December 13, 2010
Sixth Letter from the Peoples’ Committee Against Police Atrocities to the Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR), Lalgarh Mancha, Sanhati, Gana-Pratirodh Mancha and intellectuals in support of the people.
By killing our valiant martyr Umakanto Mahato through false encounter, arresting Manoj Mahato, raping and molesting our mothers and sisters in the Jangalmahal, by torturing, arresting and murdering common people, the lumpen CPIM will not be able to win in Jangalmahal.
Mass movement and mass resistance would continue against the assault by the lumpen CPIM and the joint forces.
APDR, Lalgarh Mancha, Sanhati, Gana-Pratirodh Mancha and intellectuals in support of the people,
We hope that you have received our last letter. Due to the situation here, we could not finish writing about many of the incidents that took place here meanwhile. We wish to write in detail about those and send them to you very soon. We could not utilize the news agencies and other media to publicize our views. We cannot use the Internet to publicize either. As a result of which, we could not reach the people of West Bengal or India for that matter with our views. You on the other hand have the opportunity to do so. We hope that you would help us in letting people know what we want to say. Our heartfelt thanks on behalf of our organization to those friends who translated our letters in English and published it on the Internet. It is hard to predict how the news media and television channels would present our views.
The three incidents that occurred in the month of July in Radhanagar, Nishchintapur and Harda were orchestrated by the harmads, the police, the “pratirodh-pratirodh committee”, Majhi Marwa, Mantu Soren, Mao-repression force (mao-daman sena), and the reactionary faction in the villages. We tried our best to convey in details these incidents in our previous letters. Despite knowing the true identity of the driving forces behind these three incidents, the print media and the television channels kept spreading false propaganda. They publicized it as “mass resistance” against us. We kept on letting the media know the truth, what was happening and who were behind it. But they did not pay any heed to us.
We are writing to you in details regarding this. Not only that, we are also letting you know that the CPIM in an attempt to take over Lalgarh and to malign our image has entered into a propaganda war against us. Let us be clear, that in our opinion, through this propaganda, the CPIM would encircle the area by letting in harmads in huge numbers and would intensify the Salwa Judum, Bengal style model. Let us also clearly state that the people are standing in vigil on the battleground. Peoples’ committee against police atrocities is and will be ready to resist the terror unleashed by the harmads and the police. Many of our leadership, have been arrested or martyred, some have even stepped aside. But new leaders are being born every day, every minute, in the battlefield of resistance. Leaders are emerging from the younger generation from the villages. This is the rule of history. Leaders are born out of the resistance; leadership takes shape through the resistance. Nobody has been or will be able to change this. Still, it is required to maintain continuity in leadership in all movements. We are trying to keep it alive. In this regard, to confuse the public, a large section of the media is spreading all kinds of nonsense. Some of the journalist friends, who used to maintain communication with us and used to visit us, are now singing the tune according to the police and administration. We never expected this, nor could we foresee this.
When the attacks by the harmads intensified in July-August, almost all news media other than the Aajkaal and Ganashakti covered how the attacks were being carried out. From the first week of September they had a complete volte-face and started conveying these attacks by the CPIM in a different manner. Anyway, now with these experiences behind them, people of Jangalmahal will most definitely defeat the war declared by the state and central government. The people of Jangalmahal are watching how these events are being narrated, by whom and what they are saying – nothing is escaping them. They can relate these changes with what is happening in their everyday life. People are now watching from very close quarters the behaviors and the views of parties belonging to the Maoists, Marxists, Trinamool, Congress, BJP, Naxal factions participating in parliamentary politics, Human rights organizations as well as that of our own organization – the peoples’ organization. People are adeptly analyzing these views and activities in the background of the continuing movement of Lalgarh that has been going on for last two years. Not only that, what is happening in West Bengal, outside Jangalmahal, who is saying what, what is happening in the different corners of the country is no secret today.
Regarding our valiant martyr Umakanto Mahato
Apart from one or two organizations, most of you kept quiet about our great martyr Umakanto Mahato. We cannot conceive how you can keep quiet when the goons of Prashanta Das mercilessly kill a mass leader who worked day and night to pull together thousands of people, who gave his life resisting and finally sacrificed his life! Prashanta Das’s army of men spread canards after brutally murdering our great leader Umakanto leaving his body on the road. It is not clear to us that how, even after this, could human rights organizations and intellectuals like you, keep quiet without saying anything in favor of or criticizing this incident. In our previous letter, we wrote in no uncertain terms that where the very pillars of democracy and human rights are being mercilessly trampled, it is imperative to announce clear opinions about these everyday incidents occurring during our movement for those very democracy and human rights. To view this people’s movement as untouchable, would amount to damaging people’s movements in general. Anyway, let us go back to the tale of our great martyr Umakanto Mahato.
CPIM bastions started to fall one by one as work of PCAPA started to expand on both sides of National highway 5 and 6, Lodhashuli-Manikpara being the center. It was due to the resistance by the people that the CPIM had to retreat from their continuous attacks on the villages during the period of November 2009 to February 2010. Even though some CPIM members left posters declaring that they have deserted the party, in reality they did not. When they could see that it was difficult to break our organization by attacking us from the outside with the help of the joint forces, they tried to conspire and break us from within. It was a clandestine attempt on their part. At the same time under the leadership of Prashanta Das, the police and the joint force kept attacking the villages almost every day. Great martyr Umakanto emerged as the leader, when he led the resistance by the people against these atrocities. This made the CPIM realize that the police or the joint forces cannot eliminate this mass leader and they started to scheme on how to murder him. Due to our inexperience, we could not realize this.
The great martyr Umakanto Mahato joined our organization a few months into the Lalgarh movement. He took the responsibility to lead and organize meetings and sit-ins bringing together thousands of people from the villages on both sides of the national highways. Even before he joined our organization, he protested against the polluting sponge iron factories. He was never a part of the CPIM; he was always against the CPIM. Sabita, his life partner shared his ideals and struggles. He left behind three daughters and a son. He loved them all. His parents were never in his way to his work with the masses and his politics. He was one of a lower middle class family with a very cordial interaction with the rest of the village.
After we started working in the Patashimul area, we took up several projects on a regular basis. Umakanto completed all kinds of work under his direct supervision like developmental projects including paving stone chip roads or inserting pipes for shallow pumps. Some people noticing his mass base started passing information regarding these works to Prashanta Das and to the police super of Jhargram, Pravin Tripathi. The day Umakanto was martyred, he visited his house, and participated in a game of football. People belonging to the CPIM came over and took him away to a meeting in the village of Dhamri. He did attend the meeting there. During the meeting some of the attendees were heard to comment that this was going to be his last meeting (we got this fact from the villagers on the 3rd of September during the course of our investigation). Umakanto was not aware of this. He left the meeting along with two others – a leader and a member of the people’s committee, around 1:00 in the morning. CPIM goons were waiting for an ambush. Harmads under the leadership of Prashanta Das were waiting right there with a well thought out plan and he was brought under the pretext of the meeting after the football match. At that particular area, there were no units of CRPF, CoBra, Straco, IRB, EFR, Naga, STF &CBI, state police or others. What was there was the harmad army under Prashanta Das.
