BENGAL POLITICS: Force misuse grouse to PM – hitting the right sentimental chord against the CPM ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
Calcutta, July 25: Mamata Banerjee today said she would “personally” hand over to the Prime Minister a “full-fledged document” on how the CPM was “misusing” the joint forces in Maoist-hit Jungle Mahal.
A Trinamul Congress leader today quoted Mamata as telling her aides at a meeting: “We will stick to our demand for the withdrawal of the joint forces from West Midnapore as the ruling CPM is grossly misusing them for its own interest.”
Manmohan Singh had told a National Development Council (NDC) meeting yesterday that the Centre and states would “continue to meet the Maoist challenge together”, days after Mamata said she would request the Prime Minister to withdraw the central forces from Lalgarh.
Trinamul’s renewed clamour on the CPM’s “misuse of the joint forces” betrays the fact that Singh’s advice has dampened the party’s spirit.
“We are aware of what the Prime Minister said at the NDC meet. We are preparing a report on the situation in Jungle Mahal to justify Mamata’s demand,” Sisir Adhikari, the Trinamul junior minister for rural development, told The Telegraph over the phone from Delhi this afternoon
“We will give examples of how the CPM has set up camps of its armed cadres in West Midnapore with the help of the joint forces. We will also inform the Prime Minister how CPM cadres, posing as Maoists, are terrorising our supporters and innocent villagers in Jungle Mahal.”
Adhikari, who oversees the party’s organisational network in the two Midnapores, alleged that the CPM was running 41 camps in Salboni, Goaltore, Jhargram and Binpur. “The CPM has not only stockpiled arms in these camps but is also providing arms training to its cadres with the help of the joint forces,” he added.
Adhikari said the document was being prepared under the supervision of Mamata. “She would hand over the report to the Prime Minister when she comes to Delhi to attend the monsoon session of Parliament tomorrow,” he said.
Adhikari said that though his party agreed with the Prime Minister’s suggestion that the states and the Centre should jointly fight the Maoists, “we would request him to treat Bengal differently, given the ground realities here”.
Villagers free Maoist after cop tiff – poor record of police impartiality ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Midnapore, July 25: The backlash against Maoist disruption of everyday life appeared to spread in West Midnapore today but it also put police on notice for their refusal or inability to protect villagers.
Villagers in Nishchinta had last night chased away armed Maoists who had tried to force them to attend a meeting and caught one of them. But today, they forced the police to release him after the cops said they would not be able to open a security camp there immediately.
The village is 25km from Radhanagar, where villagers had chased away Maoists on July 22 and around 8,000 people rallied against the rebels the next day.
Baren Patra (name changed), a resident of Nishchinta, said that last night around 9, a group of 14 armed Maoists had come to the village on motorcycles and asked the villagers to take part in a meeting in neighbouring Naharia “immediately”.
“We told them that we would not attend any programme at night. When we asked them to hold rallies during the day, they started beating me and some others with a stick,” Patra said.
Soon, around 300 villagers gathered and started protesting. “We chased away the Maoists and People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities activists,” Patra said.
The rebels scampered to their motorcycles and sped off, leaving behind Sushil Mahato, who was caught by the villagers.
Sushil, 34, was trussed up and kept in the veranda of a local school through the night.
The villagers guarded Nishchinta at night to stave off a possible retaliation by the Maoists.
After the police reached the village this morning to take Sushil away, the villagers demanded that a security camp be set up in the area. When the police said it was not possible to set up a camp immediately, the villagers snatched Sushil from them and released him.
“It is not possible to set up a police camp at a moment’s notice. We first have to organise the necessary infrastructure. Moreover, there is a high court order against setting up police camps in schools. We had told the villagers we would step up patrolling but they kept insisting on the police camp. Then they snatched the man (Sushil) and freed him. We did not want to apply force on the villagers because they have done a good job by chasing away the Maoists,” said Praveen Tripathi, the superintendent of Jhargram police district.
