Against the Terror of Mamata Banerjee’s Militia: Womens’ Protest Rally in Jungal Mahal – A Report and the Pamphlet

September 8, 2011

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Requiem of a ‘Dream’

by Abhijnan Sarkar

That day was probably 28th November, 2006; the pre-scheduled meeting by Krishi Jami Rakhsa Committee against forceful land acquisition in Singur, Hoogly was forced to be cancelled. The meeting was cancelled because the state administration declared Sec. 144 in the locality of Singur. Though the organisers had received prior permission, the CPI(M) led government, in a brutal manner, tried to gag the voice of unwilling farmers, and compelled the organisers to call off the program. Smt. Mamata Banerjee was one of the main speakers there; she shouted herself hoarse against the undemocratic and deceitful declaration of Sec. 144 in Singur on that particular evening; other democratic organisations also slammed the government. Singur was the beginning of end of the ‘Left’ regime and their sham democracy.

At that time Smt. Mamata Banerjee was in the opposition. At that time she clamored for democracy, clamored for change in West Bengal politics, as we also did. Today, she is enthroned in the chair of the Chief Minister, but ‘democracy’, in true sense, is unaccomplished. The incident in Jhargram on September 5, 2011 should be an eye-opener for those who are parroting that after the defeat of CPI (M), democracy has been restored in West Bengal.

On 5th September, Nari Ijjat Bachao Committee (Committee for the protection of Women’s Honour) called for a rally in Jhargram of West Midnapore District against the new phase of atrocities unleashed by Joint force, Police and cadres of Trinamool Congress under this new regime.

It is alleged that most of the mercenary forces of CPI (M) (popularly known as harmads), to save their back, changed their camp and joined the Trinamool backed organisation Jana Jagaran Mancha. Three men of Jana Jagaran Mancha were arrested from the Jhargram region early on September 3, 2011, carrying arms. Police mistook them as Maoists, but Mr. Nishith Mahato, the leader of Jana Jagaran Mancha, claimed that they were the members of the ‘army against Maoists’. There are reports of harassment and violence in the Jangalmahal, echoing that with which people have been familiar for the last two years. I am giving two prominent examples; firstly, arrested leader Chatradhar Mahato’s home, where Chatradhar’s wife and his aged parents live, was ransacked by the Joint Forces,. Chatradhar’s father and mother were threatened and humiliated. Secondly, Kamalesh Mahato, the leader of Jharkhand Student’s Federation also faced the rage of Trinamool goons. His home was attacked and shattered. He was threatened with death if he did not buckle down at the knees of Trinamool. There are many incidents of sheer terror underlying the ‘peace’. (Please see the leaflet of Nari Ijjat Bachao Committee)

Nari Ijjat Bachao Committee sought the permission at Jhargram police station for the rally, days before the scheduled program. On 4th September evening, police informed that permission was cancelled. Without any proper reason, administration tried to thwart the democratic, peaceful rally.

But that could not stop people coming for the rally. On 5th September, people from different villages headed for Jhargram town. Police stopped them at different entry points of Jhargram Town, at Kalaboni, Dohijuri, Nayagram and from Binpur side. People started sit-in-demonstration where they were deterred. Fifteen thousand people participated on that day.

After three months of taking the oath of office, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s intentions are clear. This government is not withdrawing the killer Joint Forces, neither would they release the prominent political prisoners. The pre-election promises were void rhetoric. Moreover, the new government resorts to the old method of repression and deceit, trying to suppress the democratic means of protest that the ‘Left Front’ government did previously. The Jhargram incident proves that Smt. Mamata Banerjee is putting the clock back.

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Leaflet for the Rally from Nari Ijjat Bachao Committee

Original Bengali version here: page1.jpg page2.jpg

Dear friends,

It has been 100 days since the current Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee entered Writers. She has claimed that the first 100 days have been days of unqualified success. The media has duly seconded that opinion. Her ministers and cadres are daydreaming about the incipient creation of a New Bengal.

The residents of the Jungal Mahal are not thinking along these lines. But a small fraction of them joined Mamata’s party, and in their quest to exert influence in the area, have started terror on a scale larger than that perpetrated by the CPIM.

