Sunday, February 6, 2011

Who are the Harmads of Bengal?

When a joint forces team raided and arrested two suspected Maoists – Amiya and Asim Mahato from the Municipal Guest House in Midnapore town, Trinamool Congress chieftain and railway minister Mamata Banerjee rushed at the spot with “friendly’’ television units and swung into damage control mode. Banerjee’s quick reaction does not need much explanation. The guest house was run by her party with the Congress as a relief camp to “shelter” party workers who are on the run from CPI(M) cadres “reclaiming” lost ground in various parts of West Midnapore district. According to Midnapore police chief Manoj Verma, the “sheltered Trinamool workers” comprises many hardcore Maoists and PCAPA activists from the Jangalmahal area. His team was keeping a keen watch on the guesthouse for a long time and the raid took place only after they became definite that seven Maoists had been staying there. Eight letters of CPI(Maoist) politbureau member Koteshwar Rao alias Kishenji, senior Maoist leader Asim Ghosh alias Akash and Jharkhand Maoist leader Ranjan Munda has been seized from the two arrested suspects. One of Kishenji’s letters was addressed to the boisterous and bleeding-heart Trinamool MP Kabir Suman. The police have also informed that Amiya Mahato was present with Maoist commander Sidhu Soren when the faction encountered with the joint forces and lost eight of their members including Soren. Asim Mahato acted as Kishenji’s courier. The duo was hiding in the guesthouse since September 2010 with other Maoists including Kanchandeb Sinha, who was arrested on November 2010, from Trinamool block president Nepal Singh’s car in Shalboni. They have also participated in the recent Trinamool-PCAPA rally at Lalgarh. The joint forces team faced stiff resistance from local Trinamool men and women who had tried to prevent them from raiding the den for a second time. Six journalists suffered injuries when the police baton charged the mob to control the pandemonium. The police force has failed to nab the other suspected Maoists who have fled the den after breaking a window at the back of the building. (Source)

For quite a long time, Mamata Banerjee and her friends have mounted a shrill and systematic furor about CPI(M) sponsored “atrocities”. To slander the Marxist cadres, an obscure term “Harmad” was introduced in the Bengali lexicon. But after failing to influence the Center to advance the assembly elections or coerce the Union home minister to withdraw the central forces deployed in Bengal, a frustrated Trinamool chieftain, preoccupied by her reverie to capture the Bengal throne, deployed the few remaining choices from her kitty to prolong a murky political strategy till the elections.

Along with a section of the Bengali media which in recent times has opted for a shamelessly prejudiced role, she had employed a paltry group of Trinamool affiliated intellectuals to publicize the issue as loudly as possible. Recently the same group were spoon-fed and sent to meet the President and Prime Minister at the capital to raise the Harmad issue at the national level. At the same time, the Trinamool cliques covertly forged a tangible nexus with the Maoists, using their bloodthirsty operating procedure to spread terror in the villages where the Left foothold is traditionally rooted deep. Coalition compulsions at the Center enforced home minister P. Chidambaram to send a controversial letter to chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. The letter described Left cadres as Harmad, which prompted the chief minister to take strong objection to the usage. Till the Midnapore arrests happened, repeated allegations raised by the Left parties about a clear nexus between the Trinamool and the Maoists was not sounding credible enough as the media was more focused to dig up “Harmad camps” from distant village hamlets. From a shrewd assessment of the situation, Mamata Banerjee has correctly anticipated that the arrests of Amiya and Asim Mahato carry enough substances to jeopardize her meticulously crafted political game.

Before the Midnapore guest-house arrests, anti-Left opposition forces in and around the state was making relentless accusations against the feeble state administration which according to them is totally incapable of controlling the Maoists menace and the daily bloodshed in three districts – West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura. This tactic has backfired after the administration has started taking positive steps, raiding the dens and arresting many of the culprits. The same voices have now altered their claims and start accusing the government for selectively picking up Trinamool workers after labeling them as Maoists. Recently when the joint forces went to arrest the younger brother of a Trinamool block secretary in Nayagram near Lalgarh for alleged Maoist link, they were confronted by stone hurling Trinamool supporters. The unruly mob subsequently attacked the local the police station in protest of the raid and seriously injuring three police personnel, including an assistant sub-inspector. (Source) Mamata Banerjee has already started to claim that “cadres wearing CRPF uniforms and police had jointly raided” the guest-house and has accused the CPI(M) of “spreading lies and resorting to character assassination”. Trinamool Congress members took out a rally in Midnapore town wearing black badges in protest of the arrests. Following the Trinamool recipe, grass-eater intellectual cronies and pet media units have started a tantrum on the same line.


