Friday, April 10, 2009

In West Bengal, Lalgarh tribals resist police entry

The people in Lalgarh have been resisting the entry of police and paramilitary forces in their area since November. Their major grievance is that in the name of tackling Maoists’ threat, the police often harass and arrest innocent tribal youth.

The state administration was forced to to yield some major concessions, including withdrawal of paramilitary forces from the area, following stubborn resistance put up by the tribals. Now, the administration wants to deploy police personnel in that region as part of its election preparedness.

But the tribals are not giving in. Chhatradhar Mahato, the leader of the Committee Against Police Atrocities, who rushed to Kolkata to mobilise support for their cause, told Business Standard “people want elections. But we don’t want police to come in. In the name of holding elections, the police and CPI(M) cadres will try to take control and capture our area. We will definitely resist that.”

State home secretary Ardhendu Sen said: “Our priority is to hold elections there. We know Maoists are still operating there. If it leads to confrontation, what can we do?”

Elections in Lalgarh, which comes under the Jhargram Lok Sabha (ST) constituency, is scheduled on April 30. Pulinbehari Baske of the CPI(M) is pitted against Congress candidate Amrit Hansda in this seat. Aditya Kisku, the leader of a splinter group of the Jharkhand Party is also contesting. The CPI(M) has been winning this seat for many years without much contest. According to Chhatradhar, “Despite our efforts, both the factions of the Jharkhand Party are determined to put up their candidates, thereby dividing the opposition vote.”

Lalgarh, which shares a border with Jharkhand, has witnessed increasing Maoist attacks in the past few years. According to the state home department, there have been enough evidences that the Maoists are active behind the tribal agitation there.

However, Chhatradhar denies this strongly, saying “This canard has been going on since the 1990s. But this is an attempt to deflect the focus from the deplorable condition of tribals here.”

It is alleged that the tribals in Lalgarh were subjected to regular harassment by forest officials and the local police. Yet, they stood by the Left steadily all through the past 30 years.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment.Industrial Society is destroying necessary things [Animals, Trees, Air, Water and Land] for making unnecessary things [consumer goods].The link between Mind and Social / Environmental-Issues.The fast-paced, consumerist lifestyle of Industrial Society is causing exponential rise in psychological problems besides destroying the environment. All issues are interlinked. Our Minds cannot be peaceful when attention-spans are down to nanoseconds, microseconds and milliseconds. Our Minds cannot be peaceful if we destroy Nature[Animals, Trees, Air, Water and Land].

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