Revolution in South Asia

An Internationalist Info Project

Banned Thought: Extensive Resources on India’s Lalgarh Uprising

Posted by n3wday on August 20, 2009

adivasi-maoists-cpm-communist-party-of-india-marxist-west-bengal-lalgarhThis this was written by Banned Thought and is an introduction to a series of articles collected and posted on the site.  Many thanks to those folks for taking the time to put this great resource together.

The Great Lalgarh Revolt

Starting in November 2008, the tribal people (or adivasis) of the Lalgarh village area of the Midnapore district of West Bengal, India, rose up against decades of oppression and abuse by the police and armed thugs of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). This party is usually known by its initials as the “CPM”. Despite its name, this is by no means a revolutionary Marxist party; it is instead a revisionist or phony “communist” party, which represents not the workers, peasants and the poor, but actually the ruling alliance of exploiting classes (capitalists and landlords). The CPM has been in power in West Bengal for decades, and has come to demonstrate that old revolutionary Marxist addage that revisionism in power is nothing other than outright fascism as far as the masses of people are concerned.

Naturally the people of West Bengal are more and more resisting this state oppression, but when a revolt like that in Lalgarh occurs, the CPM police and armed goons become all the more ferocious in their attempts to suppress the people’s upsurge and drive them back into submission. There are now huge numbers of state police and paramilitary forces in the Lalgarh area attempting to put down the people’s revolt. But the mass struggle is continuing!

In recent years hundreds of adivasis in the Lalgarh area have been imprisoned on false charges of having ties with the widespread and ongoing Maoist insurgency in large parts of India, and many of them have been murdered. But it is a fact that the Communist Party of India (Maoist) has become more and more influential in the area, and has proven to be the only significant party which actually sides with the people in their fight against the oppressive CPM state machine. It has helped the adivasis set up People’s Committees, and start to take control over their own lives. Activists of the CPI(Maoist) have played a leading role in promoting these People’s Committees and in expanding the struggle to new areas. There are, in addition, a number of special people’s organizations with a broad range of support and participation, such as the People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities, which are playing very positive roles in defense of the masses. This is the overall situation at present in the Lalgarh area and beyond.

The reports and documents below, available either on this site or else via links to other sites, provide extensive information about this great Lalgarh struggle of the Indian masses. While many of the news reports from the establishment press which are included below are of course not themselves banned in India, they are listed here in order to present a fuller and more complete picture of all the many events in this prolonged struggle. Sometimes the ruling class suppresses views and information outright and directly, but more often it suppresses it through simply making sure it has very limited circulation and does not actually reach most of the masses. This is just as much true in the United States as it is in India, and maybe even more so, due to the tyranny of capitalist media market forces. Withholding news coverage to the people, or only very spotty news coverage, is really almost as bad as the outright banning of publications which try to break the news embargo. It is the goal of BANNEDTHOUGHT.NET to help break down both of these forms of suppression of news and ideas, and to combat the ignorance and “dumbing down” of the population which the rulers seek to impose on us.


Click here to view Banned Thought’s Collection of articles.

8 Responses to “Banned Thought: Extensive Resources on India’s Lalgarh Uprising”

  1. CPSA said

    Can someone explain what’s happened to the naxal revolution blogspot site? I know it’s been basically inactive for a couple years, but it was just taken down within the last couple weeks. Why has this happened and are its archives (or their contents) available elsewhere, on one or multiple other websites? I just hate seeing good resources disappear like that since they’re so difficult to find in the first place.

  2. Ka Frank said

    CPSA,

    I don’t know why Naxal Revolution disappeared, and I’m not aware of its archives being available elsewhere. However, its political trajectory over the past couple of years was not very good. Whoever was running it indicated at one point that they were losing their enthusiasm for the project, and their posts increasingly omitted any mention of the CPI (Maoist).

    Banned Thought and the Indian Vanguard site have become much more useful for people who want to follow the development of the revolutionary movement in India. Googling the CPI (Maoist) on the internal sites of The Hindustan Times, the Dainik Statesman and The Hindu also yield a constant stream of news stories about the work of the Maoists.

  3. prakash said

    anybody can get naxalrevolution blog by visiting naxalrevolution.blogspot.com site

  4. CPSA said

    Prakash: You’re right, it’s back. How odd. When I posted initially on the 20th, there was a strange notice dated the 6th to the effect that site had “self-destructed” on the latter date. I didn’t know what to make of that; whether the author had finally let it finally disappear off the web, if it had been hacked like so many other sites on the topic or something else. Thanks for the heads up.

    And Ka Frank, I see your point, but I still find the site a good informational resource.

  5. CPSA said

    From Frontline magazine: http://frontlineonnet.com/stories/20090911261810700.htm

    Murder campaign

    SUHRID SANKAR CHATTOPADHYAY

    Maoists continue to kill at will in Lalgarh in spite of the presence of 50 companies of security forces in the area.

    AFP

    POLICEMEN GUARD THE bodies of CPI(M) supporters Gurucharan Mahato and Barendranath Mahato, allegedly killed by Maoists, in Sirsi village near Lalgarh on July 11.

