by stationing more and more armed forces in Jangal Mahal.
A call was given to observe 19th and 20th April as Black Days in the sub-divisions of Jhargram and Midnapore in order to protest the arrest of Dr Nisith Mahato of the Paluiboni people’s health centre at Pirhrakuli by the joint forces on 14th April morning. The doctor is yet to be produced in Court. Apart from this, Lachhoo Mahato, an activist of the People’s committee, Gunadhar Mahato and four others, including leaders and workers from Pirhrakuli, were arrested from that village by joint forces and were never produced in any court. The joint forces and the Harmads attacked from all the directions on 14th (Chaitra sankranti) and 15th April (Poila Baisakh). People were beaten up and indiscriminately arrested. 45 persons were arrested in the early hours of 16th April, from Brindabanpur village bordering Jhargram. PCAPA gave a call to observe Black Days on 19th and 20th April opposing these attacks by the joint forces and the Harmads and the erratic arrests, and demanded unconditional release of the arrested people.
For last 5 months the state has subjected us with terrible oppression, the People’s Committee against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) has stood fast among the people, sharing their joys and sorrows. Both the Congress and the CPI (M) had thought that they would be able to isolate PCAPA by unleashing this terrible terror. But their dreams remain unfulfilled. As long as state terrorizes its people, and does not take effective steps towards the solution of the problems faced by the people, PCAPA will keep on protesting on different counts, along with the people.
MURDER, ARREST, MISSING —– CONTINUES
On 2nd and 3rd April Black Days were observed in West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia. Why this Black Day? Five members of the PCAPA of the Belpahari Block of the Bhuladeda area went to work at a brick kiln at Fulkusma on 21st March. This year, it is very difficult to find food because farming has suffered. No money in the bank; no paddy in the house, one ought to go out for work in order to arrange for a square meal. Five went to work, but only four returned. Santosh Murmu, poor of the poorest, was killed by the CPI (M), in particular, by the brutal forces of the Gana Pratirodh Committee.
Two of our members were killed on 26th March in Lalgarh. Gouaranga Mahato, who had gone to the jungle of Dakshinshole village to graze cattle, was beaten to death by the CRPF. No case has been registered in this matter. The dead body of Gouranga Mahato lay on the ground before all eyes. The tears in the eyes of his wife and children were wiped away by none but the village folk and PCAPA. Such is the democracy, brand Chidambaram-Buddha. This is the everyday reality in the Jangal Mahal. The heroic joint forces of Manmohan-Chidambaram-Buddha feel no shame in beating to death an old man of 55 years who had gone to graze cattle. Why was this innocent man beaten to death, who will be charged with his murder, and who will answer these questions? At that time some of our statements were published in newspapers. We thought you would come out with your reaction. Previously, you did spoke for the people. When the shedding of people’s blood has become an everyday affair, is it possible to build up a resistance against this horrific state terror without your support?
On the west, in the Koira forest in Bandowan block of Purulia district, 50 years old Tarani Kumbhakar was killed on the highway by Gana Pratirodh Committee and the Harmads. Tarani Kumbhakar had left his village in fear of the joint forces and wandered here and there somehow to eke out a living. There was no case against him, nor was his name recorded in any police register. Still he fell a victim to Harmad terror. In this case also, the police did not file any FIR. Apart from these three murders, many others have disappeared without any trace.
On 25th March, Bablu Murmu was arrested by the joint forces from the Mognapur road in Dharampur. On 27th March, we started spreading this news. But there was no admission of his arrest. Finally, he was produced in court on April 3, after keeping him in police custody for almost 10 days without judicial sanction.
Jagadish Mahato, a vegetable vendor, was arrested in Manikpara bazaar on 20th March. He is yet to be produced in Court.
Sanatan Pal of Belpahari and Sagen Baske of Ramgarh were produced in court on March 23, long after their arrest. Numerous incidents like this are and taking place.
Those who had been ‘vanished’ by the Harmad forces are still missing. There is no official information about Jageswar Mahato (actually killed in the Kashijora Harmad camp) Mangal Mahato and Manmath Mahato and the others. The SDO is being reminded of the missing persons, but still there is no clue of their whereabouts. We neither have the money nor the opportunity to go to Honb’le Courts in this matter. Therefore, in protest, we are carrying out programs of fasting, dharna, barricades building, and bandhs. For us, no other mode of protest is appropriate in our attempt to obtain information regarding missing persons. We expect your help and co-operation in this matter. The responsibility of rallying the urban populace beside the innocent, struggling people is also with you, please come. After sending the list of martyrs last time, ten more people have been martyred. This is a sample of Operation Green Hunt. The operation is being carried out in Jangal Mahal together with the Harmads, the Gana Pratirodh Committee and other mercenary outfits to kill and maim the poorest of the poor in the interest of the profits of national and international big companies like Tata, Jindal, and Mittal.