As soon as they heard the noise of the motorbike on the tarred road, they sprung upon it and stopped the bike. Due to the impact, three people fell down. Two of them are still alive and are unscathed. They are now part of our leadership. Umakanto tried to escape. The harmads started a rain of firing. Umakanto got shot and fell down right there. The harmads then shot at him from point blank range, emptying their guns on the dead body. Next day, early in the morning, the joint forces reached the spot, moved the body and the vehicle and placed a revolver near the head of the body. Pravin Tripathi started the false rumor of death during encounter with the joint forces. The story went out as another successful encounter by the CoBra brigade. This brought the movement of the Jangalmahal to a new junction. All this while the central army sent by Chidambaram has been training the harmads, giving them safety, modern arms, building the harmad camps near the army camps. During the operations, from regular raids to combing, only 60-70% men are people from the joint forces. The rest are from the harmad army in motorbikes or on their feet, ravaging village after village. The state force does not only provide with the latest arms, they even train the harmads. They attack us on the basis of information provided by the harmads. They publicize murders by the harmads as Maoists dying during encounters with the joint forces. Murder of Umakanto Mahato was publicized similarly. This must be unprecedented. The murders by a private militia like the harmads, being publicized as death during encounter with the joint forces is a first, not only in this state but also in India. The harmad army and the joint forces have become one. There’s no difference between them.
Media cooked up the stories. They just parroted the lies narrated by the CPIM leadership and Pravin Tripathi. News media proclaiming themselves to be in favor of the mass and people’s movements, referred to Umakanto as the ring leader in the Gyaneshwari express murder case. They used words like the “ring-leader”, “master-mind” etc. It is quite clear today that, however much the CBI try, it is hard for them to hide the fact that the CPIM orchestrated the Gyaneshwari accident. Letter written by Bapi Mahato (published by Tehelka and other news papers), Fact finding report by the Maoists, publications in “Ekdin”, “Dainik Statesman” have all clearly shown that the Gyaneshwari incident was not the doing of the people’s committee and Umakanto was not involved with this in any manner. From the onset, we have been telling that nobody from the PCAPA is involved in this incident. Even after that, the news media is trying by hook or crook to malign our image by putting the blame of the accident and the death of the 148 passengers on us, without going anywhere near the truth. All of those who have been arrested, except for Bapi Mahato has been clearly stated as people belong to the CPIM, by one or two newspapers. The letter from Bapi Mahato also corroborates this. Still, in an attempt to malign Umakanto’s image, the newspapers kept publishing the lie that Umakanto is the ringleader of the Gyaneshwari incident. You must have heard how Umakanto’s life partner condemned the media and clearly placed his ideals in front of the people of Bengal. On 6th of September, thousands of people of the locality paid homage by offering flowers on the altar of their dear Umakanto-dada. It was clear from the participation of these thousands of people that the people’s committee has been able to win their hearts. Even in the midst of the state terror, murders and arrests, the adivasis and mulvasis are responding to our calls in huge numbers.
People constructed the altar on 6th September in Umakanto’s native village. At least 10,000 people garlanded the altar. About 15,000 people were present from the neighboring 40-50 villages. “We won’t forget our immortal martyr Umakanto Mahato”, “Long live Umakanto Mahato”, “Umakanto’s blood would not be in vain” – these are what were heard from the thousands of people who gathered from the neighboring Sonamukhi, Kaliyachak, Bankashol, Birihanri, Basjhanpa, Negbahara, Kalabani, Patashimul, Jitushol, Shalboni, Bhandarbila, Kharbandhi, Nishchita and other villages. They took the pledge of realizing Umakanto’s dream.
Our Uma”da” is immortal. The road paved by him, will definitely be followed by the younger generation. This is evident for last one year. The joint forces would not be able to break our movement, our confidence, and determination even after terrorizing us by converting the entire Jhargram town into a police camp and working hands in glove with the harmad army. The way they go on shooting sprees together, arresting, brutalizing, looting, raping and molesting our mothers and sisters in village after village, it is incredible how thousands and thousands of people are and will still be standing beside us in the battlefield of the movement. Those exploited women of Sonamukhi who were brought into the battlefield of our movement and whose consciousness was raised with the help of Umada, are now organizing meetings and rallies to protect their own dignity. 35,000-40,000 women rallied to Jhargram town and virtually closed down the town. This was possible due to the democratic manners, mass based works of Umakanto-dada. Whatever the police and the CPIM propagates and however much the newspapers and media keep parroting and spreading those lies, a leader who has been able to carve out history, would remain immortal in the hearts and minds of the exploited and oppressed adivasi, mulvasi people..
|My husband was killed because he protested against the atrocitiesShe was unaware of her husband, Umakanto Mahato’s death till Friday morning. Like every other day, she sent her only son, 5and1/2-year-old Adrikanto Mahato off to the KG-1 class of the local nursery school. At eight in the morning on Friday, neighbors came over to inform that Umakanto’s bullet-ridden body is lying in the forests of Naruda-Purulia. Umakanto’s wife Sabita broke down into tears holding her 6th grade daughter Anusree Mahato and 4th grade daughter Rajasree Mahato close to her. Sitting in their house in Bankshol village, a helpless Sabita said, “My husband was the only anti-CPIM person in this village. When everybody else was working for the CPIM, he did not. Rather, he used to stand up against the injustice and atrocities committed by the CPIM. He used to protest. He used to vote for the Trinamool Congress. Even after repeated raids in our house, they were not able to draw him to their party. On the 9th of June 2009, the Jhargram police arrested him for leading a movement against pollution. I was arrested on the 11th of June, 2009 for an alleged murder case. I was out on bail after 14 days on the 25th of June. He was still in custody. After receiving bail on the 30th of January, 2010, he could stay at home only for two days.” Sabita continued to say that after he was released, the joint forces used to raid their house every day. “My husband could not stay at home dreading those raids. My husband is not a Maoist.” Sabita was enraged at the police for labeling Umakanto as a Maoist. She went on saying, “The day the Gyaneshwari accident occurred, he was at home. He is not involved in the incident in no manner. CBI has brought false charges against him. Do you become a Maoist just by standing up against the atrocities of the CPIM? I am proud to be the wife of Umakanto Mahato. I feel fortunate to be the wife of a human being like him. He died by being shot by the police for fighting for his country. He is a martyr. I would live the rest of my life as the wife of the valiant martyr Umakanto Mahato. I will complain to the administrator and ask for justice, why was he shot dead. If the administrator hands over his body after the post-mortem, I will perform his last rights.” Sabita also mentioned, “On Thursday, around four in the afternoon he came home. Everybody asked him how he was doing. Our elder daughter Anusree was playing out in the field, he asked her to get inside soon. He left after this without saying anything else. On Friday morning, I kept calling him when I heard from other people – he did not pick up the phone. By then it was all over. I have no idea how I would run this family of three daughters, one son and two aged parents-in-laws.” Umakanto’s elderly father Shambhunath Mahato and mother Sukhirani Mahato said that their elder son Manoranjan Mahato is an employee in the Air Force at Hansimara. He visits them once every year. Younger son Umakanto Mahato was a Madhyamik (10th grade final) graduate. He was in the trading of cashew, leaves and vegetables. Shambhunath Babu’s two daughters, Basanti Mahato and Malati Mahato are married off. Besides his business, Umakanto used to work in their agricultural field of eight bighas. Umakanto was known as the rebellious youth in the locality. Umakanto was not a Maoist, he was associated with the People’s committee. The police shot him dead. “There wasn’t any gun battle in the forests of Naruda-Purulia”, accused Umakanto’s father Shambhunath Mahato. Expressing his grudge against the police, Shambhunath mentioned that the police and the harmad army used to raid his house regularly. In the end the police shot down Umakanto. Mantu Tudu, a resident of the Bankashol village said Umakanto was a good person; he used to help out others. “We have no clue why the police killed him”.|
Our dear comrade Umakanto is still alive in our hearts, people who are deprived, subjected to immense humiliation and have no rights or dignity. People whose mothers and sisters can be raped at will by the ‘bhadralok’ joint forces and the harmads. Irrespective of whether you speak for their rights and dignity, it is these downtrodden people who write history. And in this history, Umakanto’s name is etched in gold.
