July 15, 2011
This letter from the PCAPA is dated July 20, 2010, and is chronologically the fourth in a series of six letters. The other five have been published on Sanhati previously – Ed.
KEEP UP THE DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT AGAINST ANTI-CONSTITUTIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION BY STATE TERROR AND ANARCHY OF HARMADS
APDR, Lalgarh Mancha and intellectuals: an open letter from People Committee against Police Atrocities.
On May 6, 2010 morning joint forces encircled the house and village of our president Kanai Hansda. They started beating up people and ransacking. People stood up against shameless atrocities of joint forces. On May 8 in Bamal Chawk (on the road from Lalgarh to Medinipur) joint forces detained everyone including women and children. Then they asked them to shout, “Hail India, hail Subhash, hail Gandhi, hail Kishanji”. Whoever says ‘hail Kishanji’ is then severely beaten up from behind. This is no tale from colonial times. It’s a description of atrocities by security forces of Congress and CPM.
One can look at the Medinipur town. The youth Congress workers had blocked the road by stripping themselves half naked. At the same moment leader of Trinamul Congress, Shubhendu Adhikari is making a speech, “The police superintendent and police workers are acting as agents of CPM. This is not acceptable, stay neutral. Else when we come to power in 2011 we shall send you to jail.” Another scene – resident of Sabang of West Medinipur, leader of opposition of the state, Dr. Manas Bhuiyan is thundering against the murder of Bikash Mahato, Congress leader of Jhargram. He is urging the people to stand up against the conspirators. On the other hand, thousands are people in Jangalmahal are raising voice against the barbaric attack of joint forces, harmads, violation of human rights, of constitutional rights. They are blocking roads by felling trees.
The above picture is not exaggerated. These are some of the snap shots of everyday happenings here. Life here is changing very fast. Due to this pace we are not able to present a accurate picture probably. Many a time we have called some of you over the phone and tried to report what all is going on. We have asked, blood is flowing from every pore of our body, will you not wipe? We asked, will you not write objectively? Without observing directly what all is going on, ebbs and flows of the movement, mental agony, without hearing them face to face how can you infuse life into what you write?
Will there not be a single Himanshu, who in spite being a victim of operation green hunt, has been among the adivasis of Bastar, has felt their sorrow and pain directly. He has brought to us the brutal portrayal of how the BJP and Congress have jointly guaranteed the right to excavate iron ore to big companies of Japan as well as Tata-Mittal-Essar. He is fighting a case in the Supreme Court to counter this terrible situation. His fight has brought to the notice of one and all the real picture of what is going on in Chhattisgarh. We cannot imagine that a big section of the Kolkata intellectuals would abdicate the responsibility of providing leadership to protect democratic and human rights. Among the pro-change intellectuals many are openly campaigning for TMC. Their main aim is to make Mamata the CM and worship her like Goddess. Except a few these friends have stopped raising the issue of the Lalgarh revolt. When Kabir Suman composed a song on Chhatradhar and stood by the Lalgarh people others tried to label and gag him. Many intellectual friends thought it was our error and became silent. How the Jangalmahal people are everyday attacked by the joint forces and harmads, what is the nature of the movement that is going on in resistance, what roles we are playing – all these issues have to be put in front of the people. Which is why we are writing these letters. The border that Congress and CPM has drawn between you and us, we hope you would be able to cross it and stand by the side of oppressed children of Jangalmahal. This discussion is important for the politics, philosophy, culture, history and future of the movement.
Revolt by the adivasi, moolvasi people of Jangalmahal, Gorkhaland movement, adivasi movement of north Bengal, Nandigram movement, and barbarism of a so called left government, its dependence on security forces and intensity of violation of human rights have presented a cruel reality in front of us. At the same time we are witness to the armed movement by the Maoists, its programme of poeple’s resistance which by crossing legal boundaries has impacted the state and the government. Their movement surely contains violence and people’s resistance. On the other hand, in the school, college committee elections in West Bengal, in fights to capture area, in fights to grab power from the level of panchayat to upper layers, one witnesses rampant violence. You have witnessed political criminalisation of the legal political parties such as CPM, Congress, BJP, TMC – here violence, barbarity, violation of human rights everything is accepted by the state and the government of the day. In the interest of oppressed, neglected people reality of such questions should be probed by the democratic and human rights organisations. We hope you shall value our experience in this regard.
On legal movement and different aspects of protest
On May 7, 2010 harmads armed with sophisticated weapons set up a camp in the Sitanathpur High School of Salboni. Today is May 26. The camp is still there. Sitanathpur is the village of an MLA of CPM. Police camp has been set up in the village to provide him protection. In February the camp was closed down, due to people’s protest police did not return to the camp. Till April fights were going on with the harmads which is why they could not set up camp. You tell us, which is legal which is not. The entire administration is with the harmads. The main task of harmads is to loot the adjoining 10-15 villages. In Parulboni village we are setting up a 15 bed hospital. Apart from door, windows frames, the roof was to be constructed. At present 10-15 villages are male-less. What would happen to the developmental work we started? We have fled our village. Not only harmads, both harmads and joint forces are staying there. Our workers and supporters are being picked up. Are all these according to the law? No party has criticised the fact that there is a huge harmad camp in Sitanathpur. Those who did released a one line statement. The biggest thief in this is the Congress leadership. How will people keep faith in these parties? Where is law? This is the biggest question of the people.
When Chidambaram came to Lalgarh the very day he announced that political parties should visit Jangalmahal and talk to the people here. But neither he nor his government is taking any action against the atrocities which are going on in Jangalmahal. What would the parties do even if they visit Jangalmahal? People are demonstrating against harmads and joint forces. People’s protest is just one aspect, but harmads cannot be driven away by demonstration alone. Therefore we shall take up any sort of resistance which is necessary.