Two new armies were created after the new government was formed. They have been on the attack for the last one month. Before May 13, the TMC didn’t attack the people of the Jungal Mahal, or create armies. Moreover, their election campaign was based on the demands of pulling out the Central Forces, the unconditional release of all political prisoners, and the the arrest of Harmad leaders. They said that if they got the votes, they would transform Jungal Mahal.

Things really did change. Mamata changed her tone, and along with the joint forces, the Harmad army, and the Ganapratirodh Committee was created Mamata’s Harmad army, under the leadership of Nishith. On top of that, from September 10, ten thousand residents of Jungal Mahal are being enlisted for SPO, Home Guard, and NVF, promising a new huge army to terrorise the masses in the future.

Scene 1:

August 27 was Martyr Umakanta’s first Martyrdom anniversary. His house is in Bankshole, and in his memory his wife Sabita Mahato, and his parents, children, and the villagers in general came together to make a temple, on his land, at his home, with money from selling his crops. But the CPIM sent the Joint Forces and destroyed the structure. The Joint forces sent by Mamata’s government started harassing Sabita. They didn’t destroy the new structure, but did destroy Sabita’s strength of mind. They questioned ; why did her husband die? For what? Did Maoists give money for the temple? You have to give them up. A thousand other questions and threats.

Dipak Ghosh of Mamata’s party (the Great Leader, IPS) wrote a huge article in the Dainik Statesman three days after the death of Umakanto. After his party came to power, they started behaving like the previous government. Last Saturday Sabita had to get bail for Rs. 3000, for a false case. How many new cases will come can only be said by Mamata.

We alone can understand the anguished cries of terrorized infants. We are standing with them for their development – the Ma Mati Mamata brigade are singing a different tune – a tune that promises terror on a larger scale then even the CPIM.

Scene 2:

On 20th August, at 10 in the morning, in Lalgarh’s Amliya village. The Joint Forces enter the imprisoned Chhatradhar Mahato’s home, and the home of Martyr Banabasi Suchitra. The police destroyed everything. They asked for Srimati Niyoti Mahato, threatened people to bring her out. Niyotidi couldn’t return home the whole day. This is not only Niyotidi’s predicament – it is the predicament of the sisters, mothers, and elder sisters of Jungal Mahal.

Scene 3:

To strengthen Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement, students and villagers from different areas of Jungal Mahal started a fast. This was on 24/25 August, in Jhargram and Salboni. Mamata’s police broke it all up, beating up the women and men who were fasting, saying that fasting wasn’t allowed. On 26th June, the people who were fasting for the release of political prisoners were beaten up mercilessly in Belpahari Pathorbakri. Mamata doesn’t even want to give this form of political expression any space. From the end of June to August, this is how it has been.

Scene 4:

Gana Jagoron Mancha and Mamata’s Harmad Bahini have started terrorizing the areas around Jamboni, Jhargram, and Nayagram. We are affected here and village life is subdued and in fear. CPIM Harmads and Mamata Harmads, in their respective spheres of influence , are working with the Joint Forces to attack the masses. The mask of democracy and mass acceptance that the new government, especially Mamata had is now gone. Thus, the pain of the Jungal Mahal is not being recorded naymore. Now, whatever they may say publicly, as far as Jungal Mahal goes Mamata’s position is one of perpetrating terror.

Afer a long time, we too are being forced to prepare for a protest rally. We had hoped for the return of peace to Jungal Mahal. That is why we have not ben agitating. Mamata in the interim hatched scheme after scheme and finally created an army. Now we are being pushed to take the same kinds of preparations that we took to save ourselves from the CPIM Harmads. On 25th August, Mukul Ray came to Jhargram and warned that just because the government was using soft hands, it should not be thought of as weak. But Mukul Babu couldn’t mention the new attacks on the Jungal Mahal. He couldn’t because that would expose them.

We are residents of Jungal Mahal. Mukul Babu may be quiet, but we will tell the world about what is happening in Jungal Mahal today. That is why after such a long time, on 5th September, we are gathering from all over in Jhargram, and protesting Mamata’s terror. Come, let us make this protest a success. Come let us all speak out about the truth in the Jungal Mahal, the truth that Mamata is suppressing from The Writers.

Jyotsna Mahato
Mahamichhil Samannay Samiti
Nari Ijjat Bachao Committee

Translated by Kuver Sinha