WHY AN INDEFINITE BANDH
It is being said that the indefinite bandhs called by PCAPA are responsible for the price rise. But, look, our demands fall upon deaf ears. CPI (M), Congress, TMC and the other parties are clamoring that the bandhs are causing great inconvenience to the ordinary people. But, there is silence in the matter of our problem. The reason for their silence is also crystal clear. It is their government that has sent the joint forces to the Jangal Mahal. The state Congress party cannot, therefore, deny its responsibility for the invasion by the joint forces. So, all the people know that these political parties will not support any movement by the people against the oppression of the Harmads and the joint forces; rather, they will only make adverse propaganda against the people. On 4th April, Home minister P Chidamdaram during his visit to the Jangal Mahal had stated clearly that the invasion will continue and more forces will be deployed.
PCAPA called three districts bandh to oppose Chidambaram’s visit on 4th April and was a complete success. Sitting at Lalgarh, Chidambaram presented opportunities for much merriment. He tried to divert the problems of the people. Chidambaram used this tour also for election propaganda. He threatened to arrest PCAPA spokes person Asit Mahato. He remembered Asit’s name, but not a word passed his lips regarding arrest of the CPI (M) murderers, the stalwarts of the various outfits for large number of murders that they did. The people of West Bengal could easily make out from all his talks and drama that on which side he stands and for whose protection he is spending the huge amount of money on joint forces in Jangal Mahal. It is now clear as daylight that the joint forces aim to re-establish Harmad regime. This was reported in a number of newspapers. Side by side, the object is to dislocate the Adivasi original habitants and hand over all the valuable mineral and forest resources to domestic and foreign capitalists like Tata, Jindal and Mittal. But what Chidambaram has said in favor of establishing the rule of the CPI (M) and Harmads in order to hand over all the resources to domestic and foreign capitalists will never be accepted by the people of Jangal Mahal.
Many were arrested from different areas on 4th April. There had been many arrests prior to this date, too. Joint forces entered villages of the Jhargram, Binpur, Bandowan, Ranibandh, Salboni, Raipur, Sarenga, Simlapal, Taldangra, Goaltore in the morning. Prisoners in police custody were dressed in police uniforms and pressurized to identify activists and supporters of the PCAPA. A barricade movement against all these atrocities started from 5th April. Roads were dug up in all places. People from hundreds of villages participated in putting up the barricades.
Administration, in every way, tried to break the people’s barricade program. Wherever the police got hold of any person, he/she was beaten up and arrested. During the barricade program the police took away all the medicines belonging to the health centre at Rameswar of Salboni and arrested Jahar Mahato, in-charge of medicine supply. Apart from this, police also tried to bribe a few people with a variety of incentives to sabotage our work. Incidents of attacks from the Chandra, Dherua, Chengshol, Pirakata, Bhimpur, Lalgarh, Sijua in Malbandi (Kotwali) camps by the joint forces together with the Harmads increased manifold. In the Kandandi activists of our committee and members of the Sido-Kanhu militia were arrested. The joint forces and the Harmad gangs tried to arrest our active worker, Sanjoy Mahato, both before and after the joint forces entered the Malbandi region. He was arrested on 2nd April. Sanjoy and Sanatan were not produced before the judiciary till 19th April. In these 17 days they were taken to various places in Salboni, Jhargram, Midnapore, Kharagpur, and Kolkata.
Since the beginning of 2009, people have confronted the Harmads near Madhupur frequently. The people’s resistance was led by Kanchan Deb Sing, who was also the leader of the PCAPA in that area. After the joint forces arrived, there were many attempts to arrest him. In the last 15 months, the people, in numbers from 1000 to 10,000 strong, confronted Harmad 50 to 60 times. During the 11 months of the arrival of joint forces there were some 40-50 head-on confrontations. Hemanta Deb Sing and Jaladhar Mahato were martyred on 2.9.09. Martyr Hemanta Deb Singha was Kanchan’s brother. The joint forces duped Kanchan into captivity on April 8, 2010.
Police conducted a search operation in Radhamohanpur (Dhanaidi), the village of Kanai, Binpur area mass leader of the PCAPA. All the men left the village. After house to house searches 30 people including women and children were arrested on 8th April. Apart from this, the joint forces arrested another 200 from other places. All these incidents occurred during the pendency of indefinite barricading program. So, from 9th April, the indefinite barricading was converted into indefinite Bandh. From the evening of 13th April, the Bandh was relaxed on account of the local festivals of Chaitra sankranti and Naba Barsha (Bengali new year). We always implement a resolution keeping in mind the needs and requirements of the locals. Our movement is for defending the people’s rights and interests. On the other hand, please notice that even on the days marked for festivals like Chaitra sankranti and Poila Baisakh there was bloodshed in the Jangal Mahal by the Harmads and the joint forces. Wherever there are police atrocities, PCAPA is standing beside those who are hurt, and that is why a strong mass movement against police atrocities could be built.