You very well know the role our committee and the police-administration have been playing since November, 2008. Our people’s movement started out as a legal one and it has been progressing according to a definite plan, and it’s overground. We have talked to the administration. We invited all those people and organisations from different parts of the country which extended support to the Lalgarh uprising. We welcomed them to associate with the Lalgarh movement and to defeat the fascist attacks of CPM. But many of them advised us to work like them. We have not been able to abide by this method always. This is because from the day of Lalgarh uprising till today we have had a goal and programme. We are approaching according to that, this is what our plan. All should see the responsibility the people of Lalgarh bestowed on us, the way they took part in our programmes. We have rallied thousands of people, we shall continue to do so.
It’s not only in health department. We have opened many departments to implement our programme. We have been implementing our developmental programmes taking people with us. In April-May-June we put forward our developmental programmes regarding drinking water provision in front of people. People accepted it and participated in its implemention. With their opinion and participation our movemental programmes have been implemented.
To be frank there is no law in Jangalmahal. Before 2008, November, whatever CPM used to proclaim was law. Everyone knows this, it’s not a secret. In any place the party which is strongest becomes the law. This is true in not only Jangalmahal, but in entire West Bengal and India. Be it Kolkata city or any mufassil, from the registration of houses to all office works nothing gets done without paying bribes to the political leaders. This is total mafia raj. If one wants to fight against it one needs mass support, as well as the grit to stand against anti-people goondas, mafias and armed forces. Also one needs arms or bow-arrows or whatever weapons to resist their assault – otherwise they would not leave any space. Joint forces, central forces, all of them would unite to supplant us. This is what our experience tells us.
Our leaders, workers, supporters who participated in mass-resistance were being killed by joint forces and harmad bahini. They wanted to drive the steam roll of terror on people’s movement. One by one our workers, members were murdered, were arrested in the black act UAPA. This experience taught us to take cover among people and carry forward the movement by organising people.
The administration had decided to start joint operations even before the parliamentary elections. The Congress and CPM however had to maintain the mask of democracy due to the elections. Besides, enough para military forces were not available for operations; last but not the least, if operations start it would adversely affect the elections results which prevented start of joint forces’ operations. Even if operations by joint forces did not start from 2008 December, the police and CPM formed a reactionary platform called “Gana-pratirodh committee”. Which is but a different name of harmad bahini. A part of the Majhi Marwa, Janamukhti Morcha of Babu Bose and other reactionary elements associated with it. Their task was to beat up and murder those who take part in people’s movements. Besides, some so called naxal leaders started to sing in the tune of CPM, they were relentlessly attacking the people’s movement in the name of criticising it. Not only that they started supporting the leadership of Ganapratirodh Committee. Today, the real character of Ganapratirodh Committee has become clear to all. Who are there in the committee, who are providing support to it is known to all. This way, the state government was seeking the break the backbone of people’s movement. But they were not successful. In short the state and central governments have been planning to destroy people’s movement from the very beginning. Joint forces’ operations did not start suddenly from June 2009, its preparation has been on for long.
Even after knowing all this, many have started to spread the canard that the operations started after Maoists posed with AK rifles in front of the demolition of CPM leader Anuj Pandey’s palace in Dharampur. This campaign is still going on. Those who are saying this wanted to drive the movement according to their whim, failing which they have started toeing the line of the government.
We would request you to consider the following. Is there a precedence of such a big force launching an attack without any prior preparation? Why did the administration send letters to school committees to hand over buildings on 2nd and 3rd of June? How could the police bosses, the Writers and home ministry of the Central government started deploying forces after preparing duty sheet? Think. We who are leading the movement on the ground, who are launching movements against the terrible police atrocities, we are not ready to believe government’s version. Not only we, many intellectuals do not believe this version either. We want say it very clearly, after a movement crosses a limit neither the state nor the central government remains ready to tolerate it any longer. They started the attack. To face such state attack one needs an active mass support. Activists and a strong organisation determined to reach its goal are needed to carry on a people’s struggle.
In Jangalmahal it’s not only the Maoists who are facing the state terror, the people who are leading us have not remained unscathed. Although no official ban has been imposed on us, the government is treating us as if we are proscribed; they have kept an unwritten ban on us. When Maoists had not come here many organisations were active among the adivasi and Moolvasi people. But a part of all these organisations aligned with CPM. CPM launched relentless attack on the rest of Jharkhandi organisations. Although there was some resistance, many activists were silenced due to this CPM assault. Without the direct or indirect consent of CPM no organisation could function. From Panchayat to the level of Bidhan Sabha the opposition workers were oppressed and tortured, murdered even. Although the Jharkhandi organisations wanted to function in legal channels, CPM terror suppressed them and rendered them defunct. In some cases even if the Panchayats were with the Jharkhandis, CPM did not allow them to function. Therefore be it development or anything else, nothing constructive was done. Furthermore, the CPM leaders would steal the nominal amount of money that were allocated from Panchayat, Zila Parishad and other sources. Other political parties were similarly corrupt.