The Adivasis and Original Inhabitants have always been denied Human Rights
Nothing like human rights exists before or after the great Lalgarh struggle. By this time, Anuj Pandey even made an address in Dharampur after re-opening the party office. Of course, the Harmads still lack the guts to come here on their own; they came flanked by the joint forces of Manmohan-Chidambaram. The crux of his speech in Dharampur was that none except CPIM would be allowed to carry out political activities. After being chased out of their homes by the rebellious people, Anuj Pandey, Dalim Pandey and their associates have always been under the protective shields of the joint forces. Thus, joint forces camps are essentially safe havens for Anuj Pandey’s gangs. Will his writ start running again as it used to prior to 2008?
The forces that came with Anuj Pandey arrested our committee members, Raju and Joydeb. The police denied having arrested them. We staged protests, rallies, hunger strikes, sit-ins demanding that they should be produced in court. We informed the journalists so many times. But the government never came up with an answer. So we feared the worst and declared them as martyrs. Then in august, 240 days after they were arrested, the police presented them in Jhargram court but with different names. In the court, they claimed themselves as Raju and Joydeb. We don’t know what the respected judge had to say about it. The very little that we know about law teaches us that anybody arrested has to be produced in court within 24 hours. But who will deliver justice on the tremendous mental trauma that Raju and Joydeb’s families underwent in these 240 days, or the mental and physical atrocities that were inflicted upon the victims themselves? We urge you to think about the various malicious tactics that the government is employing to destroy the struggle of the people of Jangalmahal. Is it possible to challenge the government with any PIL or allegation of human-rights violation? The issue should not end with the eventual production of Raju and Joydeb in the court. It has a greater implication when we consider the general human rights situation in our state.
We shall present another example of violation of human rights in Jangalmahal. Soma Mandi is a Santhal, adivasi girl. May be she is a Maoist, but she was simply arrested and kept in custody for 4 months, beaten up, molested and then put up in court. She was taken to the villages in her area of political activity, made to beat up the villagers. After 4 months of torture, she was presented in front of the media and forced to tell made up stories. A ‘surrender’ drama was staged. It was widely advertised that a top Maoist woman commander has surrendered. Her name was changed to Shobha Mandi. But she was neither sent back to her home, nor to Jail; she was kept with the police. On 14th, CPI(Maoist) called for a Bandh demanding Soma’s release. We all know about this bandh. Soma’s mother and brother wrote letter to the rail-minister demanding that Soma be produced in court. A few newspapers published this letter. But after all this, if we still keep on listening to whatever the CPIM or the police have to say, then it will be a huge crime. It is surprising to find APDR and all other human rights are so silent about this. It is one thing that they do not support the politics of CPI(Maoist). But to do nothing about violation of a person’s rights is grossly unjust.
Everyone in Soma Mandi’s family is politically conscious. Her brother, Sanjay Mandi, was in the forefront of Nandigram struggle for 8 months before he was arrested along with two of his compatriots. All that BUPC did was to demand their release a couple of times, but nothing more. Soma’s father, Jamadar Mandi has also been sent to jail and later released. He has been most vocal about the anti-democratic role of the administration and the media. We believe that his political outlook, approach is worth emulating. State power always tries to strangle any disgruntled voice. It is up to us, people who talk about democracy, human rights to decide whether we will fight the battle against the laughable presentation of the Soma Mandi case. The strength of character that Jamadar Mandi has shown in this struggle of an individual can be appreciated from his own words –
All this is the handiwork of the police and the media owners and the correspondents want to increase their business by publishing these false spicy stories…Three four months ago we heard that (she)was arrested from Salboni. But she was not produced in any court after her arrest. What law gives police this power to not produce any one arrested in court for so long?” (Icore-Ekdin, 26-08-10)
In another interview to Ekdin news magazine on 30th August, he clearly stated that
Police has unlawfully detained Soma and has not produced her in court for 4 months. They have made her talk badly about Maoists…my elder son Subhas Mandi has written to the CM about this illegal detention .But even the CM did not listen to us. Now they are forcing her to surrender and show sympathy to our family. The police-administration, which has destroyed our family by labeling us as Maoists need not do us any favor. They have unjustly imprisoned my wife and me by claiming that we were part of peoples’ war. My elder son Subhas is absconding for a long time in fear of police harassment. Even my younger son Sanjay is sent to jail in the pretext of being Maoist. (Icore-Ekdin, 30-08-10).
He also said, “…there is no question of seeking police protection. There are ordinary people of the village who always help us in the time of need. They are always supportive of our family…” (Icore-Ekdin, 30-08-10).
The incidents mentioned above are not the only ones happening in Jangalmahal. This is the common fate of all who are opposed to the domination of the CPIM. The message that we want to send clearly is that not only are Soma’s rights being violated for being ‘Maoist’ but human rights of others are also violated regularly. It is remarkable that section 144 has been imposed in this region for such a length of time. However, CPIM does not have to worry about 144. Some of this news has already come out in the media. From ordinary meeting-processions to those with cadres bearing arms take place amidst protection of the joint forces. The armed ‘harmads’, teamed up with the forces have repeatedly attacked various parts of Jangalmahal throughout July-August and September. Susanta, Tapan, Sukur, Anuj, Dalim and others have unequivocally stated that they will take Lalgarh by force. And they are actually doing that. Despite the stories of ‘peoples’ resistance’ concocted by the likes of Biman Bose or Sitaram Yechury, any rational person can call off their bluff. And it is best not to talk about the lot of Police Super Manoj Verma, Praveen Tripathi or DG Bhupinder Singh. They would even shame the most servile sycophant. We humbly advise them to get rid of their uniform and become Alimuddin Street spokesmen. The joint forces and the harmads waged this armed campaign for 20-25 days. Even then they could not proceed in some areas. They have camped in strategic places and are waiting for the opportune moment to move forward. CPIM, having ruled the state for 34 years has amassed an army of trained cadres, belligerent party supporters from different parts of the state and a large number of hooligans and has let this army loose in Jangalmahal to attack villages after villages, loot them, kill the men and rape the womenfolk. Thankfully, this truth now lays bare open in front of the entire country. For this reason the likes of Chidambaram or Pranab Mukherjee talk in different voices. But note the shrewdness of the corporate lawyer Chidambaram – he assigned Buddhadeb the responsibility of investigating the harmad camps in Jangalmahal – the same person who is at the helm of this grand design of organizing, training and arming the harmads and assigning them the task of recovering lost land. It is as if the murderer is assigned the task of judging his own crime. Does the Home Minister think that the people of Jangalmahal or in fact entire West Bengal are fools? A section of the media highlighted this statement by the HM but they never cared to question the real intent of such a meaningless exercise. We want to ask whose rights are being protected in Jangalmahal today? We re-emphasize that the rights of the people of Jangalmahal have been neglected both before and after the 2008 Lalgarh revolt. The people of Kolkata and the suburbs have a very important role to play in this regard. If they want, they can unite people in another democratic movement to reclaim human dignity.