A farmer, Sridhar Mahato (name changed), said he could not afford to “dance to the tune of the Maoists”.
“The rains have started and transplantation of the aman crop has begun. I can’t afford to waste a single minute by taking part in these stupid processions and meetings. Our day-to-day work is being seriously affected,” Sridhar, who owns a two-acre plot, said.
Didi hands full with friend & foe Bhuniya TMC infiltrate barb – well aware of CPM style tactics ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH BUREAU
July 25: State Congress president Manas Bhuniya today caught Mamata Banerjee unawares at “silly” point, accusing ally Trinamul Congress of “allowing a steady infiltration of anti-socials into its organisation”.
The provocation for Bhuniya’s outburst was an attack on him by Trinamul activists in West Midnapore’s Khejuri yesterday.
“Trinamul Congress-backed anti-socials have let loose a reign of terror in different parts of Khejuri. Going by this, it appears that the leadership has no control over the anti-socials who have infiltrated Trinamul since the party established its clout in Khejuri after ousting the CPM two years ago,” Bhuniya told a news conference at the Congress headquarters in Calcutta.
Mamata today left a news conference at her Kalighat home in a huff when reporters asked her about Bhuniya’s allegations. “Don’t ask me all these silly questions,” she said before storming out.
Bhuniya was pushed by Trinamul activists and his car was stoned at Khejuri, where he had held a rally to protest a similar attack on Youth Congress leader Usha Naidu on July 12 near the West Midnapore village.
Party supporters today blocked roads and railway tracks in Calcutta and several districts to protest the assault on Bhuniya and other party workers.
Terming yesterday’s attack “barbaric”, Bhuniya said he suspected that several “CPM anti-socials had switched to Trinamul” taking advantage of the “changed political scenario”.
“But I must caution the Trinamul leadership against providing shelter to these unwanted elements,” he added.
Bhuniya also made it clear that the Congress would not “bow down to pressure tactics” by Trinamul-backed musclemen. “Trinamul is hell bent on establishing a one-party rule in Khejuri. But the Congress won’t accept this. I will visit Khejuri again and address a public rally there.”
Asked if the acrimony between the two parties would jeopardise the alliance, the state Congress chief replied in the negative and added that the “issue could be resolved through a discussion between the two parties”.
However, Trinamul president Subrata Bakshi denied the involvement of his party in the attack on Bhuniya.
Process of giving jobs to land losers starts – building the votebank ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH
BY SANJAY MANDAL
Calcutta, July 25: The railway ministry has started the process of giving jobs to people who have lost land because of railway projects.
The Railway Board has issued a formal directive to zonal railways to consider job applications from landlosers. “The directive has been sent to all zonal railways and the policy is being implemented with immediate effect,” a senior Railway Board official said today.
Last November, railway minister Mamata Banerjee had promised at a programme in Hooghly that her ministry would provide jobs to a member of each family that has lost land because of railway projects.
She had said the railways required small stretches of land for laying tracks but promised that projects would be implemented only at places where people would willingly give land against compensation.
The Railway Board circular has laid down guidelines for selecting applicants under the job-for-land policy.
The applicant should be the sole owner of the acquired plot or next of kin of the owner. If the land is owned by more than one person, railway officials would decide who should be considered for the job.
“It must be ensured that the displaced person has not received any land from the state government in lieu of his or her land that has been acquired for the project,” the circular states.
The railway administration will request the land acquisition officer to issue certificates to those whose land has been acquired.
The general managers of railway zones will have the power to relax the educational criteria if they are satisfied that a candidate is fit for the job, the circular says.
The general managers will also have to ensure “fairness” in the implementation of the job policy. Divisional railway managers have been asked to co-ordinate with job applicants.
Railway ministry sources said 1.7 lakh of 14 lakh railway posts are lying vacant.
“However, most of these are technical posts,” an official said.