Let us look at the context of the present situation in Lalgarh. Ever since the police committed atrocities in November last, people’s discontent took the form of a mass rebellion against state terror. The joint attacks by the police and the main ruling party were repulsed by the adivasi people of the area under the leadership of the People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities. Four members of the committee lost their lives as a result of such attacks.
Despite persistent demands for the punishment of those policemen who committed crimes, the state government has done absolutely nothing in this regard. On the contrary, in the post-election period, they had made the blueprint for police action and further complicated the situation by arresting some people on cooked-up charges. On 12 June at Dharampur, the hermads (goons) of the main ruling party launched attacks against the members of the People’s Committee. The consequent resistance against such attacks took the form of a mass revolt and the residence of a person identified as an oppressor and his party office was attacked.
We hold that the inefficiency of the State government as also the backing given to unholy forces by them have created such an explosive situation. The steps the state government has taken for its ‘solution’ will create a dangerous situation and lead to more bloodshed. The employment of the central para-military force and the butcher ‘cobra’ units effectively implies declaration of war against the people. Needless to say, it would close the door for the restoration of democratic atmosphere.
We believe that the Lalgarh struggle is rooted in centuries of deprivation, exploitation and humiliation. It is rooted in socio-economic exploitation. It can never be an ‘administrative’ or ‘law and order’ problem. The question is political, not military. We condemn in unequivocal terms this deployment of para-military forces by the state and central governments in Lalgarh. We maintain that the state should immediately come out of this path of bloody confrontation and sit down for talks with the representatives of the struggling people of Jangal Mahal and make a sincere attempt to arrive at a solution.
Mahasweta Devi, Aparna Sen, Bibhas Chakrabarty, Sujato Bhadra, Amit Bhattacharyya, Joy Goswami, Subhendu Dasgupta, manas Joardar, Chaitali Datta, Tarun Naskar, Tarun Sanyal, Pallab Kirtaniya, Kalyan Roy, Bratya Basu, Shanta Dey, Bhaskar Gupta, Debabrata Panda, Jibankrishna Dey, Debaprasad Roychoudhuri, Sanchita Bhoumik, Kamala Adak, Gopa Mitra, Layla Khaled, Ratna Sengupta, Ranjan Chakraborty, Siddhartha Saha, Sukhendu Bhattacharya, Gopa Mukherjee, Debashis Goswami, Dipanan Roychoudhry and many others