Prime Minister is avoiding the issue of harmad camps
On 6th of September when the forests of Jangalmahal was reverberating with the slogans of “Long live brave martyr Umakanto Mahato…..We will never forget you”, our Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met the journalists. He simply avoided any response when they asked him about armed harmad camps in Jangalmahal. However, this is not the first time that he has chosen to use silence to shield the wrong doings of CPIM in West Bengal. From Singur, Nandigram to Lalgarh, he has demonstrated his bankruptcy of values time and again. The Anandabazar correspondent from New Delhi on 7th September reports
Prime Minister keeps himself away from the controversy regarding armed camps in Jangalmahal. Sources in the government reports that if the PM had spoken out rightly against the camps, he would have pleased Mamata but made himself the target of CPIM’s attacks. This definitely was one of the reasons to maintain this silence. Further, even the government is divided on the necessity of these camps in Jangalmahal. Some feel that it is impossible to succeed in anti-Maoist operations without direct collaboration with local political groups. Thus, this collusion of central forces and the harmads is mandated by a part of the central government. There might be difference in opinion on how the two should operate but it has to be acknowledged that only with the involvement of CPIM workers has the joint forces been able to achieve some success in Jangalmahal. It has been able to establish authority all the way to Dharampur, the threshold of Lalgarh. By remaining silent on this issue, the PM essentially refused to reject the need for these camps, claims a section of the central bureaucrats. (source- Anandabazar Patrika, 7-9-10)
We did not expect that our PM would avoid such a critical issue. In the context of the huge uproar created jointly by BJP and the CPIM in the parliament regarding the 09-08-10 meeting held in Lalgarh, we sent an open letter to the PM. Hopefully you all have seen the letter. Even then, the letter is attached to this one as an annexure. We feel that if the PM chooses to shut his eyes and ears in the face of the tremendous atrocities committed by the joint forces commissioned by the Congress and the harmads owing allegiance to the CPIM, then whatever he says becomes insignificant. In recent past, he said, “Adivasis are my brothers and sisters”. And now he is sending armed forces to kill and rape them in West Bengal. A similar crisis has been created in neighboring Orissa, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. Another perplexing fact is that the government makes a lot of schemes and passes a fortune of bills all in the name of the poor Adivasis and the media covers them with due importance all over the country. But when it comes to the actual implementation, there is none. Nobody is interested in actually transforming the lives of the Adivasi people for good. And all this failure is attributed to the Maoist conspiracy. Excuse us, but this is the truth. Who is it to blame for the backwardness of the Adivasi in the last 64 years?
The Prime Minister, the Home Minister, our Chief Minister and many others have time and again empathized with the lot of the Adivasis. They try to impress people by shedding crocodile tears. And whenever the common move non-violently against social injustice, they are arrested or killed by the police. “Seven year old dies after coming to visit father in jail”, “Five more kids die out of hunger after father goes to jail” – this is the state of Adivasis in Orissa. These reports have come out in the mainstream news media and have not escaped our notice. Hopefully you have also read them. How should we react to the news of gross violation of rights of the human rights workers, arrest and murder of leaders of peoples’ movement by the state? If we do not register our protest then neither the PMO nor any other office will take note of these important issues. Rather, many more new cases will be registered in the coming days, new legislations will be brought in and any one questioning these undemocratic moves will be convicted in false charges. The PM’s stance is essentially that of Chidambaram. We repeat that the Congress-CPIM have jointly rendered the lives of the people of Jangalmahal a hell. We urge you once again to look at this more intently.
From Nandigram to Lalgarh, Congress has always stood beside the armed cadres of CPIM
The armed recovery of land in Nandigram led by the CPIM was named ‘Sunrise’. What is happening in Lalgarh is essentially ‘Salwa Judum’ in CPIM model. Salwa Judum was led by Congress-BJP in Chhattisgarh. In West Bengal, it is led by Congress-CPIM.
|Seven-month old baby dies while visiting jailed father (source: Anandabazar Patrika, 07.09.2010)
Pitas Oraon, incarcerated in Rourkela special jail could not even know that his seven-month-old baby had passed away. With mother, grandmother and some other villagers the baby girl was on its way to meet the father. Being from the dirt-poor family she succumbed to the exhaustion of the journey. Today Jisbis Oraon could not meet her husband in spite of all her efforts. Rourkela police hurried the family and sent it along with thirty other families back to home by bus.
About eight months ago Orissa police arrested 87 people from Sillipunji village, which is near the Champaran forest of Sundargarh district on suspicion of being dreaded Maoist fighters. Police and administration claim all of them are involved in more than one incident of Maoist sabotage. They also suspect they are in some way or other involved in the murder of police inspector Ajit Bardhan. Eight months have passed, the allegations have not been proved, yet these 87 people are spending their time behind bars. Human rights organizations of the state claim they are incarcerated without trial.
Fact is, families of all these 87 people from Champajharan area are facing extremely hard time for last eight months. All of them are tribal and poor. In most cases the arrested people were the sole breadwinners of the family. As they have been put in custody source of income has dried up for the families. They are starving or in a state of semi-starvation. Let alone milk, not even bare morsels are available to the babies. When sick no food is available. Five babies have died in last eight months from starvation. Today one more name was added to the list.
Wives and other family member could not meet them in jail for a long time. Around 30 housewives went to Rourkela from Sillipunji village to meet their husbands. There were many elderly ladies, mothers, and mother-in-laws. Children even. Jisbin, wife of Pitas, was in the group, with a sick baby and mother-in-law. They had planned to meet the police super and enquire why these people had been jailed for days on end. None of the hopes were fulfilled. For Jisbin aside from not being able to meet her husband she now has lost the child. The Rourkela police sent back the grief stricken group to Sillipunj on a bus.
The 29th August Daily Statesman (Bengali) had as its headline – “Strong measures will be taken if Harmad Camps are not removed from Jangalmahal – Mamata”.
Again on 4th September, the same paper mentions – “Mamata demands Center’s intervention to recover illegal arms”.
This apart, Mamata has talked to the PM, the HM, the FM and the UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi so many times about the Harmad Camps in Jangalmahal. But what is the net effect of all this empty talk? CPIM has only sharpened its attacks. Mamata Banerjee and Pranab Mukherjee started a new controversy by announcing that Home minister will give a statement based on the Governor’s report.
The Home ministry receives IB report every month. The newspaper Pratidin even published the 10th April 2010 IB report on 12th april. Everyone has read this report by now. But to what avail? It appears that continuing operations in Jangalmahal by keeping Harmads in the frontline of attack seems to be the UPA policy. This has become very clear after the approach of the Prime Minister on 6th September. In spite of this why is Mamata Banerjee seeking help of the central government? Is she diverting people’s attention to something which is never possible? She must answer this question.
The question which is bothering the people of Jangalmahal is how could Anuj Pandey return to Dharampur? This is the same Anuj Pandey whose palatial house was demolished 498 days ago, whose party office was demolished. If state power, UPA government had not directly sided by him Anuj Pandey could not have moved an inch. He would not have mastered guts to throw challenge to capture Lalgarh. From day one in the name of combating Maoists Chidambaram is for continuing operations with help of harmads. If we forget this we shall forget the whole context. This is the reason why CPM and Congress cannot be seen separately. Local Congress leaders sometimes speak against the CPM. But none gives them any importance. If anyone had any illusion over the democracy practiced by Chidambaram-Manmohan-Buddhadeb, time is now to do away with it. We released a statement few days back: who will bell the cat? The answer is, the people. (We don’t know if you have received it, we are sending it once more.)
A Few Words on Our Martyrs:
Jamadar Baske, father of martyr Sidhu Soren, says, “The government has not done anything for us. There is no irrigation; forget thrice we cannot cultivate even twice a year. Nobody cares how we live. My son fought for the good of all. CPM people had threatened us many times, ‘If we catch hold of your son we shall finish him off.’ All these days we knew he was alive. Now he is no more. Now CPM goons will come and thrash us. …We shall take up bow and arrow to survive.”
Father of Umakanto Mahato, Jamadar Mahato, says, “My son is not a criminal. He used to stand by the poor.”
Partner of Umakanto-da, Sabita Didi tell us, “I am proud to be his wife. I consider myself lucky. He was killed by police bullet when he was fighting for the country. He is a martyr. I shall live the rest of my life as a martyr’s wife.”
The courage with which two fathers, Lokkhimoni Ma, Sabita didi made their emotions known has touched the heart of every one in Jangalmahal. People of Jangalmahal will not bow their head today. They will walk on the path of struggle against oppression shown by the martyrs. Many more are becoming martyrs, our list is growing.
