Photograph: Deadbody of Umakanta Mahato. Anandabazar Patrika, 28 August, 2010.
Yesterday, Umakanta Mahato, leader of People's Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCPA) was found dead in Lalgarh. According to the police sources he was killed in an encounter although no casualty of police has been reported. Not only in this particular case, but also in last two encounters in Ranja and Metla forests where joint forces gunned downed total fourteen PCPA leaders-supporters including Sido Soren, no casualty of joint forces was reported. It is therefore very possible that police and joint forces have been killing the leaders of PCPA in clod blood and want us believe that they were killed in encounter.
Fake encounter is not something which we have never heard of. In seventies, so many students and youths were killed in the name of encounter in West Bengal. Although in their words government is keen to restore peace In Jangalmahal, actually prefers to eliminate the leadership of PCPA, the organization leading the democratic movement against police atrocities. They are not going to stop the brutal state repression, rather aggravates it.
The day before Umakanta's cold-blooded murder, Director General (DG) of West Bengal police said there was not a single camp of CPM goons (or Harmad) in Jangalmahal. And when the body of Umakanta Mahato was laying on the soil of Lalgarh, Susanta Ghosh, the minister of West Bengal state government addressing a CPM rally in Goaltore claimed that with arms CPM was going to capture the whole Jangalmahal soon. Obviously, CPM harmads have been working in unison with joint forces to unleash the terror over the people of Junglemahal.
Umakanta Mahato was the prime accused in Gyaneshwari derailment case. PCPA however several times denied the allegation. Surprisingly, police who brought the allegation did not show the enough courage and confidence to produce Umakanta before a court of law; rather preferred to kill him. It once again strengthens PCPA's allegation that Ganeswary derailment was the handiwork of CPM.
Not only the leadership of PCPA, every organization or individual, who stands for the struggles of people, is the target of the government now. Last week police arrested Naba Dutta, well known activists and general secretary of Nagarik Mancha, a mass organization working for labour issues and environment. Couple of months back police arrested Hemanta Mahato, environment activists of Jhargram. These incidents show the fascist face of the government. They even do not spare the democratic-progressive voices. A space for democratic forces is therefore a daydream now.
Red Barricade condemns killing of leaders of PCPA in fake encounters and all forms of repression unleashed by state machinery and CPM goons (Harmads).