STAND BY THE RAVAGED VILLAGES LIKE DEULKUNDA
As the movement of the Adibasi and original inhabitants led by PCAPA, spread from Pirhakata, the armed Harmad camp retreated. The joint forces built a new camp and two new police stations are being set up in Garhgarhipal. People are no longer tolerating Harmad terror. Therefore, village after village joined the movement from Satpati to Salboni via Tyakshal. In the last four months a strong mass movement was built in this sprawling forest. Congress, especially Chidambaram, Buddha and his assistants, Dipak Sarkar, sushanta Ghosh, Tapan, Sukur are conspiring to shed blood here and establish their domination over occupied territory. This is leading to bloodshed and the numbers of the hurt are ever increasing. The number of persons displaced from villages is swelling. Retreating back from Satpati, the Harmad forces set up camp at Parulia. Then, they established a camp at Deulkunda. In January the camp at Deulkunda was transferred to two base camps at Kashikora and Ashnashuli. To protect these camps, the Satpati camp of the joint forces was shifted to Changshol. The Moupal camp was transferred to Patharkumkumi. This means that joint forces are always within 1 ½ km of the Harmad camp.
The village of Deulkunda, with about 115 houses, is 1½ km away from the Midnapur – Pirhakata metal road. Salboni is almost 14 km from here. In Kasijora, Ashnashuli bombs are hurled very day, firing is a norm. Harmad attack neighboring villages whenever they feel like. There is no count of the poultry and goats looted by them. They will beat up anyone they encounter, and some will be made “missing”.If anybody is made “missing” in between Deulkunda and Kashijora, or in between Jharnadanga, Kotwali, and Kashidanga, they are being kept at Kashijora. This fact is in the knowledge of police as well as administration, and the people. Still SP Manoj Verma will not take any action to free the people kept prisoner by the Harmad, nor has he ever spoken a word about them. The SP is an obedient servant of CPI(M) bosses and remains busy in satisfying them at any cost, even tarnishing his good name and self-esteem. The SP talks and does exactly as is being told. At their orders, he is ever busy in protecting Harmad camps. To save themselves from the barbaric attacks of the Harmads, the rich and big farmers of Deulkunda have left village and taken shelter in villages on the road from Satpati to Bhadutola. Sometimes they go to relief camps organized by the TMC or by PCAPA, sometimes stay in the houses of relatives. Those who cannot go anywhere remain in the village. The moment the news comes that the Harmads are setting out, the villages are emptied and all hide in the forest. And if somebody could not understand the signal for the Harmad setting out, his/her name will figure on the list of the “missing”.
Towards the end of January there was wide coverage in the media, and the police also repeatedly stated – three dead bodies were lying on the fields of Deulkunda and Bhuyasa villages. The pictures of bodies were published in newspapers and on the TV. The Maoists stated that on their side there wasn’t a single casuality. Fact is that on 22.1.2010, the Harmads killed a 40-year old poor Adibasi peasant of Deulkunda, named Nibaran Soren as reprisal for the death of three Harmad. Lame from childhood, Nibaran Soren could not stand or walk properly. Manoj Verma knows this. He is afraid that if he speaks the truth, he will lose his chair.
Juktasani is a poor man, no land to speak off. His is 30 years old. Earlier he supported CPI(M). Later he joined TMC. After that, he joined the PCAPA. This is his greatest crime. On 16th March, the Harmad abducted him, no news of him till this date. According to some he has been imprisoned in the Harmad camp at Kashijorha, others say the Harmads have killed him.
On 11th April, nine in the morning, the Harmads from Kashijorha Harmad camp suddenly entered Deulkunda. Many people fled the village. There is no Sido-Kanhu people’s militia in that village. So, the Harmad forces were able to abducted 28-year old poor Adivasi peasant Surai Murmu. Some said they killed him on the way. Enquiry was made, but we could not obtain any news. Again, it is heard that he was made a prisoner at Kashijorha camp.
Strangely, two central ministers Sisir Adhikary and Mukul Roy, of TMC made a statement claiming these three as their supporters. Even this we did not contest. But the question remains – what initiatives are Sisir and Mukul have taken for protecting the lives of poor tribal? The force are sent by their government which, taking the Harmads with them, is bent on a spree of destruction, killing people every day, making them “missing”, looting houses and property. But they haven’t visited the place even once. They haven’t uttered a single word in Parliament in this matter. Not a single petition is filed in the High Court. Long live this democracy! Long lives this Constitution and judicial system! We are requesting all of you to come to Deulkunda, come with court order or advise us what can we do to save the lives of innocent, oppressed people in many villages of the Jangal Mahal and places like Howrah, Hooghly, North and South 24 Parganas, Burdwan. .
THE HARMAD CAMPS HAVE LEGAL SANCTION!