On 16-8-10 new names were added in the list. Kshitish Mahato, 50 years of age, village Kolaiboni. His father is an old man, 90 years old. He is a communist and revolutionary – did not side with any fake Marxists. Since he is a Maoist, at present he is locked up in fake Marxist Buddhadeb’s jail. Kshitish Mahato used to idolize his father. To harmads this is a cardinal sin.
Kshitish Mahato was associated with the construction of 12-bed hospital by the PCAPA at Paluiboni. After the MLA and police camps of Sitanathpur were evacuated, from February to June 2010 many development activities under the guidance of PCAPA were launched. Kshitish Mahato was involved in them. On 16-08 harmads from the Sitanathpur base camps beat him to death. The murder was committed under the leadership of Shyam Pandey, Salboni zonal secretary of CPM. No FIR was registered, forget arrests. This is how the CPM fascist rule has gone on for 34 years.
On 25th July CPM released a handbill, calling for a procession to open the Chandra local party office. Since then the whole area has turned into a battlefield. From the joint force camps of Chandra, Dherua and other places police launch their assault on villages, arrest our workers and supporters. They set up the Chandra and Chanipur camp with 100-150 harmads. There are three other camps beside this. From this place to Malbandhi CPM will try to capture the entire area. Leadership was given by Anuj Pandey of CPM and Santosh Rana, MLA of CPI. From 15th July to 7th September firing, bomb blasts are going on. Besides harmads, the joint forces of Manmohan-Chidambaram-Pranab-Buddha are participating. This is their red army. When harmads are on the retreat, joint forces are launching attack on villages. Joint forces are comfortable with any rounds of firing done by harmads. When villagers resist these firing joint forces will descend to arrest and beat up en masse. Arrested would be booked under false charge that bomb, pistols, mines were recovered from them. They threaten that arrests will be made if there are firing in a locality, and shamelessly they openly say if anybody stands against harmad attack he would be taken into custody. But this is a stronghold of Maoists. They resisted. As a result the situation is tense day and night.
After they captured Malbandhi the harmads established a base camp there in the first week of August. 250-300 harmads are staying there. Additional harmads and police from Enayetpur, Kongsaboti, and Bagherpukur used to be deployed there regularly. Yet they could not capture the area. Especially the Jotdars of Chandabila who form the backbone of CPM in this region, their lands were distributed by the people in July. There have been 12-13 skirmishes in this area between the two sides to reestablish the hold of Jotdars.
On 16-08-10 many students, guardians, teachers took out a procession from Malbandhi to Chandra. They raised voice against the oppression. This was not tolerated. The harmads fired on the procession. Three students were abducted. In protest we took out a procession of 10000 students in Jhargram and Shikkhayatan. They raised slogans against harmad atrocities, demanded for camps in schools, colleges to be disbanded. Was it an unjustified demand? All student-senstive teachers, non-teaching staff, students, youth, other civil society people from all walks of life would support the demands. Human rights of students, student rights, democratic rights don’t exist in Jangalmahal. Since joint forces and harmads have been perpetrating atrocities, camps have been established in school-college premises, along with deterioration of education atmosphere, mentally the students are a disturbed lot.
On 20-08 harmads returned for another assault. On that day Khuki Mahato (55) was shot dead when she was working in the field. They ransacked the village. In protest against the killing of Kshitish and Khuki Mahato, to stop atrocities of joint forces and harmads we gave calls for no cooking (24th), protest day (25th), bandh (26th).
In the middle of attacks, firing by harmads and joint forces, bomb throwing, loot our program became a success. Lodhashuli, Salboni, Kotowali, Belpahari, Binpur, Bandowan, Manikpara, Nayagram, Gopiballavpur, Jhargram, Ranibandh, Raipur, Balarampur, Ajodhya, Jhalda were heavily affected, many people gathered in our programs. It is however admitted, compared to June-July, 2010 people of 50-60 villages from Goaltor, Salboni region could not participate in high number. Reason is harmads assisted by joint forces of Manmohan-Chidambaram-Pranab are camping in these villages. Without the sophisticated weapon wielding massive forces of Manmohan-Chidambaram-Pranab, the harmad bahini of Dipak-Sushanta-Tapan-Sukur would not have dared to set foot in Goaltor. This is the lumpen politics of CPM, it is continuing with the blessing of Congress government at the centre. This is the fact, irrespective of what the railway minister says.
Other names have added to the list of martyrs. We are sending a list of martyrs with this article. The Ganoprotirodh Committee following a plan by the CPIM and the police murdered four movement activists in Barikul police station area. They were Hemik Murmu (22), Laxmikanta Hansda (26), Sujit Giri (38), Sanjib Garai (30).
Prabir Murmu of youth organization of Majhi Marwa murdered Bhairab Murmu (30). There is a self-proclaimed adivasi-development man, a policeman who is close to Mantu Marshall. He has a relative in Bandowan village. He started anti-people activities, molestation here. On 10th June the people of Mantu Marshall abducted two women from Namopara of Harda village. Their trace is yet to be found. A spokesman of our organization, Lochan Singh Sardar, was arrested from Kondapura village of Belpahari in May. The housewife (26) of the house he was living in was beaten up severely by joint forces. In spite of medical treatment she did not survive, she died on 10th August. Who will answer why joint forces murdered this woman after Lochan had been captured? By killing the 26-year-old housewife Ganaprotirodh committee, police, harmads sent a message to the people whomever stands against atrocities will meet the same fate. But local people were not cowered by the politics of murder. More people joined the movement.
CPM, Congress, BJP, BJD, RJD: all ruling class parties, whatever is the color of their flag, do not hesitate to butcher common people in large number. None will forget the massacre perpetrated by the Congress in Bengal in 1970s. Who will forget Shikh riot, Bhagalpur riot of Congress? Thousands of people of Kashmir are fighting for a just cause and their meetings, processions are being fired upon in Kashmir, what does this indicate? Chief minister Oman Abdullah, home minister Chidambaram is wholly responsible for this carnage. On firing upon meeting, processions the ruling class parties which are in power in the states and centers have shown greater capacity for cruelty than the British imperialists. The government wants to vilify the people’s movement there, it does not want to listen to their just demands. That is why after spreading canards that the movement is a handiwork of Pakistan and terrorists severe clampdown is imposed. Military is sent in, curfew is declared, human rights robbed. Painting people terrorists, secessionists, extremists to suppress any people’s movement has become a familiar tactic of central and state governments. We believe that the long-standing demand for Azad Kashmir of Kashmiri people is legitimate. We express our solidarity to people’s movements which have cropped up involving the youths of Kashmir and people from all walks of life. The way they are braving bullets is an ideal for us. We need to take lessons from this.
A few days back Mahasweta Devi said, to host Jindals and other corporates, adivasis of Jangalmahal are being beheaded. This is correct. Attack on people is increasing in more ominous ways. Our fight is against this. Many of our comrades were martyred, many got wounded. Future will decide if their sacrifice was correct or not.
We fail to understand how faith in the democracy, judicial system that you talk of can take root in Jangalmahal. We have communicated to you whatever we could. We have read writings of many friends in newspapers and other journals. But at this juncture, we feel a void in the movement of progressive intellectuals and mass organizations in Bengal. You may accept or reject the mode of struggle of our martyrs. You may have reservations over the face of our movement. But please consider the message sent by martyrs through supreme sacrifice.
