Thursday, June 17, 2010

Three Intellectuals And Their Arrest In Lalgarh

Day before yesterday, 15 June 2010 West Midnapur police detained Nisha Biswas, Kaniska Chowdhury, Manik Mondal and three journalists along with other local people at Salboni with alleged Maoist-link. Although the journalists were released later, Nisha Biswas, Kaniska Chowdhury and Manik Mondal were arrested. They were sent to jail custody by Jhargram court.

Nisha Biswas, scientist of a CSIR institute in Kolkata, Kaniska Chowdhury, a professor of a college and Manik Mondal, a well known writer are human right activists and have been associated with peoples' movement for years. Nisha regularly participates in various programmes and street corners organized by Lalgarh Mancha and Sanhati Udyog.

Lalgarh remains besieged by the state armed forces for the last one year. No human right activists are allowed to visit. Statements issued by the police and government officials prevail in mainstream media and remain the major, if not the only source of information regarding Lalgarh. Nobody can think this as a healthy situation, especially when incidents of severe human rights violation by joint forces surface out. Recently three open letters were issued by People's Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) regarding different issues of People's resistance of Lalgarh and human right violation by joint forces. 

It was therefore timely decision of these intellectuals of Kolkata to visit Lalgarh for having first hand experience of the situation of Lalgarh. When state does not allow any human right activist to visit a place, a true activist must earnestly try to reach there to remain honest to his conscience. Given the prevailing state repression, their visits have to be in clandestine.  And, a clandestine visit has long been cherished by current West Bengal Chief Minister; remember he spent some time for translating "Clandestine in Chille" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Then what went wrong with Nisha Biswas, Kaniska Chowdhury and Manik Mondal?

It was shown in a TV channel that they were booked as they participated along with others in a meeting of PCAPA. We do not know whether they really participated in such meeting. Even if they participated, how can it be an offense? This organization is not a banned organization, it works for democratic rights; government officials including state election commissioner met the representatives of PCAPA couple of times till June 2009. And a meeting between them was scheduled to be held on 14 July 2009, which did not happen as operation of joint forces started on 18 June 2009. Then what goes wrong if people participate in the meeting of PCAPA? Is it just because it has raised some important issues which state does not like? Is it because of the mobilization of masses behind their demands? If so, then any democratic individual has to take the side of PCAPA. And that was exactly what these intellectuals did. 

Government and police officials sometimes say that the movement of PCAPA has its own trajectory and with time it became closer to the Maoists. It is ridiculous. PCAPA and its movement should be judged on the basis of its content—on the basis of their demands, not on the basis of how close Maoists are to them. People can build movement on several issues. Any organization can find those issues relevant and extend their support. Only with the malicious intention a movement can be assessed on the basis of these supporter organizations. 

With such steps against activists working for democratic rights the government gradually establishes the fact that whatever exists is nothing but fascist rule. Such notion when roots in people's mind nowhere help the ruler, rather expedite their fall. India will not be an exception.

17 June 2010

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