Before November 2008 uprising in Jangal Mahal, armed goons of CPI(M) and its party activists unleashed ruthless terror on the people. All activities in the village, social, economic, political and cultural, proceeded as per their dictate. All of us had to endure silently whatever was dictated by CPI(M). The Panchayats under CPI(M) control were paradises for corruption. All activities of the Panchayats were linked to the interests of the local leaders of CPI(M) and their close associates. Beating up, murder, confinement, fines, attachment of land and property, pulling down homes, looting was common occurrence. The money earmarked for all government projects was pocketed by CPI(M) leaders. It was through these funds that leaders like Anuj Pandey constructed big, palatial buildings. None in the village was allowed to work and express opinions according to his/her own political beliefs. If CPI(M) diktat was not followed, that person had to remain imprisoned year after year in false cases. Poor tribal had to make huge expenses in meeting the legal matters. We don’t know what is written in the Indian constitution. We also do not know all legal stratagems. We were never given our constitutional rights. Opposing the undemocratic practice of the CPI(M) was the biggest crime. Today the UPA government led by the Congress, and the TMC dress all these undemocratic activities in democratic clothes. They have a single-point agenda to wage war on the oppressed people of the Jangal Mahal. They have deployed the forces in Jangal mahal. Since November, 2008 till today, over an area spreading over Lalgarh, Salboni, Goaltore, Midnapore, Jhargram, Belpahari many Harmad leaders of the CPI(M) and their armed forces retreated due to the resistance of the people under the leadership of our committee. For this reason, from the beginning both Congress and CPI(M) have together conspired to equip the Harmad forces with ultra-modern weapons in order to break the resistance of the people. They have always opposed any type of democratic movement and will do so in future. They are wedded to the capitalists, both domestic and foreign. That is why they have opposed people’s movement all over the country, including Singur, Nandigram and Lalgarh.
CAMPS OF MURDER FORCE QUOTED IN INTELLIGENCE REPORTS
1. Enayatpur (Kotwali) camp: Camp is right in the office building of the Manidaha Gram Panchayat. There are 80 – 100 armed mercenary criminals. Weapons – Rifle, 12 bore gun, pistol and revolver (made domestically. and made in China.) Leadership: Kamal Pan, Netai Kolay, and Ajit Senapati.
2. Camp in office building of Kangsabati Gram Panchayat. There are 70-80 members.
3. Salboni Camp : Camp in Tushar Bhaban, CPI(M) party office itself . There are 35-40 armed murderers, led by Laxmikanta Ghoshal and Narayan Singha.
4. Camp in office building of Kasijorha Gram Panchayat in Patharjuri village. There is a 60-70 strong force armed with SLR, Stengun, Rifle, pistol, bomb and other ultra-modern weapons. Led by Nishakar and Mukesh Chakraborty, Shyam Pande, brother of Anuj Pande..
5. Camp of 70-80 persons in Goaltore zonal party office, SLR, Sten gun, rifle, carbine, pistol, revolver, hand grenade everything is there.
6. Force of 80-100 in Jiapara Damcha primary school and office building of Benchapara Gram Panchayat. Rifle, gun, carbine for company. Led by Tapan Ghosh, Kiriti Hajra, Dibakar Bhuyian and Sambad Gayen.
7. Two camps in Kashia primary school and Kashia CPI(M) branch office. Force of 70-80 in each camp. AK 47, carbine, Sten gun, and all other types fire-arms are provided. Led by two CPI(M) leaders called Ajit Patra and Nirmal Mukhya. (Sambad Pratidin, 12.4.2010)
Before Chidambaram’s visit on 4th April there was loud propaganda that he would go to Mangalkot, Nanoor and different places in Burdwan. Some papers reported that on Mamata’s request he would go to see CPI(M) terror in Mangalkot, Nanoor. But their beloved Home minister did not go near those areas. He came to Lalgarh after meetings Chief Minister and his Home Secretary. We knew that he wouldn’t go to Mangalkot, Nanoor. We were clear in our minds that Chidambaram will not go to the areas outside the Jangal Mahal where the CPI(M) Harmads are carrying out attacks, burning homes, and every day bloodshed occurs and people murdered in turf wars between the CPI(M) and the TMC. His political compulsions are such that he has to be friends both with Buddha and Mamata. He came to Lalgarh, but visiting the relief camps of the people displaced due to attacks by the Harmads and the joint forces, or the villages affected by their atrocities was not in his agenda. On the occasion of Chidambaram’s visit the whole of Jangal Mahal was converted into a khaki forest. One could see only police force all around. A ‘most wanted’ list featuring all our leading activists was displayed. But people know who the real criminals are. To the people of the Jangal Mahal, today Buddha-Chidambaram-Biman-Manmohan-Mamata-Bhupinder-Chief and Home Secretaries to the Dipak and Sushanta are the real criminals. The people will judge their crimes.
300 SPO APPOINTED FROM VILLAGES OF THREE DISTRICTS
– A Sangbad Pratidin Report by Sutirtha Chakraborty
The state government is appointing ‘Special Police Officers’ from the villages of Paschim Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia to suppress militants as in Dantewada. Taking 100 from each district, in all 300 ‘Special Police Officers’ or ‘SPOs’ are being appointed. They will be appointed to fight Maoists with arms, together with the police and the CRPF. On Sunday, Bhupinder Singh, DG, stated that the process of appointing ‘SPOs’ has begun.
There are many controversies regarding the ‘SPOs’ of Dantewada. Especially they have been accused of gross violation of human rights. West Bengal, however, is not fully following the Dantewada way in appointing ‘SPOs’.