The “cute” Muslim Trinamool MP Kabir Suman, Mamata Banerjee’s prized catch during the Singur-Nandigram unrest was basically a Maoist plant in the Trinamool bandwagon. Within a year after his famous victory in the parliament elections, Kabir Suman’s sugary voice turned into bitter music to Mamata Banerjee's ears after he publicly went against his leader and party saying that the party is full of petty and corrupt leaders. Feeling stifled in an atmosphere where his only function has been reduced to signing papers sitting at home for his MPLAD funds, Suman had even announced resigning from the party. It took noted writer-activist Mahasweta Devi to meditate and shush Suman’s characteristic verboseness as the able lady, whom Mamata Banerjee had dedicated her party’s impressive parliament elections victory, had felt that the dispute will only help the CPI(M) and jeopardize their combined dream to dethrone the Left Front. Though Suman obediently backtracked, Mahasweta Devi’s intervention failed to convince a furious Trinamool chieftain. The relations soured extremely after Suman openly went against Operation Green Hunt and eulogized PCAPA leader Chhatradhar Mahato in his song Chhatradhar Gaan (Song for Chhatradhar) creating serious embarrassment to the party. The once ferocious anti-CPI(M) crusader was gelded and ditched by the party. He is now a broken man, treated as a liability by his leader whom he once loved to describe as a world-class leader. “Mamata Banerjee is a great leader, a phenomenon. It will take 100 years to understand the phenomenon of Mamata Banerjee,” he commented sarcastically in a recent interview. (Source) Mounting emotion he also said, “Mamata told me the party will decide what topics I can raise in the Lok Sabha. I was also told to get my speech approved by her. Is she Tagore that I have to show her my writings?” Kabir Suman role in Mamata Banerjee’s sordid play is all but over.

In his just-released book Nishaner nam Tapasi Malik (Tapasi Malik – the name of a symbol) dedicated to Asim Giri, Kishenji and others, Kabir Suman has exposed a direct link between the Trinamool and the Maoists by describing in detail how the two accomplices were collaborating with each other during the Nandigram land agitation. In the book, Suman graphically describes a Krishi Jomi Raksha Committee (Save Farmland Committee) meeting held at the Trinamool headquarters Trinamool Bhavan on 6 November 2007 to discuss on intervention possibilities in Nandigram: “When Asim and I reached there, we found several eminent persons….Those present at the meeting at Trinamul Bhavan included Trinamul leaders Sougata Roy, Sovandeb Chatterjee, PDS leader Samir Putatunda, two activists Raja Sarkhel and Prasun Chatterjee who are presently in jail charged under the draconian UAPA, Bhaskar Gupta and Anup Banerjee of TASAM organisation, Naxalites Purnendu Bose, Pradeep Banerjee and Dola Sen and many others. I was so excited and angry that I could not notice properly who else were there.”

Sarkhel and Chattopadhyay represented Gana Pratirodh Mancha, a Maoist frontal organization and were present at the meeting as Maoists link men. The duo Purnendu Basu and Dola Sen are former Naxalites turned Trinamool consultants. According to Suman, two former IAS officers Debobrata Bandopadhyay and Mostaq Murshed were also were present in that meeting. The gathering was so inspiring that Suman can’t restrain himself from delivering a spirited speech on the necessity of sending Kalashnikov rifles to the Trinamool workers at Nandigram. “I had a few words with Mamata in an adjacent room a while back in the presence of Sunanda Sanyal. Mamata was visibly angry. I told her – After what I saw in Satengabari and the way the CPI(M) is indiscriminately attacking and killing the villagers there, I cannot think about anything else other than armed resistance….” the singer wrote from a rabid revolutionary lust.

Kabir Suman also gave an eye-witness account of another strange meeting arranged on January 2009, just a few months before the “historically significant” parliament elections, at the farm house of painter Shuvaprasanna – Mamata Banerjee’s pet Rasputin. Though he has not disclosed the agenda, discussions or conclusions, the timing and the extraordinary participants of this meeting is strikingly significant. Along with Mamata Banerjee, this informal meeting was attended by the US, British and German Console Generals and BJP leader Tathagata Roy. Suman was also invited at the “historical” gathering to “entertain” the distinguished guests with his activistic music. Suman has claimed in his book that it was in this meeting were Mamata Banerjee “insisted” him to contest the elections, a proposal he eventually agreed to after some initial hesitancy.


