BENGAL POLITICS: Maoists kill three as rebel focus shifts – CPM in disguise – a lasting legacy of Jyoti Basu, the butcher of the Darjeeling Indian Gorkhas, bhai-bhais or bondhus ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH BUREAU
Purulia, Oct. 4: Maoists shot dead three Forward Bloc supporters in Purulia last night, pointing to the fact that the rebels are spreading their tentacles in the district after being forced on the backfoot by the joint forces and a rejuvenated CPM.
Ration dealer Dasarath Majhi, party activist Suklal Murmu, and Leru Majhi, the husband of a gram panchayat member, were dragged out of their homes in Bagmundi’s Chirugora village, trussed up and shot dead in front of villagers by a gang of 35 suspected rebels.
The total number of Left casualties in Purulia at the hand of rebels in the past three months has now risen to seven, a pointer to the growing clout of the Maoists in the district.
Police said many rebels have shifted base to Purulia in the recent months after coming under fire from the joint forces and the CPM in West Midnapore. Purulia is around 180km from West Midnapore.
“We have reports that Maoists are fleeing from West Midnapore and taking shelter in Bankura and Purulia,” said Purulia superintendent of police Rajesh Yadav.
Off the record, police sources said in West Midnapore, armed CPM cadres were “recapturing” village after village with the help of the joint forces.
CPM sources have said they are planning to reclaim Lalgarh after snatching back Dharampur, Ramgarh and Pirakata from Maoists in recent months.
Several villages in West Midnapore, too, have stepped up heat against the rebels. People armed with sticks and scythes have been guarding their villages in the night to ward off Maoist attacks. The villagers have also chased away rebels trying to force them into joining their rallies.
“The retreating Maoists are either escaping to Orissa or taking refuge in Bankura and Purulia,” a police officer said.
The police sources said the rebels were “regrouping in Purulia and Bankura”.
“From the reports we have received, it appears that the Maoists are now planning to build strong bases in Bankura and Purulia before attempting to strike back in West Midnapore. The Maoists may try to recapture the West Midnapore villages they have lost to the CPM,” an officer said.
“Yesterday’s murders in Purulia reinforces our point. I cannot remember the last time the Maoists killed so many people in the district at one go,” another officer said. “That, too, the killings took place in front of nearly a hundred people.”
Around 9 last night, the Forward Bloc trio were dragged to a tree at the heart of the village and gunned down in front of shocked villagers.
Leru’s brother Mukul Majhi said: “The trio were shot dead in front of at least 100 villagers, including children.”
“They showed no mercy,” said Jaleswari Majhi, Dasarath’s wife. “My daughter Chumki and I pleaded with the Maoists to let my husband go but they did not relent,” Jaleswari said.
Suklal’s father Lakshmiram Murmu said his son was killed for refusing to attend a Maoist rally in the village three months ago. “They (the Maoists) had called a meeting in our villageand had asked all residents to attend the meeting,” Lakshmiram said.
Residents of Chirugora said they feared they would also be killed as a “large number of Maoists had assembled at the nearby Ayodhya Hills”.
“God knows what will happen now,” Lakshmiram said.
A team from Bagmundi police station, 20km away, arrived at Chirugora this morning and sent the bodies for post-mortem.
CPM sniffs a ‘winner’ – Jeez !! how snide can Bengal get without a nose for the truth, fooling everybody but themselves, can a mango tree ever give oranges ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH
BY J.P. YADAV
New Delhi, Oct. 4: The CPM politburo is likely to slam the Ayodhya title suit verdict, spying in it a blessing in disguise for the battered Left Front in Bengal.
“In 1995, the Supreme Court had ruled that the title suit cannot be adjudicated on matters of faith. The high court verdict is based on faith and thereby violates the Supreme Court ruling,” politburo member Sitaram Yechury said today, indicating the party’s position.
Sources in the CPM said they had reports that Muslims by and large were feeling “betrayed” by the judgment and hold the Congress responsible for it. “In such a scenario, slamming the verdict could help us in winning back their (Muslims’) support,” a CPM leader said.
Yechury said the politburo, which began its two-day meeting today, would go into the details of the lengthy Allahabad High Court judgment before taking a final view which will be articulated tomorrow. The meeting is being held to finalise the party’s stand on the judgment and take stock of preparations for the Bengal Assembly elections next year.
After Jammu and Kashmir and Assam, Bengal has the largest percentage of Muslims — 26 per cent — among all the states in the country. The Left believes that the desertion of Muslim voters is the biggest reason for the series of electoral debacles it has suffered in the state.
The state government has already launched efforts to win back the support of the community by being the first to announce 10 per cent job reservation for backward Muslims in line with the recommendations of the Ranganath Mishra Commission. The politburo meeting will take stock of the progress made in this direction.
Underlining that substantial progress had been made, Yechury said categorisation —names of beneficiary castes —had been completed and would be announced soon.
Setting the tone for the CPM, some 50 prominent Left intellectuals under the umbrella of SAHMAT (Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust) held that the Ayodhya verdict was “yet another blow to the secular fabric of our country and the repute of our judiciary”. The group has attacked the verdict for accepting belief and faith in deciding property entitlement and said it was against “all principles of law and equity”.
The CPM is likely to pick holes in the judgment on technical grounds, taking care to avoid any communal reference.
Politburo members from Bengal are already claiming a turn in fortunes. State secretary Biman Bose spoke of a “mammoth” crowd at chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s rally in West Midnapore and claimed it was an expression of people’s distaste for the politics of violence being pursued by the Trinamul Congress and the Maoists.
“The situation in Bengal is changing for the better. The chief minister’s rally was one of the biggest ever in the district,” Yechury said.