People submitted petitions, demonstrated legally to fulfill their demands. But nothing worthwhile was done. We tried to resolve the problems through people’s movement. We sought to unite people through development and democracy. But the central and state governments started to thwart these efforts. To solve the problems we had discussions with the government besides carrying on with the movement, demanded discussions on several programmes of development, we spoke against the corruption which is there from Panchayat level to the district level – is any of these demands undemocratic or anti-constitutional? We demanded the fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution to be enforced, nothing more. Yet, our workers and leaders were arrested under the black law UAPA. Strangely, after ruling the state for 33 years CPM wanted that whatever they say, whatever they do, everybody has to abide by without murmur. If they call an elephant a goat we have to concur. We are sorry we could not do that. We stand for what is correct: we shall call an elephant an elephant, a goat a goat. We are for justice. Not for the undemocratic, unjust policies of the state and government. Therefore our demands were not paid attention. On the contrary, joint forces and harmad bahini were launched, they were armed with the most sophisticated weapons, they were given military training, these forces bring untold atrocities and oppression on our lives, forced us to flee our home and hearth. Section 144 has been kept in force for a long time and the Jangalmahal has been in effect segregated and has been turned into a hunting ground (naturally although 144 is in force for the general people, for the CPM harmads there is no such act). We are not ready to accept this. We called upon the villagers from hundreds of villages, brought them under a single platform to fight for their democratic rights. At present local leaders, whichever be their affiliations, are speaking up against atrocities. But local leaders did not visit any place besides Medinipur and Jhargram after the joint forces have descended upon us. Some human rights and mass organisations tried to visit, but were prevented by the police. All organisations which are issuing statements against CPM, which are against feudalism and imperialism, all of these are doing so from Kolkata. Yet we have maintained our fraternity with them. People and activists will not forget those friends who have not been able to visit us but have stood by the movement in all its ups and downs. How one supports a movement from close quarters or from far away, what programme one is taking up depends on one’s active role in the context of the movement.
Before November, 2008 nobody could imagine that Lalmohan Tudu, Chhatradhar Mahato, Baske, Hansdas, Mahatos would emerge as mass leaders. They were ordinary villagers. By making the voice of poor and oppressed adivasi and moolvasi resounding and heard in Lalgarh movement, they succeeded in lifting the ordinary villagers to the position of giving leadership to a huge people’s movement. We are meeting the same responsibility.
The state did not accept the politics of Jangalmahal. The CPM is carrying out ruthless oppression not only on the Maoists but also the Jharkhandi Parties. Jharkhandi Party is a parliamentary party – not like the Maoists. Actually they do not tolerate any opposition voice. At present state terror and CPM terror is approaching towards Goaltor. This is the bankrupt politics of CPM which it hopes would win it 41 seats in the legislative elections of 2011. This is the reason why CPM has made massive military preparation and is advancing in the company of the joint forces. The harmad camp of Goaltor reminds one of the war efforts of some emperor. We have to decide our tactic standing against the military assault of this nature. We have to concentrate of counter-preparation. We have to cross many boundaries.
Friends don’t forget the statement made by the lieutenant general which said they have no record of the war operations they launched involving 45000 Eastern Command soldiers. The Command office which was transferred from Kolkata to North Bengal has been brought back to Kolkata. Why? After the Eastern Command had clearly declared that the forces would be deployed for conducting operations for 15-30 days, why were 3-4 additional forces were called in? Why one more force is arriving on the occasion of the one year anniversary? Why has the propaganda launched by the media, police, CPM spreading the misinformation that since July 2009 we have been cornered? To hoodwink whom? In reality our mass support is rising, we are expanding our area of operation. CPM is doing all it can to destroy this mass base. Sushanta Ghosh, Deepak Sarkar, Prashanta Das are issuing statements on armed operations of CPM everyday. But many people are not ready to hear or see these.
There is a section of intellectuals which directly or indirectly spread canard against us. They use the misinformation of the government against us without any verification. To appear progressive they want to project themselves as anti-government. But in reality they repackage the lies and terror perpetrated by the government. In spite of all these we are presenting our opinions and the right information in front of you and all the people.
Whatever one may say, we have to admit that like any other political party in Jangalmahal the Maoists have been there, they had their mass base; and now their influence among people, mass base, area of operation have expanded. The reason being that the protest they are launching, a large part of the people is associated with it. This is true regardless of if we admit it or not. How can one deny this? This is independent of our wishes. What the police of CPM says has no factual base. Joint forces and harmads have launched terror and conspiracy in Jangalmahal to exterminate the Maoists – but bloodshed, violence, disaffection have risen because of it. One cannot support the attacks that are being launched in villages after deploying troops all over the country in the name of operation green hunt. What the Congress has been doing by putting CPM in front in the name of parliamentary democracy and constitutional responsibility is not desirable. State or local leaders of congress party have been issuing statements against the CPM or harmads to save themselves from the anti-people steps of the high command. They think the general public is so poor, they won’t understand anything. Manas, Pranab all think the same – none is however unaware of the bankruptcy of the Congress.
Another blockade as the Governor and Chief Secretary did not play their role
On 2nd May Asokmohan Chakraborty retired from the post of chief secretary. He declared that day, “All those entrusted with chief roles in administration must act neutral.” Did he himself abide by this lofty principle? He has in fact acted as the office boy of CPM’s office at Alimuddhin. Ardhendu acted as the door keeper, and DG Bhupinder demeaned himself even further. Home secretary Ardhendubabu is now the chief secretary. There is no question of his acting neutral. For last 2 years we have seen that Ardhendubabu is ever-eager for protection of harmads, and to save the leadership of CPM. For this reason they have been trying to demolish our democratic movement by use of state terror at the behest of the CPM. These two figure heads held discussions with us 2-3 times, yet they decided to assault by launching joint forces. They threw our Dalilpur treaty to dustbin, put forth the joint forces, used all kinds of state terror to destroy a democratic movement. But in spite of their efforts for 1 year they have been unsuccessful. Asokbabu retired and Ardhendu took his place. After him came Samar Ghosh. Even he will be gone sometime and some new man will take charge. But would these servants of the government listen to aspirations of the people, would they judge impartially? Standing on our motherland, since our forefathers we have been fighting for our honour, rights; in future our children will carry on the struggle. Whoever comes to silence our struggle for honour and aspirations – regardless of the degree of terror he unleashes – will not be successful. We shall get our rights through struggle. The people of Jangalmahal are the creators of tomorrow.