Struggle to Retrieve the Dead Bodies of our Martyrs:
West Bengal is the site to many struggle for human rights, democratic movements, numerous people, organizations, intellectuals, NGOs, progressive organizations are there. Given this, we did not imagine we would have to fight so much to recover dead bodies of poor adivasis. Perhaps this was our own fault. But we hope we would recover from this weakness. Earlier we raised the issue of non-retrieval of Bhagaban Lalmohan Tudu’s dead body. We did not understand what legal struggle did you launch. We demanded for return of dead bodies to martyr Sidhu Soren, joint secretary of Sidhu Kane People’s militia, along with dead bodies of other militia members. We want pay our last respect to them. We warn the government not to play with dead bodies. We tell the same thing to Mamata Banerjee and other organizations also. But none paid us any heed. We shall be forced to take the road which will give us back the bodies of slain comrades. But the law or human rights that you swear by, civil rights on which CPI, RSP, Forward Bloc, SUCI, Congress, Jharkhand parties wax eloquent what happened to them? What did we get from 64 years of freedom? We have not been able to master the courage demonstrated by the two Jamadar fathers (fathers of Sidhu and Umakanto) or Sabita didi. The Jangalmahal people are more embattled but they have not bowed their head to the tyrant. Taking lessons from the fight of martyrs, people from new regions are going forward.
What Report did Usha Naidu Submit to Rahul Gandhi
Usha Naidu, leader of all India Youth Congress, member of Rahul’s young brigade, cried with our raped, molested mothers and sisters of Sonamukhi. She made big promise that she would give all reports to Rahul Gandhi. She would launch protest program in front of Jhargram SDO. But Youth Congress did not do any such thing. The leader was attacked in Khejuri. Time went by. Usha Naidu returned to Calcutta many times over, her leader Rahul Gandhi also did. Rahul Gandhi promised that he would come many times more, will learn Bengali, Congress workers would get tired of his visits. He was to visit on 14-16 September. But he did not utter a single word on Sonamukhi rapes. This is the politics of Youth Congress. For the sake of next elections Sonia Gandhi had to sing the “ban joint force” tune. The Sonamukhi women are however no longer the docile housewives. In fighting for their honor they have themselves become the symbol of struggle. We did not expect that they themselves would form the Save Women’s Honor Committee. It is for Usha Naidu to decide what all India programs she would take up to save women’s honor in West Bengal and India. But would she ever look in the direction of poor girls of Sonamukhi? The women of Jangalmahal are not from affluent houses, so none will care for them. Realizing this poor women themselves took out a procession of 35-40 thousands in Jhargram. They have kept up the protest. We shall march on by their side.
On Police and the CPM Slave Prabir Murmu
Few days back leader of Jaowan Gnaota Prabir Murmu made a statement, adivasi community would not take atrocities meted to them lying down. Hearing this we began to hope that he would stand for the adivasi community. Alas, he started acting in the opposite direction. He started killing adivasi activists. Actually he made those statements just to hide the crimes.
In our last letter we made clear that anti-adivasi, anti-people activities have been going on in towns of Jangalmahal such as Radhanagar, Ramchandrapur under the leadership of Nityananda Hembram, Prabir Murmu since November-December 2008. When Lalgarh revolt was about to progress Nityananda Hembram sided with the government and started opposing the movement. But his stance was not acceptable to the adivasi community, and so he was forced to give statements in favor of the movement for a few days. We treated him positively at that time. We kept a positive relation with Prabeer Murmu at that time too. Mantu Marshall did not openly sided with the CPM and the police in the middle of 2009 – he was keeping secret links. In December 2008 Prabir, Nityananda, Mantu Marshall met the sub divisional administrator of Jamboni area, Israel, together and spoke against the movement and the siege. They fought with the activists. Activists resisted. Subsequently although Nityananda and Prabeer backtracked, Nityananda started giving clandestine assistance to CPM and Ganapratirodh Committee.
For last few months Nityananda has been issuing statements and launching activities against the PCAPA by putting Prabir in front. Nityanada and Prabir, these two so-called adivasi leaders have allied with the CPM and police, they have been purchased, they have taken arms from them. They have forgotten the cause of adivasis. From Radhanagar to Ramchandrapur Prabir has been perpetrating anti-people, anti-adivasi activities. On 25.08.10 Prabir Murmu with his accomplices killed Bhairab Murmu in his own village. Bhairabda was adivasi, why was he killed by Prabir? It did not stop there. 4000-5000 people spontaneously blocked the national highway for 5-6 hours on 26th August carrying the dead body of Bhairabda. They did not have any banners, no party or PCAPA had organized this. The decadent, anti-adivasi identity of Prabir Murmu became once again clear to the people: with his henchmen he started firing on the procession. After the procession refused to subside he had to retreat. Later he made false statements that he did not commit this murder, he went to the extent to demanding CBI, CID enquiry.
We had requested Prabir many times not to carry on with his anti-people activities, not perpetrate anti-adivasi acts with his adivasi organizations, not to side with the CPM and police. Police and CPM have always fought adivasis with adivasis and enjoyed the show from sidelines, they have always deprived and cheated us. We asked him to apologies to the adivasi community and join the positive works for the community. We requested him not to slave for the police and CPM. But he did not listen to us.
On 27-08 10000 activists took out a procession in Boitat under PCAPA. They condemned the murderous politics of Prabir, his anti-people activities.
Harmad Attack Intensified
On 9th August the meeting organized by “Anti-Atrocity Democratic Platform” in Lalgarh turned out to be a success. From our organization thousands of activists took part, causing major headache to CPM. Medinipur district was encircled and massive operations were launched. Centering Chandra new camps were set up. Bandhmore, Joypur, Pirakata, Malbandhi were captured and camps were set up. Joint forces accompanied the harmads. Sidu-Kanu people’s militia resisted all these assaults of harmads. If harmads were unsuccessful to penetrate, joint forces would enter the village and our members, activists of Sidhu Kanu militia were arrested.
On 20-08 they killed Khuki Mahato. We organized meetings, processions for three days. Afterwards joint forces entered the village and picked up 23 people.
On 23-08 joint forces entered Kalsibhanga. Before this the harmads tried to enter Patri, Kalsibhanga, Majurkata, Jamshol, Payrasholi, Budhipila. A 300 strong harmad force went from Jora to Dakkhinshol to Nonashol, Bhagbandi. They tried to advance further but were blocked. In this resistance three harmads were killed, three were injured. At this time from the joint force camp of Mopala, Changashol, Patharkumkum, and from the Medinipur head quarters, a large contingent of police force started attack. But people did not retreat. The police super Manoj Verma, Deepak Sarkar, Anuj Pandey, Sushanta Ghosh, Tapan, Sukur sat together and planned where joint forces would enter, when harmads would step in.
On 22-08 joint forces encircled Patri and Kalsibhanga. At that time our Sidu-Kanu people’s militia and people resisted. Police fired 100-150 rounds. In Kalsibhanga bazar they picked up seven businessmen and told everyone that they have arrested hardcore Maoists. Truth is none of them is Maoist, they are not even members of our organization. In many place Maoist party resisted joint forces.
This is not the end. On 23-08 we took out a procession in Payrashuli with 1500-2000 people. People from some villages had to flee their home. Youths had to leave. On 24-08 harmad forces attacked and captured 7-8 villages. Police did not accompany them. There were 500-600 armed harmads, 400-500 lathi wielding CPM supporters collected from a number of places were in the rear. Harmads opened fire and progressed from Buripal. Their firepower was much more stronger than the firepower of resisting people.
At present the harmad slogan is, ‘if you kill them (us) you get 3 lakhs, whatever you loot is yours.’ The harmads announced that the village from which attack is launched, every household of the village has to contribute 500 rupees, and those whose names are there in their list have to pay 20000-100000 rupees. It is very common to lift goats, pigs, chickens from houses. They siege the village and ask them to surrender. If they don’t surrender, the harmads threaten, they would be butchered, confined. Male-less, youth-less villages surrendered. Harmads ransacked the villages. Houses, shops were torched, looting went on. This operation is armed operation according to Sushanta Ghosh, Anuj Pandey; Gano-pratirodh (people’s resistance) according to Biman-Karat. A part of the media called is Gano-pratirodh, while another reported that harmads were capturing villages in Maoist style. For 20-25 days bomb throwing, firing went on. Police super, Manoj Verma, a known CPM-slave said the police do not know a thing. They don’t have any report of the incident. None reported anything to the police.