    THE banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) has underlined its presence in Lalgarh in West Bengal’s West Medinipur district through a spate of killings in spite of the 50 companies of security forces that are stationed there. As of August 19, as many as 19 murders by the Maoists had been reported since the deployment two months ago of Central forces, the Combat Battalion for Resolute Action (Cobra), and the State police to flush them out of the Jangalmahal (as the forested part of the region is locally called) area in the district.

    Forty-five people, mostly Communist Party of India (Marxist) leaders and workers and a few members of the Jharkhand Party (Naren), have been killed in the area by Maoists and activists of the Maoist-backed People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCPA) since November 2008 after a failed attempt on Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s life at Kalaichand near Lalgarh.

    The continuing violence has prompted the State government to concede that the Central forces’ operation in Lalgarh has been a failure. “Almost every day Maoists kill or abduct people. Our target was to arrest the Maoists or flush them out of the area, but current incidents show we have not been very successful,” State Home Secretary Ardhendu Sen said at a press conference on August 6.

    There have been regular exchanges of fire between the combined forces and Maoists ever since the police operations started on June 18. The killings by Maoists stopped for a while initially. In fact, by July 4, when the security forces recaptured Madhupur, the last Maoist bastion in the region, it was widely believed that the Maoists were on the run and that normalcy was about to return. A high-level task force consisting of senior bureaucrats even visited the area to take stock of its developmental needs.
    Fresh spate of killings

    As it turned out, there was little cause for celebration. In a sudden move, on July 10, Maoists killed two CPI(M) supporters, Barendranath Mahato and Gurucharan Mahato, in separate incidents at Sirsi village. They struck again on July 13, killing two farmers, Swapan Debsingha and Tarini Debsingha, apparently for supporting the CPI(M), in Madhupur, just a few kilometres away from the police camps at Khadibandh and Ramgarh.

    Although Chhatradhar Mahato, the PCPA chief, and other leaders went into hiding, the committee’s activities continued under the direction of the Maoists. Demonstrations and rallies, clashes with the police and the ransacking of CPI(M) offices resumed, and threatening posters reappeared.

    For about eight months before the police operations started, Maoists and the PCPA held sway in the area. They refused to allow the State police to enter the area, in protest against the arrests that had taken place following the attempt on the Chief Minister. Little seems to have changed since. “The situation is still very serious. We are keeping a close watch on the developments,” Manoj Verma, Superintendent of Police, West Medinipur, told Frontline. According to him, most of the killings were taking place where the police presence was weak or absent.

    A RALLY ORGANISED by the People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities in Lalgarh on July 19.

    On July 18, Jaladhar Mahato, a CPI(M) leader in the Jhargram subdivision, and Ashok Ghosh, a party worker from Goaltore, were killed in separate incidents. The same day, just before the killings took place, Maoist posters were found on the walls of shops at Ramkrishna Bazaar in Jhargram announcing: “CPI(M) leaders will be beheaded soon.” The posters named the area’s CPI(M) leaders on the Maoists’ hit list.

    On July 22, Maoists gunned down Fagu Baske, a CPI(M) leader, near the Jharkhand border, giving an indication of the reach of their information network. Baske, a branch committee secretary in Madhupur village, had been in hiding for a few months and had just returned to his village to work on his field. According to police sources, that his killers were waiting for him suggests that they had prior information of his whereabouts. Baske was shot 14 times. The site of the killing – barely 500 metres from the Jharkhand border – is also significant. On July 8, a high-level meeting took place in Ranchi between the West Bengal Police and the Jharkhand Police to chalk out a strategy for joint operations against the Maoists.

    On the same day that Baske was killed, armed Maoists herded several CPI(M) leaders and activists from different villages and forced them to squat holding their ears and declare their disassociation from the CPI(M). Many CPI(M) workers have resigned from the party in recent weeks, either at gunpoint or in fear.
    Trinamool leaders visit

    On July 28, a team of Trinamool Congress leaders, including Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Partha Chatterjee, Union Minister of State for Shipping Mukul Roy, and Union Minister of State for Rural Development Sisir Adhikari, visited Lalgarh.

    Addressing separate gatherings in the region, they demanded immediate withdrawal of the Central forces and came down heavily on the police activities there. “The State police are committing atrocities against innocent people in the name of flushing out Maoists. We will appeal to the Centre to withdraw its forces immediately and start developmental programmes here at the earliest,” said Partha Chatterjee.

    The Trinamool Congress now finds itself in an uncomfortable position vis-a-vis the PCPA. It proclaimed its support to the committee’s cause in February, when Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee shared the dais with Chhatradhar Mahato in Lalgarh. However, the party has been trying to distance itself from the PCPA for the past two months. Mamata Banerjee has maintained a stony silence on CPI (Maoist) polit bureau member Koteswar Rao’s exhortation to her to choose a side, particularly since the Maoists had fought alongside the Trinamool against the CPI(M) in the bloody turf battle in Nandigram in East Medinipur district and had supported the Trinamool in its opposition to the proposed chemical hub at Nayachar in the same district.