Sushanta Ghosh is the Paschimanchal development minister. People of this region calls it ministry for destruction of Paschimanchal. This minister is busy in attacking and murdering. He is the head of mafia and harmads. It is difficult to make a list of how many got killed by Sushanta Ghosh, Deepak Sarkar, Tapan, Sukur. Yet from the governor to the chief secretary everyone is standing by them and is launching state terror to destroy the people’s movement which is for the just demands of Jangalmahal people. Joint forces in company with harmad bahini is bloodying, wounding Jangalmahal. Harmad bahini is now the spine of the state and central government. And yet the governor is keeping mum after observing all this.
Few days back CPM clearly announced they would launch an assault on Lalgarh and capture it. On the one hand the state-central leadership of CPM has clamped 144 on the entire area, has banned all democratic rallies, meetings, prohibited the entry of human rights organisations and people, on the other hand, harmads of CPM are openly taking out armed procession within the perimeter of police protection. We are not making it up. The CPM organ Ganashakti has published reports and photos of these processions. None alleges them of breaking 144, no case gets lodged. When ordinary people, intellectuals, peace loving human rights activists want to come to Lalgarh, want to organise meetings they are threatened with 144. This is the state of law and order here. The governor Narayanan knows all these, and is silent. Why is he silent after watching violation of law, hypocrisy of the CPM in broad day light? Why are atrocities inflicted on the adibasi, moolbasi people of Jangalmahal? Why sedition cases have been slapped on PCAPA members?
Our Demands are Just, Form our Struggle is Just
Yesterday, on 22nd April morning, people were returning from the village fair of Chheraboni and Tetedanga (near Dahijuri). The villagers were badly beaten up by the joint and harmad forces. 45 of them detained, they are yet to be released. The left front government is not even allowing us to attend fairs and social occasions. The administration fears that we are Maoists. Thousands of people who gathered in those fairs are allegedly Maoists. Even the leaves of forests would be deemed Maoists by joint forces. They start firing when the leaves rustle. None know who would be killed by those bullets.
On 9th Baishak (Friday), at 4 AM around 1600 joint forces personnel went out on a mission. None knows how many harmads were with them. They encircled Patari, Baro Kalsidanga villages. In Patari villagers were running camp to house victims of police atrocities. The police emptied the camp. They went into people’s houses, ransacked and beat them up. Villagers were threatened not to go with the PCAPA. They reached Buripal aftewards. In the middle of blinding sunshine, 400-500 women stopped them to demand release of their village people and block them from entering the village. The police were forced to release the men. We greet the brave women with Hul Johar. The joint forces emptied the Kalsidanga relief camp.
These kinds of reports are coming in every day. We cannot enter the forest. We are not able to gather timber, Sal leaves, Kendu leaves, Mahua and other forest produce. Who knows how much did we lose? What shall we subsist on? Paddy harvest was poor this year. The administration is trying to squeeze us through these means. Buddha-Chidambaram-Manmohan-Advani want that villagers to starve to death. Yet we shall not die, but keep living and fighting.
The media are spreading stories against the blockage we have enforced. Through the media the administration is trying to build opinion against us among the urban people. The administration is saying that the public distribution system has collapsed. Ration dealers are saying vehicles to transport provision are difficult to get. People want to know in Jangalmahal how many people have been fed by administration through public distribution system? Is it a fact that business and other commerce have suffered? Buddha-Manmohan-Chidambara and the administration are responsible for this. Everyday thousands of police would enter the village and perpetrate ruthless state terror, how long shall we tolerate this?
On 7th and 21st February Mangal Mahato and Manmath Nath Mahato were arrested by joint forces. All these days they were tortured and taken to different locations, and on 21st April it was announced that they were detained while trafficking arms from Bodos of Kokrajhar of Assam to Maoists. None can surpass them in lies. Manoj Verma, Bhupinder Singh, Ardhendu following dictates of Alimuddin can fool people for some time by spreading lies after they have arrested our workers. But they cannot deceive people of such a large region. For these acts the police administration and Alimuddhin are getting more and more isolated from the people. Presenting them to court on 21st April after having detained them on 7th and 21st February is the best example of police administration and CPM government of abiding by law and order and constitution. Long live the democracy of the left!
Like Mangal Mahato and Manmath Nath Mahato many were arrested by the police but were not presented in the court. We have requested the administration many a time to put them before the court and release detainees of false cases. But of no avail. They killed Lalmohan in fake encounter and did not even give us the dead body. They raped our girls and killed our boys in Bhalukbasa. In the last one year we have shed tears, we are separated from home, from farming. Protectors of law and order do not themselves abide by them. What is there for us to do in such conditions? Arresting countless people, not presenting them in the court and just erasing them out of existence, arresting ordinary villagers in false cases, murders, beating up, loot, rape – we have to tolerate all these silently. But we are sorry we cannot follow. If the harmads are disarmed no further bloodshed would take place. Therefore we appeal to all – stand by us strongly, support our demands. Spit on the left and Congress.
23rd April, 2010 Hul Johar
People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities
In the middle of harassment by joint forces and police, demolition of our houses, beating up of our leaders and workers by harmads and police informers, their arrests, disappearance – we have been carrying on with our programmes of blockade, no-cooking etc. Thousands of people are taking part in these programmes. When the governor, chief secretary and other constitutional heads directly or indirectly support the atrocities of joint forces and harmads, provide legitimacy, whatever protest or resistance people have built up is just. All progressive, democratic, human rights loving people should support these programmes.