The police claim that they will not be used for setting up ‘Salwa Judum’ camps as in Dantewada. The basic idea of ‘Salwa Judum’ is to arm the villagers and set them to fight the Maoists. DG Bhupinder Singh states, ‘There are central government guidelines regarding appointment of ‘SPOs’ and we are following them.’ The state is thinking of appointing mainly retired police and military personnel as ‘SPOs’. These ‘SPOs’ will be attached to thanas. The three and a half thousand ‘SPOs’ in Chhattisgarh are mainly ordinary villagers. Apart from fighting the Maoist militants with guns, they act also as ‘sources’ of the police. These ‘SPOs’ run the ‘Salwa Judum’ camps in Dantewada. There are many complaints against these ‘SPOs’ of oppressing the villagers. Human rights organizations allege that the ‘SPOs’ often brand harmless villagers Maoists and carry out oppression. In Paschim Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia, up to now 28 thana areas are overrun by Maoists. No thana in the Jangal Mahal has adequate police personnel. By quick appointment of 300 ‘SPOs’ the state wants to strengthen thanas. The state Home ministry says that precautions will be observed in the appointment of ‘SPOs’ in this state. For this reason, the plan is to appoint only 100 ‘SPOs’ in a district. According to the Home department such ‘SPO’ appointment does not mean arming the villagers. In the case of the jangal mahal, the opposition parties allege that in many areas the CPI(M) has started suppression of the Maoists with its own armed cadre. In many places of Paschim Midnapore they have set up camps like the ‘Salwa Judum’. However, the state police refuse to admit this. (Sambad Pratidin, 12.4.10)
According to our sources on 22nd March, there were 27 Harmad camps in Jhargram sub-division. The number has increased. The Harmads in these camps have ultra-modern weapons. All these weapons have been given to them by the joint forces and the police. With the joint forces, Harmads wearing police uniform, enter villages, ransacking and looting our belongings. Their only task is to get hold of leading activists. Everyday they attack villages in the Goaltore, Salboni, Kotwali areas. Standing against all these attacks is our greatest sin in the eyes of Chidambaram-Manmohan- Mamata-Buddha. therefore, attacks on us are increasing. And, hence we have strengthened our resistance. If we don’t resist, leave alone peoples’ lives, even chicken and goats won’t survive. As a result we are dreaded criminals, and are the “most wanted.” And those whose acts and those whose orders are making the life of the people miserable and unbearable in the Jangal Mahal, starting from murder and loot to rape, are not criminals under the law. If today we put up a “most wanted” list for Buddha-Chidambaram-Manmohan who are responsible for all these well-planned, organized crimes, immediately the administration and media, and a section of the intellectuals elite will raise a hue and cry. Different papers published from Kolkata have carried reports on the Harmad camps. The governor M K Narayanan, who expresses anxiety off and on about the situation in the Jangal Mahal, and speaks in favor of the joint forces, knows in detail about the Harmad camps set up before and after he came to West Bengal as governor. He was National Security Advisor during the Nandigram movement. At that time he knew very well the fire-power of the CPI(M) in. He knows well how the IPS officers and the Police Association are linked to the CPI(M). Not only he, but all Congress leaders at the national and state level know it. Still they didn’t utter a single word about the Harmads in Nandigram and Lalgarh. We don’t expect them to do so. On 12th April Sambad Pratidin published a part of the written report sent by the central intelligence department to the central Home Ministry regarding Harmad forces. We have also reported on Harmad camps earlier. Apart from this we, too, are appending a list. All this is for your perusal. Please see how his matter can be taken to the public. Our lives have no security till these camps are vacated.
CADRE APPOINTED AS POLICE IN JANGAL MAHAL
– A Report by Sangbad Pratidin
Staff reporter: In the name of appointing sons of the soil in the police force, the Left Front government has decided to give ‘official recognition’ to the party cadre and members of the musket corps. At the same time, the CPI(M), isolated from the people in the Jangal Mahal, is starting a new turf war, dangling before the local youth the carrot of employment, So long in the areas under Maoist influence the Harmad forces of the CPI(M) unleashed terror unofficially. Now the Left Front government wants to bring back that regime of terror with the assistance of the government itself. They won’t even be appointed through the PSC. To quicken the process of wholesale appointment, it has been planned to make the appointments by setting up a ‘police recruitment board’.
The state police are preparing two corps to fight the Maoists. Apart from this police are required in the police stations in the Jangal Mahal. So, village youth will be appointed in the state police from the three districts overrun by the Maoists. Now three and a half thousand constables are being appointed in the state police. For quick appointment personnel will be drawn from a panel prepared by the Kolkata police. But, even after that 8 to 9 thousand police men are required. It is here that the village youth will get priority. In fact, the CPI(M) bosses have prepared a plan for providing ‘government sanction’ to the terror in the name of resisting the Maoists in Jangal Mahal, and are using the DG of the police to announce it. Now, CPI(M) is fielding in official uniform those who have continually been terrorizing the opposition with illegal arms.