Information about the Trinamool’s covert tactics of aiding and abetting the Maoists are getting exposed at regular intervals and will go on swelling in the coming days. In July 2010, reports have come out in Mail Today about how Mamata Banerjee’s trusted point man Shuvendu Adhikary, the suitable son of rural development minister of state Sisir Adhikari and a MP by his own “right”, had maintained day to day link with Maoist leaders in Nandigram and supplied over 1,000 rounds of ammunition to them. The information came out when the CID was interrogating the arrested Nandigram zonal committee secretary of CPI(Maoist) Madhusudan Mondal alias Narayan. Mondol also disclosed that his party had set up their base in Nandigram in March 2007 and formed the first zonal committee in September 2007 in the presence of Maoist leaders Venkateshwar Reddy alias Telegu Deepak and Sudip Congder alias Kanchan.

Many of our alert and awake intellectuals, artists, academics and social-workers who periodically bake their revolutionary conscience on the Singur-Nandigram oven still loves to mention it as a genuine people’s uprising. But Madhusudan Mondal reveals quite a different story. While the Trinamool Congress was conspicuously setting up the Bhumi Ucched Pratirodh Committee (BUPC) along with the Maoists and other likeminded parties consisting of right wingers in disguise of left liberals, nationalists, centrists and the numerous fringe factions from the ultra left to congregate people for a “non-violent movement” against land acquisition, side by side they had also began to arm local Trinamool cadres’ with the help of the Maoists.

Two training camps were covertly organized at the Sonachura Primary School and Sonachura Shitala Mandir were more than fifty BUPC and Trinamool members undertook arms training. The Maoist leaders smuggled in eighteen .315, four .303 caliber rifles and one 9 mm carbine, set up one make-shift arms-manufacturing unit in an abandoned house in Goalpara village near Sonachura and manufactured fifty .315 caliber firearms. The BUPC army was also in possession of twenty claymore mines. Shuvendu Adhikary brought a group of people from Contai who knew how to use arms. After the Nandigram battle was “won” and the CPI(Maoists) decided to withdraw from Nandigram, the unused arms and ammunition were deposited with four Trinamool leaders which the BUPC and Trinamool leaders refused to return. (Source)

In January this year, a faxed statement dated December 31 and signed by regional Maoist leader Bikram was widely published in the national media. “Starting from the Singur movement and Nandigram movement to the Lalgarh movement, we have fought alongside the Trinamool Congress against the police and CPI(M) harmads… Ms. Banerjee had protested against Azad’s killing and deployment of Central forces and we had supported her. Our alliance continues till date,” claimed Bikram who is a member of the CPI(Maoist) Bengal-Jharkhand-Orissa regional committee and in-charge of West Bengal’s Purulia unit. Claiming that “we were together everywhere,” Bikram continued in the statement: “Due to our joint efforts, the demon called CPI(M) is on the back foot in West Bengal ... people want this ... we also want to maintain and strengthen our relationship with Banerjee.” However, he has advised the Trinamool chieftain and Union railways minister to “resign from the anti-people union government and sever links with the Congress” and subsequently cautioned her that otherwise “people will throw away Banerjee’s party.” Conceivably, the beast has started demanding returns from its rider. (Source)


After winning the 2006 assembly elections with a landslide, the Marxists of Bengal became too much contented and self-assured. Naively assuming the massive victory as a clear mandate in favor of their industrial policy, the seventh Left Front government under the leadership of Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee went on pursuing the policy with too much haste. A ruinous arrogance crept in amongst those in power; party leaders started losing touch with the people. The initial nonchalance exhibited by the state government and the CPI(M) in response to the protests in Singur and Nandigram was a result of that attitude. In fact, both the state government and the party were caught off-guard by the spread and rapidity of the unrest. Even before they recognized the full extent of the problem, a substantial chunk of the rural mass base which was instrumental in keeping them in power since 1977 deserted the Left, particularly in places where the issue of land acquisition had a direct impact on the life and livelihood of the people. A series of administrative blunders committed by the government during the Singur and Nandigram events has also contributed to the downslide. When the enormity of the blunders was properly comprehended, it was all but too late.

The indiscretion committed by the Left came as an unexpected boon to Mamata Banerjee who was virtually panting on the sidelines after her 2006 election disaster. From Kabir Suman’s voluntary submissions, it is now quite clear that the Trinamool chieftain had also received significant push from certain shady sections. Spearheading massive protests over the issue of forced acquisition of farmland, Mamata Banerjee and her friends were successful to fracture the Left supremacy first in the panchayat elections in 2008 and then in the 2009 parliament elections when the Left Front’s strength was reduced from 35 in 2004, to only 15 of the total 42 seats. The subsequent municipal elections held on May 2010 signaled Trinamool’s growing political momentum in the state after the party inflicted another blow to the ruling Left Front by winning a majority of the municipal bodies.