What is going on in the name of law and order
Prashanta Das, the infamous CPM leader from Jharkhand, openly and proudly told reporters that they had all sorts of firearms like AK-47s. CPM leader from Bankura, Amiya Patra, has announced that 15-20 night-watch groups will be formed. And everyone knows about the harmad camps. Reports are being published in newspapers everyday. After the public statements by the CPM leaders, and with all knowledge about the armed harmad camps, what steps are the law and order maintenance authorities of the state taking? What kind of legal action are they initiating? More Joint Forces and Cobra battalions are being sent for operations. And alongside that, 300 members of the announced harmad forces are being appointed as Special Police Officers (SPO’s). Is it not clear whom the law intends to protect. In order to defeat the terrorizing attacks of the harmads, who are acting with full cooperation from the police and the joint forces, the adivasi and moolvasi people are organizing resistance in Goaltor, Salboni, Kotoyali, Sankrail, Gopiballabhpur etc, and as a result more of the people’s blood is being shed. All political parties make anti-harmad statements in public, but so far they have not been able to provide any positive direction towards how one might counter the horrendous terror of the harmad forces, which are maintained through state supply of money, firearms and training. They only say that the People’s committee Against Police Atrocities has deserted the people’s line and people’s movement. Friends, we had never deserted the people’s line or people’s programme. The statement that we make through our spokesperson always contains a clear people’s programmes for 4-5 days or one week. All becomes clear if one witnesses the people’s participation in our resistance program. Mamata Banerjee and her party Trinamool Congress say many things about resisting the CPM’s terrorization outside of Jangalmahal. A lot of poor people’s blood have been shed in Mangalkot, Nanoor, Shasan and other places in the area capture conflicts between TMC and CPM. If only meetings and processions could solve these problems, why is so much blood being shed? From Chidambaram, Manmohan, Buddha to a section of learned society has been continuously propagandizing to the media that ‘Maoists are causing violence’ in Jangalmahal. Then the question is this – why is there so much violence in places where Maoist presence is absent or weak? Why is everyone from the President to the Governor silent on this? And who is truly causing violence in Lalgarh? Who are the ones who are making illegal arrests, making arrests without moving court, slapping false cases, burning down houses, looting property, raping the women, beating up and murdering people, in complete violation of the basic rights guaranteed to the people by the constitution? We must turn our attention to those who stay silent on the terror perpetrated by the state and harmad forces – which have vandalized the lives of the adivasi and moolvasi people of Jangalmahal – and point their fingers elsewhere, and think deeply about what interest or purpose drives these people or organizations.
Thousands of armed cadre forces, with complete help from the Centre, continue to implement their power in the rural areas. Home minister Chidambaram has repeatedly said that the centre will provide whatever assistance is needed. No matter what Chidambaram sometimes says in support of TMC keeping in mind the equations of political alliance, his words mean little. His only aim at the moment is to make Operation Green Hunt a success. That is why it is very important for him to go with the likes of Sushanta Ghosh rather than Mahendra Karma (sic) and run a Bengal version of Salwa Judum. So he is indeed giving all forms of assistance. It becomes clear when one minutely notices their secret alliance and what is happening on a daily basis.
Humanism today lies in the dust due to the action of the joint forces and harmad forces. So we must persist with our resistance movements so that the flag of humanism now lying in dust can be held up once again. Through ups and downs, we have carried on with the revolt that started in Lalgarh in October 2008, and we have resisted the tortures of the joint and harmad forces, through the sacrifices made by our companions, friends, our mothers and sisters. We hope that you all will actively support us in our resistance struggle against the assault on humanity perpetrated by these forces.
Who and for what reason were our three stars, our dear children, murdered?
On the night of 20th May (Thursday), people from the joint force and harmad forces, riding on motorcycles, went and abducted three students from Barisal village in the jurisdiction of Lalgarh Police Station. One 21st May morning, news was released that the police had recovered three unidentified dead bodies from Belepal in the Sarenga Police Station area. That very day we got the news and started our investigations. We came to know that Bankim Mandi (22 yrs), Sunil Murmu (15 yrs) and Gokul Soren (20 yrs) were murdered by the joint force with the assistance of the harmad force. The Police of Super of Bankura, West Midnapore very craftily made the statement that Maoists committed these murders. The bodies of the three students were quickly sent to the morgue. On the other side, the Maoists announced in a statement that the three students were mercilessly murdered by the joint and harmad forces. They urged the people to organize a unified movement in opposition to these murders.
On Friday 21st May our spokespersons notified several student’s organizations, human rights organizations and reporters about the murder via telephone. On Sunday 22nd May, Bankura Police Super proudly announced to the media that the youths had been identified. We declared a 48 hour bandh, from 24-25th May, protesting this merciless murder by the joint and harmad forces. These students had not harmed anyone, they had not raised any questions against the police and administration, then why were they murdered? The public cannot accept the joint forces’ murder of these young students. The villages of Jangalmahal are seething with anger, like nature does before a storm.
The police brutally beat up three students without any proof immediately after Chief Minister Buddha and Jindal’s convoy was attacked on 2nd November, 2008. In the last nineteen months the Central and State governments, Congress and CPM, blatantly violated the human rights of the people of Jangalmahal by killing three of our children. They played a murderous game with our hopes and dreams. No matter what Chidambaram, Manmohan say, they killed our dear children as a revenge for the death of 5 CRPF men on 19th May. They beat us up in 2008 and murdered today. Neither were we silent that day, nor shall we remain silent today. But we don’t understand your behaviour. Why did you become quiet so suddenly? What wrong had the little students done? The state wants to muffle these questions we ask and suppress our resistance movements by any means. They brought in Jindal and took away our rights, then brought in the joint forces and stamped on our constitutional and human rights. We walk the path of revolution in order to protect our human and constitutional rights. The central and state governments do not want that. And we understand that, that is why they took away our children from us. We strongly condemn this inhuman act by the state and urge the people to not to be overwhelmed by this act but to stand up in unity. All the people of Jangalmahal must unitedly fight these police atrocities, and defeat them. But we urge the students, laborers, intellectuals and the human rights and democratic organizations of Kolkata and the suburbs to voice their protests in response to the killing of these three stars.
What wrong did the teacher of Bhulabheda do?
