Bengalis Condemn Assassination of Leader against Police Atrocities (Lalgarh)
Posted by Ka Frank on March 21, 2010
Statement by Concerned Citizens
6th March 2010
To: P. Chidambaram,
Minister of Home Affairs, Government of India,
North Block, Central Secretariat,
New Delhi 110001.
Dear Sri Chidambaram,
We write to express profound shock and outrage at the cold-blooded murder of Sri Lalmohan Tudu, President, Pulishi Santrash Birodhi Janasadharaner Committee (Peoples’ Committee against Police Atrocities) and two other persons, Yubaraj Murmu and Suchitra Murmu, all of whom were murdered by the CRPF at Narcha village near Kantapahari in Lalgarh, during the night of 22nd February.
We draw your attention to the unfortunate fact that the murders were just the latest in the series of murders, rapes and arrests of Adivasis that the police and paramilitary forces have unleashed across the Lalgarh area of West Bengal over the past six months. We also draw your attention to the fact that murdering the leader of a mass movement is a crime so heinous that no language has the words to condemn it.
The police and the CRPF have presented constantly changing versions of the murder, all of which portray Lalmohan Tudu as a dreaded Maoist leader who was killed while he was perpetrating some heinous crime! The initial version claimed that he was killed in an exchange of fire while trying to attack the fortress-like Kantapahari CRPF camp together with a group of Maoist cadres. A later version changed that: he was killed when a Maoist squad, to which he belonged, was apprehended by a CRPF raiding party. These versions are downright lies.
All the evidence from the site where his dead body was found (which was shown on local television channels), and from eye witness accounts, say that he was killed near his house, following which his body was dragged into the paddy fields nearby. This clearly shows that the Government is implementing a deliberate policy of individually annihilating the leaders of a mass movement of Adivasis, and you seem to have gone back from what you told in an interview on November 21, 2009, `I am totally opposed to staged encounters.’
Lalmohan Tudu was no military strategist or ideologue of the Maoists, nor did he have connections with any political party. He was a very popular and highly regarded person, who had been elected President, PCPA at a mass meeting at Dalilpur Chowk when the Lalgarh movement against state atrocities started. He was also one of the main representatives of the PCPA in negotiations with officials of the state government and the Election Commission. At no time was he accused of being a Maoist activist. Many people who have visited Lalgarh in the course of the last one year remember him as a quiet, elderly person, with great organizational abilities and an eye for the care and comfort of the various people visiting Lalgarh to express solidarity with the Adivasis.
With his murder, the government has clearly sent out a signal that it will crush all forms of dissent by annihilating mass leaders, and clamp down on democratic voices. It is indeed unfortunate to see it offering to talk to the Maoist insurgents, on the one hand, and use its police and paramilitary forces to liquidate leaders of mass movements, on the other. Where you talk of bringing in development in the Adivasi areas, we hear footsteps of a police state. This two-faced policy is sure to drown the entire country in a vicious cycle of violence.
We vehemently condemn the murder of Sri Lalmohan Tudu and Yubaraj and Suchitra Murmu, as a blatant act of state terror and urge you to bring to an immediate halt the operations of the joint state and central forces in Lalgarh and adjoining areas. Ceasefire by all belligerent parties and talks are what all rational, peace-loving people want at this hour.
We demand that the government constitute a judicial probe into this terror inspiring murder, followed by exemplary punishment of those found guilty of planning and executing it.
Finally, we expect the state’s law enforcement agencies to strictly adhere to legal methods, and expect it to immediately stop any official/unofficial policy of “shoot to kill”, outside of the due processes of law.
Mahasweta Devi (author, social activist)
Bibhash Chakrabarty (theatre person)
Kabir Suman (singer, Member of Lok Sabha)
Tarun Mondal (physician, Member of Lok Sabha)
Tarun Sanyal (poet)
Joy Goswami (poet)
Amit Bhaduri (Emeritus professor of economics, JNU)
Madhu Bhaduri (former ambassador)
Debabrata Bandopadhyay (former commissioner of Land Reforms)
Tushar Talukdar (former commissioner of police, Kolkata)
Subhendu Dasgupta (economist)
Bratya Basu (theatre person)
Sujato Bhadra (civil liberties activist)
Meher Engineer (physicist, former director Bose Insitute Kolkata)
Dipanjan Rai Chaudhuri (former professor of physics, Presidency College)
Tarun Kanti Naskar (Professor of Engineering)
Abhee Dutta-Majumdar (physicist)
Bolan Gangopadhyay (journalist)
Jyoti Punwani (journalist)
Tapan Roychaudhuri (author)