Clearly, the serious erosion in the Left support base was the direct fallout of an overall failure of the Left parties to convince people on the inclusive nature of their industrial policy and the benefits it will bring to the underprivileged. Analyzing the Left’s debacle, Jadavpur University Professor of English Nilanjana Gupta has rightly pointed out in an article how the Left Front, particularly the CPI(M), became a victim of their own successes of the past after they pursued a capital-led industrialization policy. According to Nilanjana, “…people did not want to see their chief minister as just another state leader desperate for investment and their government as just another pro-capitalist facilitator of the powerful and wealthy industrialists. The Left was supposed to be different.” (Source)

But Mamata Banerjee and her cronies knew very well that defeating the Left in the assembly elections is altogether a different ballgame. After the initial shock, the Left will undertake a serious and through introspection, analyze its weaknesses, streamline their organizational laxities, chuck out some of the vices born out of unchallenged power for decades and firmly re-position itself. They are aware that a tough regimented party like the CPI(M) will rapidly overcome the setback suffered in the elections and recover lost ground through thousands of their sincere, selfless and dedicated workers and followers. Simultaneously, the state government will proactively initiate socially oriented populist programs focused solely on the underprivileged, marginalized and minorities. They are also aware that it is truly difficult to sustain the favorable public mood for a longer time as rampant corruption and nepotism will surface almost every day from Trinamool run panchayats and municipalities. The people will also start realizing the emptiness of the railways minister’s numerous phony programs and projects. Within ten months after laying the foundation stone with huge fanfare, the Indian Railways had to put on hold the Rs 860 crore state-of-the-art EMU coach factory at Kanchrapara due to acute fund crunch. (Source)

The first obvious signs of the Left’s turn-around came from the students and teachers. In the ongoing students union elections, CPI(M) students wing Students Federation of India (SFI) has performed remarkably well to win majority of the college unions. The SFI has even grabbed many seats which have been with the Trinamool students wing TMCP for a long time. Till January 20, the SFI has managed to win 150 of the 230 colleges that have gone to the elections which include the prestigious Presidency College which the SFI has won after five years and the hypersensitive Asutosh College – located a stone’s throw away from Mamata Banerjee’s Kolkata home. The SFI has also swept Prabhu Jagadbandhu College in Andul where a second year student and SFI candidate Swapan Koley was thrashed with iron rods and brutally killed by Trinamool goons just before the election. In the District Primary Education Council elections, left-backed candidates won 185 of the 192 seats. The Left bagged most of the seats in South Bengal defeating Trinamool backed candidates where the Left parties had faced a rout in the 2009 parliament elections and retained all the 45 seats in North Bengal. (Source)

These are the key reason behind a worried Trinamool chieftain’s shrill cry to advance the assembly elections and her persistent demand to withdraw the central forces deployed in Bengal. The tricksters of her political advisory board have understood that the most effective way to neutralize the Left workers and ensure a smooth sailing to Writers’ Building is to create an atmosphere of terror in Bengal by triggering bloodbath. The gruesome plan includes selectively annihilating the local level leaders of Left parties in the most brutal way possible. The Maoists came as a handy tool in this regard. In Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand, “friendly” mainstream politicians had found them useful to secure electoral gains. Between May 2009 and January 2011, 366 Left leaders and workers have been butchered in West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura by the Maoists – the real Harmads of Bengal. West Midnapore has borne the maximum brunt of the Maoist attacks due to the dynamic support received by the Maoists from father-son duo Sisir and Shuvendu Adhikari. There are forty state assembly seats in the three districts. Though an absolute stronghold of the Left, the seats are too vital for the Trinamool to ignore.

Even when there is nothing much to hide about the Trinamool-Maoist diabolic nexus, pet Trinamool intellectuals are hysterically trying to resist the recent exposures as misleading or outright fictitious. Hailed by a section of the “independent” media for “fighting a battle of the mind that has shaken the Left,” this herbivorous group that includes an adequate proportion of buffoons and cunning opportunists has sensed the damaging ramifications of the Midnapore incidence. As a desperate effort, sharp looking “ideological” questions are thrown at the Left to distract the real issue. The Left is asked – Why are you so bothered about the Trinamool-Maoists nexus? What significance does it carry when the people of Bengal have already made up their minds to vote you out in the coming assembly polls? Should you not instead introspect and try to rectify your atrocious conduct and anti-people policy and programs? In appropriate time, all the questions our cocksure intellectuals are asking will fly back like a boomerang and hit them straight with greater intensity. Till then it will be wise to wait and watch.