Birogi is a village in the Bhulabheda area under Belpahari Police Station. A health centre has been operating in this village for 7 months. The villagers had been actively involved in the movement in that region. But till date they had never broken peace. But when the joint forces from Belpahari arrived there, they started beating the people up and threatening them. Shukdeb babu is a teacher there. His wife Sulochana Pal is an Anganwadi worker. These two were targeted by the police. On Sunday 23rd May police went to the house of this para-teacher of Bhulabheda school. As they couldn’t find the teacher there, the joint forces severely beat up his wife Sulochana debi. Before going away they told her that her husband was a traitor to the nation, and he must henceforth mend his ways. Else he would be shot down. Shukdeb himself reported to the media that the police was repeatedly harassing him, and threatening to kill him.
The case of the Ramgarh students and the case of Shukdeb are not isolated events. Before the joint forces came to the scene, it was only the harmads; now they rule jointly. If we do not collectively resist this, we shall keep dying. The Lalgarh movement follows the way shown to us by our forefathers in their revolt against exploitation-torture-oppression-deprivation, and that is the way we must keep following.
Would you not take the responsibility of bringing truth to the fore?
Narayan Murmu and Mangalaske went to Medinipur to obtain their admit cards. Narayan Murmu is from Chhoto Brindabanpur in Lalgarh. He was doing a course on computers from Jhargram. Currently stopped coming to the village due to police search operations in Dharampur area. On 6th April Narayan was on his way to Enayetpur en route to Medinipur with Mangal after having food at a relative’s place in Bagherpukur when the harmads stopped him. They asked them several questions and then let them go. However, in order to track where they were going two harmads were sent to follow them. The very same day, on their way back, they were intercepted and taken away to the Kangsabati harmad camp.
Narayan Murmu was a student of Gurguripal High School. His father was at one time an active CPI member. The villagers realized that this was the reason why the boys were being taken away, and they informed him. As soon as he got the news, Narayan’s father appealed to everyone from the CPI leadership to the police that they take steps to bring back his son safely. But all his efforts were fruitless. The boy didn’t return. Mangalapur’s Mangal Baske, an educated, reticent, affectionate boy, had joined the Lalgarh movement like all other tribal youths. But he had been no longer actively involved since the time Dharampur had been attacked by the joint forces. And yet the harmads got him.
The story is not yet over. When at the end of April we added new names to the list of martyrs, we did not hope that they would come back since we didn’t find their dead bodies. Because the Kotowali and and Shalmali harmad camps are directly led by Manoj Verma (Police Super), Deepak Sarkar (CPM Midnapore West district committee secretary and member of state committee), Sushanta Ghosh (Paschimanchal Development Minister), Tapan Ghosh, Sukur Ali (infamous CPM murderer). Their cunning and cruelty have continued under a legal cover previously provided by Ajay Nanda, Raj Shekharan and presently by Manoj Verma. Everything is happening quite openly. All the people of Jangalmahal are aware of these. So the dead bodies of the people being imprisoned in the Kotoyali and Shalbani harmad camps are not being found.
It was probably on 25th April when word spread that a headless body in a sack was lying in the Bhangabandh forest of Salboni. Police Super Manoj Varma as usual said that it had been done by Maoists. But it was heard from people that it was Mangal Mahato. No one had dared to report to his house immediately. So things got a little delayed. His friend and relatives ran to the place. But the body had been made to vanish by CPM leadership. Even if the Harmad or joint forces kill someone, the administration first creates headlines saying that it was done by Maoists; they themselves put up posters near the body pretending it is by Maoists. And you in the cities believe that. Because the main headlines attract attention. When we give statements to the media in detail about these things, many newspapers don’t print them. Even if they do it is a 1-2 line report buried in some corner of an inside page. So it is not noticed. Through false propaganda the media converts falsehood into truth, so the real things don’t get attention. And besides the other parties and CPM have powerful propaganda machineries, we don’t even have one percent of that. We can’t use the phone whenever we want. The entire government mechanism, from the lowest to the highest levels is filled with their men. Even a part of the media is full of their people. A lot of reporters often conclude by inventing something and passing them off as statements by CID etc.
Construction of a permanent health centre and the role of the people
Since British times the people of Jangalmahal have always wanted that a permanent health center be built covering 15-20 villages, where there will always be doctors and a supply of medicine. But we have always remained deprived of this service. People from Jangalmahal regularly die due to lack of treatment and medicines. Although the villages near towns have nearby health centers, we adivasi and moolvasi people are treated like second-class citizens. The government health centers only have the most elementary medicines. It is difficult to put the plight of these deprived people in words. At the very beginning of the people’s movement under the People’s Committee against Police Atrocities, we created a health department and initiated several health centers. We started out with the aim of making medical treatment available to every household. Naturally, this people’s initiative did not seem acceptable to CPM, Congress, the state government and the joint forces. So through extreme terror they tried to destroy several health centers under the health department. But they did not succeed. We prepared to build up both permanent and temporary health care systems. From March 2009 we started the construction of a 15-bed permanent hospital at Chakadoba in Belpahari. The foundation was laid, the walls were raised. A well was dug. But before the construction could proceed further, the joint forces arrived and following them came the Ganaprotirodh Committee. They severely beat up the people who had come to work on the hospital and stopped the construction work.
We started construction work on a 10-bed permanent hospital at Parulbani near Salboni from March 2010. In spite of daily bombing and firing events on the Sitanathpur side we completed the construction work on the foundations and the walls. Several people from 15-20 villages willingly volunteered for this work. Meetings and demonstrations were regularly arranged to raise mass awareness. Apart from the Parulbani Healthcentre Convening Committee, a separate committee was formed for the construction of the building. Work was started after a continuous one-month long awareness campaign. Towards the beginning of the May the terror of the harmads was intensified. But they could not progress beyond Sitanathpur. The construction work was going on then. In the first two weeks of June the harmads used to attack Parulbani and carry away goats and poultry, and beat up the villagers and threaten them. Our construction work had to be stopped after about June 20-25.