The state police failing to deal with the Maoists in the Jangal Mahal, the joint forces have entered the fray. So long the Harmad forces of the CPI(M) have unleashed terror on the innocent Adibasis. The musket corps of the CPI(M) have terrorized the villages of Paschim Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia. But in the face of the resistance of the common people, the CPI(M) is isolated from the people. Not being able to win the turf war, the Left Front has adopted a different program. The force which will be formed for fighting the Maoists will include these youth. Naturally the CPI(M) cadre will receive priority in recruitment in place of ordinary village youth. The steering wheel of the expedition will pass to these CPI(M) cadre appointed from the Jangal Mahal. So, the terror will go on, officially. (Sambad Pratidin, 10.3.2010)
Now, the Left government is appointing a section of the Harmads as Special Police Officers. In this way in Bengal implementing the Salwa Judum offensive is taking a legal form. In the name of appointing sons of the soil in the police force, Left Front government has decided to appoint thousands of armed Harmad cadre as police personnel. The Sambad Pratidin news paper brought out a report about this on 10th March. (A copy of the report is being appended.) Please find a way to stop these appointments. We firmly declare that we will fight the Harmads in this big Jangal Mahal and further intensify the movement. We believe that, together with the people of West Bengal, every one will stand beside this democratic people’s movement.
The fact is that the Left and Congress governments want to create unrest and pain in our lives by snatching away all land and forests and displace us. Therefore, Harmads will become SPOs. Their camps will officially become police camps. Instead of muskets will come Insas and ultramodern weapons like the AKs. So far, Harmads attacked unofficially, though wearing police uniform, Insas and AKs in hand. From now on, they will do this officially, lawfully, obeying the Constitution. Great! Transforming the illegal into the legal! Today is not the day to sit silent. United we must all participate in further intensifying the fight against these fascist armies.
FREE TREATMENT AND MEDICINE ARE AVAILABLE AT THE PEOPLE”S HEALTH CENTRES, NOT GUNS AND CARTRIDGES
Few months after November 2008 uprising, the first two health centers were set up in Kantapahari and Chakadoba by health department of PCAPA. Hundreds of patients visited these two health centers every day for treatment. Free treatment and medicines were available at these health centers. Later, many more health centers came up in different villages. Now, 26 health centers are functioning. In two/three places, the health centers had to be shut down due to oppression by the joint forces, but were reactivated later. Only Kantapahari health centre could not be opened. Every day a minimum of 50 to100 patients come to each health centre for treatment. Every day, a total of 2500 to 3000 patients are supplied treatment and medicine in all of these health camps. One can understand how many are being provided free medical services from 26 health centers. The health service can have only one aim, serve the sick. More than 150 rural doctors are dedicated in serving the people. They are examining the health of the people of Jangal Mahal with all sincerity. The joint forces are carrying on attacks every day to close these health centers and are spreading rumors. The media is also peddling the lies of the government with bold headlines. Our resolution to reach the people of Jangal Mahal with health services cannot be broken by any force. In spite of so much oppression and lies, we will keep the health centers functioning.
Police is repeatedly attacking these health centers. Jahar Mahato, Nisith Mahato of Pirhrakuli are still in police custody. Apart from this on 14th April 14, Chaitra Sankranti day, the doctor of Paluboni was beaten up and his bike was snatched while he was visiting the fair at Kalashol in Keshpur Police Station.
It is the responsibility of the government to provide health services to its people. But, what do we see in Jangal Mahal? The government is always indifferent. For last many years, we put many requests for setting up a health centre to the government. And today when, instead of waiting for the mercy of sleeping Kumbhakarna, we are building health centers in village after village on our own initiative, and the rural doctors here are working heart and soul at the health centers, then the government is concentrating attack on our health centers and doctors.
If the centre and the state want to run health centers in the villages, we have no objection and never had any. We will co-operate in every way. A health centre for every five villages is an urgent need. Medicine and treatment must be free. Transforming government hospitals into business centers has made looting the public its chief concern instead of providing service.
Our demands: We must be allowed to run the health centers. Attacks must stop. Looting of medicines must stop. Doctors mustn’t be harassed. Let the government understand well, that the medicines of our health centers are not cartridges. If the government provides us with the medicines, we will not hesitate in accepting them.
We request you to a organize, all over West Bengal, a movement to inform people against the attacks of the joint forces and evil propaganda, help us and co-operate with us in every way to run the health centers.
THREAT TO CHHATRADHAR MAHATO IN JAIL
The central and state government have kept our spokesperson, Chhatradhar Mahato in jail, implicating him in numerous false cases. Till date, he has not been given the status of a political prisoner in jail. A few days back the jailer of Midnapore jail threatened Chhatradhar, Raja Sarkhel and Prasun. In protest, they went on fast in jail itself. On 11th April, there were meetings and rallies all over in Jangal Mahal in support of their fast. Instead of moving over the metal roads, the processions traversed the interior regions of hundreds of villages, because the joint forces are stationed in large numbers on the metal roads. The processions had only one slogan — If something happens to Chhatradhar, Raja and Prasun, we won’t spare the jailer.
Today it is clear, as the day, that the judicial system has surrendered to the CPI(M) and the police. Those who are now arrested are kept in police custody. They are being produced in court 10 to 15 days after arrest. After this the judge is again remanding them in police custody. The judicial system of this country sees everything, knows everything, hears everything, and yet remains deaf and blind. Inhuman torture is being inflicted, while in police custody. People in police custody are being forced to wear police uniform and brought to village after village to identify PCAPA leaders and supporters. This procedure puts to shame stories of torture in custody during the colonial rule of the British. In this way Chidambaram and the Congress government are implementing the policy of suppressing the tribal revolt and letting the Harmads occupy villages. Whatever may the state Congress leaders say about the Harmad terror by word of mouth, they are sitting with heads bent. For whose protection has the CRPF been stationed and the Black laws enacted? You know that better than us!
