Kolkata – Lalgarh Convention, October 12

October 9, 2010

The people of Lalgarh want you to be by their side
Come be our comrades and stand by us

People’s Convention – Make it a success

12th October, 2010

Venue: Sodpur Loksangskriti Bhaban, Sodpur

Time: 4 PM

Click here to read the original Bengali pamphlet

• Protesting against the killing of the leadership of the PCAPA and demanding punishment of killers.

• Demanding a stop to Operation Green Hunt and protesting against the atrocities of the joint forces and harmad bahini.

• Protesting against the State atrocities meted out to the Adivasi, Moolvasi people.

• Against the rapes and molestations of women by the joint forces and harmad bahini in Sonamukhi village.

You may have heard that the India economy is the 12th largest in the world and in terms of growth rate it is 2nd. You may also have noted that in terms of crorepatis India’s rank is 4th. Between 2007 and 2008 the number of lakhpatis in India has grown at the rate of 22.6% which is the highest in the world. But do you know that the human development index which is calculated each year by estimating health, education, drinking water, infant mortality tells us India’s rank is 134 in a list of 170 countries? Or that this year’s human development survey conducted by the UNDP gives us a rank of 70 among 104 developing countries, in between war-torn Cameroon and Congo? Do you know that after 63 years of independence 42% households have not got electricity connections, whereas in terms of military expenditure our rank is 9th in the world. 45% of our children below the age of two suffer from malnutrition whereas in terms of spending on arms India is 4th in the world. Incidence of malnutrition, poverty, deprivation is more pronounced among the Adivasi people of our land. We have heard of the starvation deaths in Amlashol courtesy the media, but the fact is, this is an everyday reality in the Adivasi society. Extreme deprivations and discrimination have been a part of Adivasi life. But recently atrocities by police and administration have reached to such an extent that the Adivasis are finding it difficult to lead a dignified life.

The figures mentioned above would have remained cold statistics to us if the struggle of the deprived and neglected people had not confronted us. In the recent past the mass insurrection by the Adivasi Moolvasi people of Lalgarh has put us in front of many difficult questions. The strident resistance of the people which was triggered by the police atrocities in November, 2008 had 13 demands, directly posing challenges to the State power. This made us confront the atrocities, deprivation, disrespect that are routinely meted out to the Adivasi people, for the main point of those 13 demands was to exact the rightful dignity from the administration and the State. All know what was the reaction of the State against the movement. Let alone meeting those demands and providing relief, endless terror was unleashed upon the movement. The joint forces of the centre and the state government on the one hand, the ruling classes backed by the State on the other: together they aimed to silence the Adivasi people’s movement of Jangalmahal through pincer attack. After the entry of joint forces on 18th June 2009 the entire Jangalmahal is under siege and blood soaked. Untold misery that has been going on for more than a year since then has few parallels in history. The joint forces are beating up people mercilessly, raping, firing upon the children, old people, men, women and setting their houses, fields on fire. This is a daily affair in the Jangalmahal. They have demolished the health centres which were set up by the sincere effort and well wishes of common people, and with the initiative and coordination of the PCAPA. They have looted medicines from the health centres. They have been trying to arrest the doctors who were voluntarily providing service in these centres. By closing down schools the class rooms have been turned into camp of joint forces. Lalgarh today looks like an area under attack by some the military of a foreign country.

The rightful movement of Jangalmahal has been projected unfarily by the State, the administration and the pliant media to the rest of our countrymen. They have forced the leaders and activists of the movement into hiding by slapping various anti-national charges and arrest warrants. The main purpose is to destroy the movement. In an entirely unjust manner the spokesman of the PCAPA Chhatradhar Mahato, accountant Sukhshanti Baske and other Adivasi citizens have been booked and arrested under the UAPA and other acts. Lalmohan Tudu, the president of the PCAPA, who had come to visit his son the night before his matriculation exam was brutally killed. They have killed the secretary of the PCAPA Sidu Soren and eight of his comrades in Metala forest in a fake encounter while they were in sleep. Till now 90 people have been killed by the joint forces and mercenary forces of the CPI(M) (infamous in the entire country as the harmads) in and around Lalgarh. This rampaging forces have burned Anima Mandi to death, aged 7, by locking her inside the house and setting it on fire. The valiant fighters of the country have killed Saralabala Mahato who was a 70 year old lady.

The saga of State and party (CPI(M)) terror on the Adivasi people is unending. Does it not show the vacuity of democracy in this land when same kinds of incidents get repeated in same area day in and day out? The harmad bahini of the CPI(M) which enjoys the protection of the joint forces is no different from the Salwa Judum. Thousands of villagers have fled their home courtesy the atrocities meted out to them. The harmad bahini have set up camps in the schools and panchayat buildings and carrying on their killing, looting and raping spree. This entire area has been put under the 144 for more than a year, all meetings and rallies are banned. And yet one finds the harmads are taking out large rallies and capturing villages. After they have captured the villages, to protract atrocities the CPI(M) leaders have supervised import of armed mercenary from different districts of West Bengal as well as Bihar and Jharkhand.

When all these atrocities on the common people of Lalgarh is on, the area has been under siege for more than a year. In spite of many efforts the representatives of civil society were not allowed entry in Lalgarh. This is unprecedented in the history of the country that there is 144 for more than a year. Besides that, whenever organisations or individuals such as social worker Medha Patkar or film director Gopal Menon, or Nisha Biswas, Manik Mandal, Kanishka Choudhury who are activists of democratic movements have tried to enter they have been barred or have been arrested. This is an extreme insult on our constitutional rights that we cannot enter a particular region. And yet the administration and judiciary is silent. Only the powerful parliamentary parties can enter Lalgarh and hold rallies there.

The tradition of our civil society is that wherever people are terrorised, are subject to State attack, wherever there is people’s resistance movement against such attacks; be it Singur be it Nandigram, we have stood by their side. We have got down on the streets and raised our voice against the barbaric attacks by the ruling party and the State. Today the people of under siege Lalgarh is appealing to us for support; but perhaps we are not able to respond to it. The distance of Lalgarh from Kolkata is less than a hundred kilometres. But the perhaps the mental distance of us from sorrows of Adivasi people, their daily living experience, even their strident protest is more than a few thousand kilometres. Why this apathy? The State and the media have painted Lalgarh with many brushes. We had not asked if there were any political parties with this movement. Why then today are we turning our back on this entirely rightful movement? Putting aside all reluctance and confusion the Lalgarh Mancha is aiming to bridge the distance and stand by the blood soaked, under siege people of Lalgarh through meetings, processions, conventions.

24-09-2010

With revolutionary greetings,

Lalgarh Mancha