The villagers spontaneously participated in the building of the Parulbani and Chakadoba hospitals. People donated five bricks from every house and five bags of cement from every village for the construction of the hospitals. Supporters from various places donated money. 25 thousand rupees were borrowed. No one except the masons accepted any money for their labour. All the people voluntarily and wholeheartedly toiled for the creation of their dream hospital. CPM and the harmads didn’t like this initiative by the people. From June 2009 till date many projects have been announced from the Writers’ Building, and funds have also been allocated as we read in the newspapers. TMC leader Mamata Banerjee said a lot of things in the Jhargram meeting. But she has done nothing for this health centre. Manas Bhuniya of Congress is himself a doctor. A resident of this district. We heard the story that Shishir Adhikary was allotting a lot of funds for this district. We saw it in the newspapers. Several people’s organizations, political parties, human rights groups, civil society, party for change, intellectuals of various hues, proclaimed Naxals and the different NGOs, specially those who work on health-care, said nothing in condemnation of the atrocities. Many friends have tried to evaluate the role of PCAPA in the Lalgarh movement. That’s a fine thing. Any movement needs to be evaluated. But what is the purpose of the evaluation? Is it to make the movement more powerful, or is it to strengthen the arms of the state administration, the joint forces, CPM’s harmad, Gana Protirodh Committee, police-protected Mantu Marshal, Prabir Murmu and their likes. To fight the attack on our hospitals we organized cooking and hunger strikes, blockades, strikes, demonstrations etc. almost 8 times from August 2009 to July 2010. The residents of 10-12 villages around each health center actively participated in these programs. Due to the united effort of the people of Jangalmahal we were able to successfully run 31 health centres. And this is the path we shall follow. But the question is about the responsibility and role of our friends who talk for the poor adivasis. The construction work of the people’s health centers in Chakadoba and Parulbani had to be stopped. The people will certainly resume the work in the future and get the health centre going. But we think it is important that our democracy-loving friends, who stand beside the adivasis and moolvasis, should think that the incumbent left front under CPM is right now not in a position to solve the problem in a democratic way. They institute a fascist rule and the fascist Congress goes with them. In such a position it would be double standards not to oppose and protest against this. It is true that wherever there is white terror there would also be people’s movements and people’s resistance. Anyway irrespective of whether we can start our health centers, we shall always carry on our movements for our necessary things, we shall keep on fighting. History shall bear witness to whom the people support. You are not unaware of the differences between terrorism, fascism and revolutionaries, nor are you unaware of the terror rule of CPM, nor the democracy of Congress. The USA did not oppose, or object to, or make arrests with regards to the running of treatment units run by the Red Cross or Taliban or any other agency in Afghanistan; India’s democracy during Left rule is no less anti-people than the actions of the USA.
The mass-murder of Gyaneshwari passengers exposes the extreme cruel face of CPM’s bankrupt and lumpen politics
The mass-murder of the passengers of Gyaneshwari Express on May 27-28 night was the greatest act of terror ever in India. That we should criticize it, condemn it – requires words that we cannot find. The perpetrators of the act have not admitted to it. And since they control the administration and the police, they didn’t even take 10 minutes to put the blame on us and the Maoists. Although rail minister Mamata Banerjee said that there was a conspiracy, she did not make clear who the conspirators were.
On 27th May thousands of police were deployed along the rail line, road, and towards Malbandi along Kangsabati river. The harmad forces started extensive looting, beating up and vandalism in large numbers in more than 30 villages in the name of search operations. Villages became empty of males. Many women became homeless, had to leave their villages. This pandemonium created by the police and the harmads generated huge resentment among the people. They were in the mind to let some of their reactions be known. Bapi Mahato, a member of our organization in the Manikpara area, called the people of his village and the nearby ones. Protests and resistance were discussed. The CPM were waiting utilize this opportunity. Sushanta Ghosh, Anuj Pandey, Dahareshwar Sen, Deepak Sarkar, and other CPM leaders had deployed some men to to go down to the rail tracks and remove the Pandrol clip. The municipal elections were scheduled on May 30th. CPM deliberately planned this incident before the election. The purpose of this murder event was that it would affect the election results and turn the tide against Mamata, while creating a negative impression in people’s minds about the People’s Committee and the Maoists.
None of our leaders, workers, ordinary members, supporters were involved in this incident. Neither Umakanta Mahato nor Asit Mahato know anything about this sabotage. Nor did Bapi Mahato. He was thinking of torching the CPM party office at Manikpara.
CPM, CBI, CID got together to link our name with this incident. Congress started blaming us and protecting CPM. Not only that, police superintendent Manoj Verma a known lackey of CPM, Jhargram police super Prabeen Tripathi, DIG formed an inquiry committee which joined with CBI to form a team. Strange! Who controls CBI? The entire history of CBI is such that it cannot function independently or outside any political control.
Newspaper reports and local people informed us that barring Bapi Mahato all who were arrested in this case are CPM men. Now CBI and CID are jointly trying to save CPM. But people can discern their intentions quite clearly. CPM will leave no stones unturned to cling on to power. BJP functions in the same way. Merely criticising them will not suffice. We need to unite people to defeat them. Otherwise fascism will only strengthen. They will keep on their attacks. No political party will be permitted to function just like the pre-2008 period. Gyaneshwari incident has clearly exposed the bankrupt politics of CPM.
Murders of CPM in the Ranja forest:
For Goaltor and Salboni assaults the leadership of CPM including Deepak, Sushanta, Syamal, Selim, Yechury have been claiming that they are upholding the red flag in Jangalmahal through people’s resistance. This is completely false. The joint forces have deployed the Cobra to protect the harmads so that the harmads can go on escalating the attacks. Due to unlimited benevolence of the corporate home minister Chidambaram, these leaders are still alive. To make operation green hunt a success Chidambaram has been trying to convert the harmad bahini of CPM into the Bengal Salwa Judum. This has been very clear from the history of last 13-14 months. In this period he has been giving few statements to placate the TMC leader Mamata Banerjee. Buddha-Biman retaliate. For few days these become headline news. Then they vanishes. This is how the rhetoric of Trinamul, Congress, fake Marxists, local leaders peters out.