In reaction to the above, the administration, different political parties and a section of civil society will immediately cry – anti-state, unconstitutional, illegal statements! We don’t know or understand so much about the constitution and legality. But, friends will you please tell us which legal or constitutional right we are enjoying? We see that one can be arrested and produced in court 10-15 days afterwards; we see our friends go ‘missing’ after arrest; after raping our mothers and sisters the rapist joint forces and the Harmads strut about arrogantly; we see after killing out beloved leader Lalmohan Tudu his dead body is not handed over to his relatives. Punishment of those who are responsible for these acts is a far cry, not even a case is filed!
Friends, we the Adibasi and original habitants of Jangal Mahal declare that our rightful war, our ‘dharmayuddh’ against this judicial system which is awarding legality to all these acts of exploitation, injustice and oppression, rape of mothers and sisters, illegal arrests, making people ‘missing’, will continue, we won’t bow down.
LEFT IN STATE, UPA AT CENTRE: DISTRESSED SOCIO-ECONOMIC LIFE IN THE JANGAL MAHAL
Due to the invasion of the joint forces, the people of Jangal Mahal, for the last one year, are not able to organize various social functions and activities like funerals, marriages, fairs. One cannot even work nor do his job with satisfaction. Not only this, due to the tactics of the joint forces there is no protection for the lives of our children. We are indicating a few incidents –
1. Doctor Arun Mahato of the Paluiboni health centre went to the Shiv Mela at Keshpur as he did every year. What happened there has been narrated above. Arun’s socio-economic condition is very similar to that of most common people, But, still he was beaten. He was not allowed to offer Puja or worship. For the last one year the people of Jangal Mahal have not been able to participate in funerals, marriages, local fairs and other festivals. The joint forces and the Harmads have throughout the year obstructed the various social activities of the people.
2. Hearing that the joint forces would set up a camp to protect the property of Khagen Mahato, MLA at Srinathpur on 26th March, more than 2000 people went in procession to Srinathpur High School. The MLA and Manik Mahato, Secretary of the School committee, fled from the village in mid-February. The people requested the teachers not to give space for a camp in the school. Suddenly, the particular teacher wanted to leave, he told later that the President of Zonal Committee intends to make him informer. He did not want to betray his people, therefore he did not go to school for further work. That is how he lost his job!
3. On 1st April a person from a village near Ashunashuli (Harmad base camp) in Salboni block, under pressure from the Harmads, agreed to give them information about us. When this was noticed by the villagers they argued with him not to do this. On April 2, he was called to a people’s court. Almost 1000 people gathered there. In front of them he declared that he would not be involved in anti-people activities. On hearing of this the CPI(M) threatened to take his life. He left the village. Now with the help of people he is live elsewhere for a new livelihood.
4. On 3rd April the Maoists detonated a mine explosion on the Lalgarh road. The villagers were used to locate the site of the burst. In the Jangal Mahal there are bomb squads, high ranking police officers, thousands of policemen; still the villagers must search out the explosion site, which code of war allows this? This happens time and again. Whoever they find on the road, old men, women, children, they will detain him for searching operation. We have raised this issue many times before the human rights organizations. But the police are continuing with the same. If now we take measures to protect our lives and rights, will you object? Has the constitution given us the right to save our lives? We cannot accept till sacrifice of our lives.
5. On 15th April the villagers of Chandabila village in the Kotwali thana area netted out the fish in all ponds of the village. In the late afternoon, CRPF came from the Bargacchia joint camp, beat up everybody and detained some people. If we go deeply into this matter you will understand how deeply assaulted and badly off we are. At one time the land and ponds of the village were our property. But why don’t we have any right over this property now? Five or six Thakur families came from Uttar Pradesh. Our land, the fish in the ponds, trees and the forest, and honour, all our rights was looted. The chieftain of this loot was Nadu Singh. One son of Nadu Singh died in mass fury. Another is a Salwa Judum chief. Azad Singh is a leader in Enayatpur. Nadu Singh lives in Chandra village. When the struggle intensified other four families left the village. Still Nadu Singh by one means or another used his power to give the police news about different villages in the Dherua region. These Thakur families and especially the jotedar Nadu Singh target locals in different ways. Reoccupation of the village is their main aim. We maintain that the people of the village have rights over all that fish, ponds and land. And the struggle to defend these rights will continue.
6. 10th April, the joint forces surrounded a marriage location in search of Maoists. Relatives had come to attend the marriage. The groom was abducted on the plea that there were Maoists in the marriage place. Then how will marriage take place? The bride is time-barred from marriage for life. In Adibasi society removing the groom from under the wedding canopy is a great crime.