We present below some routes through which harmad bahini launched it attacks.
From Pirakata through Buripal to Kalisbhanga
Chandra – Malbandhi – Dherua – Dharampur
Radhanagar – towards Boita
Kangsabati riverbank – area of Chandikaran
Jora – Dakkhinshol to Bhagbandi
Jaipur – Bhatmor
Salboni 5th area to Pirakuli
Bhimarjun – Bnashpahari – advancing towards Chakadoba
Goaltore – Ramgarh Road
From other camps harmads attacked nearby villages to capture them. Sidu-Kanu people’s militia resisted the armed area capture operation to its utmost.
You are aware during the “Surjyoday (sunrise)” episode harmads set up many bunkers and base camps and launched their attack. For a long time from Alimuddin, from Gopalan Bhawan continuous threats were issued that they would capture Nandigram through assault. In September, October, November they finally attacked. We don’t want to enter the debate if peaceful or armed struggle were there, how the fight was between the two sides etc. But what is clear: the fight of two to two and half years did not end in Jangalmahal in May-September 2010. The fight is going on, it will go on. It will continue to the next election and even after that. Because as we have said, through this operation state power, organized armed power of fascist CPM got together to attack, oppress, murder common people. Taking the people by our side we resisted and defeated the attacks. After that Manmohan-Chidambaram-Pranab raised the strength of their force with a bigger police force of Buddha, trained the harmads and attacked us with all their might. CPM is desperate to capture 41 MLA seats of Jangalmahal. This is the reason behind the brutal attack. For self-defense we have been resisting, the resistance continues. In this connection how our friends have protested the attack of harmads and joint forces, we don’t want to raise those questions, we don’t want answers to them. Many debates are going on, many discussions are taking place over the correctness of Maoist tactics, or if we are aimless or if we have become Maoists. We at present don’t want to answer them. Future will tell us. Writings which are coming out on our struggle will stay, they will not disappear.
We want to relate few incidents, without which our communication will be incomplete. One, on 23rd August general secretary of CPM Prakash Karat and top leader Mohd. Selim held a press conference in Srinagar. They demanded a stop to CRPF firing on Kashmiri people. They were right. Our question is, do they protest when their harmad bahini, Gano-pratirodh committee, Anuj Pandey, Dalim Pandey, minister Sushanta Ghosh, state committee member Dipak Sarkar, infamous Tapan, Sukur, party MLA Amar Basu, Dahareshwar Sen launch armed attack with CRPF forces? They are killing people of Jangalmahal everyday, beating them up, torching houses, looting, raping, firing on people’s precession, even on students, arresting. Everybody starting from police super, additional police super, IG, DIG, CID to different officers are their own people, which is why they are keeping mum. Is the terror campaign they have launched with Congress justified? Hail the democracy a la Prakash Karat and Mohd Selim! To get Muslim votes in 2011 assembly elections these people are opposing firing of CRPF on Kashmiri people. This is the bankrupt politics of fake Marxist CPM.
Second, on 23rd August there was a bloody battle between Congress and CPM over school governing committee elections in Murshidabad. 10 people were killed, 5 were injured (5 killed according to government reports, 10 injured with 5 in serious conditions). Whose interests were served? Is this not violence? Non-violent Congress party is setting laudable examples of non-violent passive resistance.
Arm cache was recovered from a TMC leader’s house in Nanur. From a CPM leader’s house the next day. Evidently TMC, CPM, Congress all are preaching peace in Nanur. Yet, how come so many people from both sides are getting killed, so many houses are set on fire? Who will answer? There are killings in Jangalmahal too. Maoists are owning responsibility for their operations, and explaining the reasons. But murders by CPM in Jangalmahal, or murders by CPM, TMC, Congress outside of Jangalmahal will never be admitted by those parties. Neither do the media raise questions, except recording incidents. Everyone is silent, big leaders are more so. Mamata Banerjee says she opposes politics of killing. Manas, Buddha, Rahul all agree. This is the true face of 64-year-old democracy of India. Murders by constitutional parties, by the state are legal.
On the arrest of Manoj Mahato, Bibhuti Mahato, drama of surrender of others, and our various weaknesses:
After martyr Sidhu Soren was killed in July Manoj Mahato and Tota Hembram were elected as the new secretary and supreme commander.
On 3-09-10 joint forces arrested Manoj Mahato from his house while he was taking tea. Earlier at 3-4 AM they had raided his houses, Manoj was not there, he was sleeping elsewhere. The news of his arrest spread, got published in newspapers. Yet police super Manoj Verma did not admit it. Later he gave a statement that he was captured from the jungle on 4th. All responsible newspaper which always waxes eloquent on justice printed this version. Judge in the court listened, and knowing all, did not reprimand the police let alone taking any action. Manoj Verma is nothing but a reliable secret cadre of CPM party, he says everything he is told to say. Poor Verma! People of Bengal have known these things for long. Slapping false cases, spreading false news: police supers of Medinipur and Jhargram compete with each other. They fight to earn the faith of Dipak and Biman.
Due to martyrdom of Bhagoban Lalmohan Tudu, Sidhu Soren, Umakanto Mahato and others and arrest of Chhatradhar Mahato, Khagen Mahato, Manoj Mahato and many leaders and workers our committee has become a little weak. Many active workers became inactive. At this time other workers, leadership at second and third levels, leadership at branch and local levels evolved as the top-level leadership. We are aware all this is natural during struggle, they will happen in future also.
After joint forces descended on us in June 2009 the operations have not subsided. As time went by, scale of operation, intensity of atrocities has reached new heights. Central government launched operation green hunt when joint force operations were going on. They attacked the border regions of Jharkhand, Orissa many times. As a result some left the organization, some decided to quit. Bibhuti Mahato was one of them. Bibhuti was not a Maoist, he is local leader of our committee in Bhulabheda area. Police sieged his house many times to apprehend him. They beat up family members. Yet he did not surrender. In Belpahari region Jagannath, Lochan and other leaders got arrested. Bibhuti weakened due to unrelenting state terror. The police arrested him.
Now it has become an absolute necessity for the police and the chief minister to campaign that their policy of surrendering militants is becoming successful. They want to project it big. So they put a gun in Bibhuti’s hand, and campaigned that Bibhuti is a leader of Maoist party of Madan Mahato squad, that he is hardcore Maoist. This drama of surrender was staged in front of media. Police review committee will decide if police will give surrender package to Bibhuti. Before Bibhuti police campaigned in Shobhan Karak’s name who is from Goaltor. He had left PCAPA one year earlier. For last 8 months police kept calling him up and explained the script of surrender to him. We have talked about Shobha Mandi already. Please do not get misled by the campaign that through surrender package police are arresting hardcore Maoists, many of them are harmads in disguise. All this drama is for the sake of next elections.
Nayagram, Jhargram – whatever be the name – people’s struggle for resolving people’s problems is ongoing!
At this moment people will not sit quiet if harmads or any body else attack them. People’s movement will erupt wherever there is oppression. This may be in the form of meetings, rallies, processions, sloganeering. The protest will go on. CPM and administration will not sit back quietly. So even if section 144 is implemented here all around, CPM will go on in its machination in police protection. Although they will not allow people, people’s force cannot be stopped. This is the effect of Lalgarh revolt and consciousness arising out of political movement.
Joint forces arrested Lakkhiram Soren, Sitaram Murmu, Utpal Nayek, Dhananjay Hansda on 13-08-10 on charges of being hardcore Maoist. Toiling poor masses consolidated and unitedly protested for their release. People did not accept the arrests. They raised banners and protests started, there were thousand of men and women. As they were poor, toiling protesting people, police thought them to be Maoists. Atrocities were unleashed. This is the first time we saw, no matter how much the administration oppressed, revolt went on rising further instead of going down. More the atrocities, more protest.