    During their last visit to Lalgarh, the Trinamool leaders did not even try to contact the PCPA leaders, although they alleged police atrocities and demanded withdrawal of the Central forces. Soon after the departure of the Trinamool leaders, PCPA supporters clashed with the police – they organised a huge rally in defiance of prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
    Policemen abducted

    On July 30, just two days after the Trinamool leaders’ visit, the Maoists abducted Sagar Masanto, a CPI(M) leader from Goaltore. His mutilated body was found the next day. The same day, two policemen on patrol duty in the Lalgarh area, Kanchan Garai and Sabir Mollah, went missing. The following day saw a heavy exchange of fire between the Maoists and the security forces in the Jhitka forest as operations to trace the missing policemen began. As of August 19, there was no information on their whereabouts.
    11 murders in 11 days

    On August 1, while the security forces and the Maoists were locked in a gun battle that continued late into the night, armed militants shot dead Kalipada Singh, a leader of the Ganapratirodh Committee (GPC), a committee set up in December 2008 by the local people to resist the Maoists, in his house at Chirgoda village in Belpahari in West Medinipur district. That was the first time that the Maoists killed a GPC leader. The Maoists’ main target had been CPI(M) leaders and activists. The GPC, of course, has the backing of the CPI(M) and the police, but Kalipada Singh was not a party member.

    On August 2, the Maoists murdered Nirmal Mahato, secretary of the CPI(M)’s branch committee at Amdanga in the Lalgarh area, outside his home. A statement sent to Frontline through an SMS by Maoist leader Bikas read: “The PLGA [People’s Liberation Guerilla Army] has meted out the right punishment to Ganapratirodh Committee leader Kalipada. We tried to kill Nirmal last year, but he survived. The verdict of the people turned against him as he was helping the combined forces. The PLGA executed the verdict of the people.”

    The same night, armed assailants killed Nagen Singh Sardar, a former Maoist who joined the GPC, and the next afternoon, killed Gurucharan Tudu, another GPC activist. In the early hours of August 5, Sankar Das Adhikari, a CPI(M) supporter from Chilgora village near Dharampur, and Gunadhar Singh, yet another GPC member, were killed. On August 6, suspected Maoists killed three local people who worked as night guards in a cold storage plant in the Binpur block. All three were members of the Jharkhand Party (Naren), and one of them, Budheswar Hansda, was a relative of Binpur MLA and Jharkhand Party (Naren) leader Chunibala Hansda.

    Even as the State government laboured to formulate a strategy to combat Maoist terror in Lalgarh, killings, armed rallies, abductions and threats continued to be the order of the day in and around the area. On August 7, Bikas himself led a rally near Dharampur, at which he reportedly denied a Maoist hand in the killing of the three Jharkhand Party (Naren) members and in the disappearance of the two missing policemen. The following night, however, another CPI(M) supporter and GPC leader, Manik Mondal, was killed, and a Jharkhand Party (Naren) activist, Ramapada Mandal, was critically injured by Maoists in Belpahari. On August 10, Bikash claimed to have killed Paritosh Misra, a Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) leader from Dherua.
    Chhatradhar resurfaces

    After weeks of lying low, Chhatradhar Mahato resurfaced on August 17 to hold an open meeting at Mongladanga, in violation of Section 144 clamped in the area. The much-hyped public rally, which was announced days earlier, was supposed to take place near a police outpost at Gohomidanga. When the police arrived to prevent the rally, the organisers managed to outwit them by simply shifting the venue to Mongladanga, a few kilometres away. Mahato, who is a most wanted man and has innumerable criminal cases against him, addressed a gathering of around 1,000 people in the televised public meeting, once again reasserting the hold Maoists have in the area. The same day, yet another CPI(M) activist was abducted and a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawan was injured in a gun battle with the Maoists. The PCPA also called for an indefinite bandh in Jangalmahal.

    It appears, therefore, that the Maoists are still asserting their presence in and around Lalgarh. When Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram referred to the “killing fields” of West Bengal and urged the State government to take immediate action so that the Central forces could be withdrawn early, there was naturally a volley of protests from the Left. Many political observers also read in it an implied threat to the State government: the implication of a “breakdown of the constitutional machinery” that might lead to the promulgation of President’s Rule and early elections, as Mamata Banerjee has long demanded. As the blame game continues, the hapless village residents are caught in the crossfire.

  6. mirror website said

    Here is the mirror website of naxalrevolution

    http://cpimaoistnaxalite.blogspot.com/

  7. tipster said

    Just another tip.

    When you are collecting news on India it is highly recommended that you visit news.google.co.in and not news.google.com.

    news.google.co.in is the local news search engine and indexes and India based news site. When you search here for the key terms
    Naxalite, Naxal,Cpi maoist and cpi m-l you will plenty of news items.

    Remember you can choose the edition of google news on the google news homepage.Choose India as the option.

    Hope this helps.Appreciate the information you are collecting on the maoist movement in India

    Regards

  8. Sankar Ray said

    I wrote a piece in July 2009 in The New Indian Express:

    http://www.expressbuzz.com/edition/story.aspx?title=Terrorists%20who%20enjoy%20immunity%20from%20the%20law&artid=jc8f257CkgA=&type=

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