There are numerous incidents as above. These occurrences provide a partial picture of the atrocities. We demand that this suppression mission which has shattered the socio-economic life of the people of the Jangal Mahal should be withdrawn immediately. People are not going to tolerate this. The newspapers do not publish detailed reports regarding the occurrences. Looking only at government reports, if you think the teacher left the job voluntarily, children-old men-villagers are looking for land – mines together with the joint forces voluntarily, then you are making a mistake. We call you to raise your voice for protection of human rights of the people of Jangal Mahal, for protection of their life and livelihood. Raise your voice for their rights, and against snatching away even the minimum rights of participating in various social functions, from funeral to the marriage.
OUR DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME AND DEMANDS
Since the joint forces has started to move in, many of our leading supporters were killed, arrested, and were made ‘missing’. Only very few have retreated. The terror created by the joint forces and the Harmads has been increasing day by day. Even in the middle of all this we have continued with various programs for the development and uplift
of the life of the people of Jangal Mahal.
In Jangal Mahal the problem of drinking water and irrigation are long-standing ones. In summer the problem becomes acute. The people of Jangal Mahal have repeatedly requested the administration for a solution to the problem of drinking water and irrigation, but have not been addressed. After the mass uprising of October 2008, we ourselves started developmental programs without waiting for the administration. Side by side with building health centers, we took some new initiatives for solving the problem of drinking water and irrigation. Quite a few irrigation projects were taken up, and for drinking water, some new wells and tube-wells were sunk, old ones were repaired. After the joint forces entered they started to obstruct our developmental work. Fighting the terror of the joint forces and the Harmads, we tried our best to move ahead with the developmental work. From November 2009, we sunk new wells and tube-wells in different villages, repaired the old ones. In the mean-time, 25 borings were repaired in the Simulpal region. These had been lying wasted for a long period, almost for three to seven years, due to lack of repair.
Arrangements for drinking water were made in villages like Simulpal, Dakai, Labani, Shankhavanga, Pakuriashol, Jamaimari, Patharchakri, Thakranpahari, Machhkandna, Chalkivanga, Kankribarna, Burishol, Balichua, Birmadal, Ghaghra etc. Apart from this, in that area the wages for digging bauxite were increased. Health centers were open in the Jhargram, Simulpal, Belpahari regions. The activities of the forest department, wood smugglers, and mafias were stopped. A movement for increasing the wages for Kendu leaves resulted in an increase from Rs 44 to Rs 60 per unit. Also, the charge for carrying leaves to Chichira from the deep forests of Orissa was enhanced from Rs 150to Rs 300.
For irrigation, six shallows pumps have been sunk in February-March, and work on few more is in progress. We submitted definite demands for strengthening the systems for irrigation and drinking water to all gram panchayats of the area. In the mean-time we have discussed people centric development with the locals.
WHY FORCED TO CALL A BANDH AGAIN
Today, 21st April, a 24 hours Bandh is being observed in the Jangal Mahal. Why this bandh? The police have spread lies about two Maoists killed in an intense exchange of fire with the Maoists in the forest of Valukbasa on 18th April. In fact, there was no exchange of fire and no one died. On that day, the police surrounded different villages from the morning. One person was made ‘missing’ in Ringta village, two others were taken away from Chichiria village. One was beaten to death and the other admitted to hospital with serious injuries. Police is calling the person they beat to death, a Maoist. Apart from this, on that day the villagers of Valukbasa village were made to sit at one place since morning to evening. On that day the joint forces raped three women. On the Jhargram side, a groom was taken away from the marriage pandal. We called bandh on the 21st against all these incidents. The DG Bhupinder Singh lied to the press that 10 Maoists had been arrested. None of them are Maoists. The Maoists in their statement have said that four of their leaders have been arrested from different locations and that they were not produced in court. Chandrasekhar, a member of their Bangla-Jharkhand-Orissa Regional committee, was arrested from Nayagram on 14th April. The same day, in another incident, one Rajen was arrested from Pirhrakuli of Salboni thana area, and two persons called Rajesh and Krishna were arrested from Shirji of Jhargram. None of them has been produced in court. So, they called Bangla-Jharkhand-Orissa border region Bandh on 26th and 27th April.
Our organization, the People’s Committee against Police Atrocities has called for a continuous program of barricading from 22nd April. Non-production in court after arrest is a norm of Operation Green Hunt. Following the directives of the United States of America, and in the interest of domestic and foreign capitalists like Mittals, Jindals etc., the government is pursuing Operation Green Hunt to facilitate different SEZ projects like the Jindal’s SEZ project in Salboni. We think that it is extremely urgent and necessary to carry on a vigorous and continuing movement against this policy. We send you such reports as we collect from the field of struggle. We hope your greater attention over this matter of state aggression. Our struggle for the human rights of the people of Jangal Mahal, the right to express one’s opinion, the right over water-forest-land, development and uplift of people, and life of honor and respect will continue. In conclusion, we call you: Come to the Jangal Mahal, see with your own eyes the true picture of the people under attack. This is the demand of democracy. Resisting state terror is an important characteristic of the work of civil liberty organizations.
Board of Spokespersons
Main Spokesperson Asit Mahato, Phone No. 8016161545
Spokesperson Manoj Mahato, Phone No. 9002466621
Spokesperson Ajit Mahato, Phone No. 9679970517
Spokesperson Lochan Singh Sardar, Phone No. 973460104
People’s Committee against Police Atrocities