We end our letter, although we could not systematically put our points. We could not furnish all the data and analysis. We hope you would accept this letter just like those before. Keep faith on the deprived-oppressed people of Jangalmahal. We are not quitting the battlefield, nor will. Why and where shall we go? This is where we were born, this earth, trees, air, each leaf of each tree, each drop of water in the river: all is ours. Our martyrs’ blood has intermingled in all this. Fighting the terror of the state and harmads we have learned how to protest and resist. We realized our mistakes, we have seen attacks of harmads, learned form them. CPM threats have taught us too. Thoughts and plans of protest, resistance are still alive among our people. Listen to our song … of protest, of resistance coming from the Sal forest. Come, join us in a unison,
In the shrubs of Sal forest
A hidden fire is burning
Listen carefully o forest dwellers
Atrocities on women
Cries from every home
Police, military shoot in mother’s chest
This government is women-oppressor.
Tota Hembram – Supreme Commander
Balaram Hansda – Deputy Commander
Joyram Baske, Ajit Mahato, Chunilal Mahato – Spokesperson
Asit Mahato – Chief spokesperson
Gopal Pratihar – Martyr Department
Santosh Mahato – Health Department
Respected Prime Minister,
Coming August 9, railway minister Mamata Banerjee, Swami Agnivesh, Medha Patkar, Sujata Bhadra, Joy Goswami and several other eminent persons in fields of human rights from across India are going to attend a program under the banner of Lalgarh Santrash Birodhi Mancha (Forum Against Atrocites in Lalgarh). We on behalf of People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCPA) are also going to participate in the program. For the past two days MPs and state level leaders of CPI(M) are campaigning that you have mentioned that “PCPA’s participation in the rally is unfortunate”! Yet, even after 48 hours your office has not come out with a statement, and people are still waiting to hear what you have to say.
The newly elected state secretary Manash Bhuiya have clearly mentioned on August 5 that PCPA is not a banned organization, so our attending the program is not a crime. We hope this matter has not escaped your attention
Respected Prime Minister,
Why is the CPI(M) creating so much fuss about this rally? Their claim that they have brought peace and normalcy to the region does not bear any truth. The CPI(M) is carrying out violent atrocities with its armed cadres (in Bengal they are better know as harmad). In the past one and a half year, face with the heat of the movement, the leaders and harmads of CPI(M) had fled the villages. Recently they have put up more than 100 harmad camps in around Lalgarh and from there they are carrying out attacks in Jangalmahal with the help of state and central paramilitary forces. Even outside Jangalmahal, murder of political activists of all small and large parliamentary parties is quite common. Even AICC appointed member Keshab Rao categorically mentioned that the CPI(M) have murdered at least 48,000 people in this state. You know this well, and are also well aware of the happenings at Nandigram but could not speak out as CPI(M) was part of UPA-1. The government led by you have time and again send paramilitary forces to the state which has been used to carry out atrocities on the people, but CPI(M) leaders like Basudeb Acharya, Pulin Bihari Baskey, Sitaram Yechuri, Shyamal Chakravarti and Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya have described such atrocious incidents as “return of peace and normalcy”.
The people of Bengal have stood up against these atrocities by CPI(M), in fact our organization PCPA is born out of protest against police atrocities, that is why, our participation in the forthcoming rally along with other dissenting forces is of utmost importance and justified. If the3 people see the camps surrounding Lalgarh, they will at once understand the respect of the CPI(M) for the constitution. For the past one year the CPI(M) led government has not allowed anyone to visit this place. We do not know what has been communicated to you, but governor MK Narayanan is well informed of the harmad camps.
We on behalf of our organization would like to tell you:
1. Dialogue should be started with us.
2. The Forum against atrocities will remain and the movement against CPI(M)’s atrocities will continue.
3)To implement the measures for adivasis, the joint paramilitary forces must be withdrawn. The harmads should be reigned and violence committed by any side must end.
4) To bring peace to Jangalmahal, the accused CPI(M) leaders, cadres, police officers and other perpetrators must be brought to book.
5) Many of our leaders supporters, adivasi and other people of the region are being tortured in prisons by the CPI(M). They must be unconditionally released.
Respected Prime Minister,
We hope you will without delay look into this matter, and will play a role in solving the same. Two sets of law, one for CPI(M) and another for other parties must end. Apart from that the section 144, enforced for too long must at once be revoked and everyone should be allowed to carry out rally and demonstrations.
August 8, 2010.
Who will bell the Cat? The government or the people?
The people will, through people’s courts.
-governor MK Narayanan
-Central Home Minister P. Chidambaram
-CRPF DIG Alok Raj
-Unified Command of four states formed under Prime Minister
-special forces led by DIG (ops) Ajay Nanda
-self proclaimed ‘neutral’ Chief Secretary Samar Ghosh
-Congress Party High Command
-Home Secretary of India GK Pillai
-CPI General Secretary AB Bardhan
-MPs attending monsoon session
-IG (law and order) Surajit Kar Purakayastha
Because they did not carry out their constitutional duty, people will bell the mercenaries
Since the commencement of the Lalgarh rebellion the CPI(M) leaders and their mercenaries (harmad) fled the villages. Activities like murder, rape, corruption, intimidation, forced prevention of agriculture and labor, land occupation, loot, arson and other terrorizing activities came under control. But soon the state and district leadership of CPI(M) started to reorganize, led by Susanta Ghosh, Dahareswar Sen, Dipak Sarkar, Amiya Patra and others. Soon hundreds of new arms were gathered, base camps were set up and the harmads were transformed into a trained force. With regular planning and inputs from the local and state level police, the mercenary camps have been set up adjacent to the CRPF camps and from there they have been carrying out attacks to capture villages for the past year and half.
That Manoj Verma and Praveen Tripathy supplied arms to the mercenaries are well know to the “protectors” of the Constitution. In any confrontation with our Sidhu Kanu Gana Militia the CRPF would back up the harmads and shower bullets on us, yet with people on our sides we disarmed a section of the mercenary force. More than 80 of our beloved leaders, workers and supporters have been murdered by the mercenaries, yet none of the protectors of Constitution came forth to punish the murderers or even book a case against them, in fact they started hunting us down and forced us to go underground. Even though officially we are not banned, practically we have been banned and our people have been subjected to all forms of atrocities.
In Radhanagar near Jhargram, CPI(M) harmads, Gana pratirodh committee, police and a section of Majhi-Marwa arranged a rally of thousand led by some drunkards. A section of the media and some “intellectuals” refused to see the truth and looked at it as an uprising against us. This is CPI(M)’s imitation of the Salwa Judum model of Chhattisgarh. We believe that if not today, every democracy loving people and organization and the media will see the truth in coming days.
We will hand over maps with details of the harmad camps to every leader and supporter coming to the August 9 rally, do consider how you will react. Stand by the Peoples Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCPA) to disarm the harmad camps. When the people assigned the duty to protect law and order escape/avoid their duties, is it wrong to defend oneself? The opposition party, the human rights groups and the mass organizations must decide and declare their stand against the harmad forces and the forces of ganja pratirodh committee at the August 9 rally. We shall participate and accept it.
Will the above mentioned authorities bell the harmad and the ganja pratirodh committee? Who will disarm them? Who will drive away the harmad camps from all the schools and panchayat offices? Does maintaining law and order mean handing over arms to this section and remaining oblivious about the consequences? No, we do not dream that these people will do their work! We believe the people will bring the harmad to books.
Manoj Mahato, Asit Mahato,
Hiralal Mahato, Tota Hembram,
Ajit Mahato, Jairam Baske,