Prior to March, 2010 joint forces and harmads would not conduct joint operations. From March, 2010 they are conducting joint raids. Wherever we take out processions the police descend and beat us, and harmads start firing. From the local people we have come to know that in places where there is exchange of fire between harmads and Maoists, harmads from other camps arrive as well as policemen in plainclothes. If the Maoists do not back down even after this, joint forces encircle them, they try to siege the Maoists and other people who are under their leadership. This way by launching an all around attack they push the Maoists back, the area is then captured by harmads. Villagers are murdered, arrested and raped.
From March onwards CPM and the police have been paying attention to strengthen their covert network in the villages. Everyday they have been firing or blasting bombs whose sound can be heard from 4 to 5 kilometres away. Besides, by using mobile phones and modern technology joint forces and harmads try to make their plan of attack a success. All these can be known if one asks the locals. Our account is written after collecting information from the people. Yet journalist friends sometimes avoid the main issue and frame different stories. The confusing thing is, even those journalists who are known to be against CPM or are anti-establishment do not touch these matters. The very next day of the day of July, 2009 when Saonli Mitra, Aparna Sen, Kaushik Sen and other people’s friends came to Lalgarh they were threatened with the UAPA act. When Arundhati Roy, Citizens Forum and 30-35 women’s organisations from Chhattisgarh tried to visit the areas of poeple’s movement none other than the corporate chief in command Chidambaram threatened. So, whatever be the claims of Sushanta or Deepak these are claims from the shadow of Chidambaram. We need to look at the massacre in Ranja forest from this perspective. Even before the Maoists could get up from sleep Cobra forces killed them. In spite of claims that this was an achievement of Cobra forces, this is not the fact. We who are people of Jangalmahal know that the massacre was conducted with the help of the network of police super Manoj Verma, Deepak Sarkar of CPM, Anuj Pande, Prashanta Das, Dahareshwar Sen of CPM. So one can say that the massacre was a handiwork of state forces and harmad bahini joint operations. Those who were killed were our sons and daughters, they turned into Maoists to resist atrocities of harmads. The way their dead bodies were carried after hog tying them puts any civilised society to shame. The state home secretary informed that the central home ministry had given such orders. Respected Mahashweta Debi lodged a court case. We don’t know what happened to it. But these brutal killings, hog tying the dead, not returning the dead bodies: these are not the exclusive domains of CPM or BJP, Congress, TMC will do the same. We are still to get back the dead bodies. All of us must protest against these odious massacres, inhuman treatments of the joint forces and harmad bahini. If we keep quiet in the fear that we will be labelled Maoists then all the fights against human rights violation, for democracy, against the terror of the state and CPM will remain paper fights.
Anniversary of protest against deployment of joint forces: taking oath for a protracted resistance
On 18th June was the anniversary of people’s resistance against deployment of joint forces. To suppress Lalgarh revolt centre and state governments jointly launched forces. Harmad bahini were taken alongside. Joint forces and harmad bahini have been attacking each village of Jangalmahal together, day and night. Under the leadership of PCAPA thousands of people have been successfully organising resistance programmes against this.
During this time period more than 100 leaders were jailed and about 700-800 workers were arrested and have been put in jail in fake cases. Central government has been assisting the harmad bahini to strengthen their attack on us in Salboni, Goaltor, Kotawali, Jamboni area. On the day of anniversary we took oath to make our movement stronger than ever.
Bhagaban Lalmohan Tudu, Biroudali Ayo (female revolter) Ashumani Murmu, Biroudali Ayo Churamani Murmu, Biroudali Ayo Thakurmani Soren, Biroudali Ayo Dhanmani Murmu have given leadership to the movement, flag of revolt of Jangalmahal has been rising over fields, villages, hills. Under the order of police super Manoj Verma, DG Bhupinder Singh our young sons, who were merely school students in Ramgarh school, Sunil, Gokul, Bankim were killed. We have to fight against state terror to protect our remaining children, for their studies and development, and for our honour and for the sake of democracy.
We shall go on fighting for the success of the demands formed in Dalilpur meeting. We shall accentuate our united movement for rights over water, forest, land, against the SEZ factory of Jindals in Salboni, to fight pollution in Lodhasuli, Purulia and other regions, to fight corruption, to protect honour, to promote the mother tongue, for democratic rights.
We declared many programmes on 18-09-2010 on the occasion of anniversary. June 18: condemnation day, June 19: self-respect day, June 20: protest day. People from each village participated in these programmes. On condemnation day different competitions were organised in villages. We condemned the attack of joint forces and harmads on that day. Evaluation of the positive and negative sides of the movement of the last one year was done. On second day, that Lalgarh revolt raised the self-respect of the people was celebrated, to keep on this path we took oath, dance, music, sports events were organised. On day three we took oath to correct our errors, and to build a stronger resistance by organising meetings, processions.
We invite all the progressive, oppressed, exploited people on the occasion of anniversary – please stand by the Jangalmahal movement. Point out our mistakes, provide us with constructive criticisms, give suggestions, let’s discuss.
We shall not further lengthen this letter. We are trying to portray the everyday incidents of Jangalmahal through these letters. We don’t know when these letters will reach you, or if they will at all reach you, and perhaps by the time they reach many new happenings would have taken place. We have not been able to give a correct account of all that is happening. Yet we hope you shall be able to grasp the real situation of Jangalmahal from these letters, and you will stand by the struggling people against the ongoing terror.
20th July, 2010