Indian Vanguard

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Archive for July 12th, 2009

An Overview of Lalgarh: A Hopeful Spark

Posted by Admin on July 12, 2009

And the riot be the rhyme of the unheard…
– Zack de la Rocha
Background of the Movement
At this moment an incredible event is taking place in the West Midnapore district of West Bengal. Before the eruption, this sleepy area was little known except to its own inhabitants. Now, a people’s movement of unprecedented size to West Bengal has risen from the suffering of its adivasi (tribal) inhabitants, galvanizing the region, and shocking greater India. This movement has been popularly termed “the Lalgarh uprising.”

Although one could accurately say the point of eruption of this rebellion occurred early in November of 2008, it is necessary to step back further in order to appreciate the context within which these events have unfolded. Lalgarh is an incredibly impoverished area of West Bengal. It contains one well-developed road—built to accommodate police—that is of little use to its indigenous inhabitants to whom even a motorbike is a rarity. Neither clean water nor electricity is available. Police brutality was a regular occurrence where villagers were detained and tortured for little or no reason—some singled out for repeated horrific abuse. (De, 2008) For many years the State promised development in the area, yet little to none was seen. In 2007, the Jindal Steel Group was given rights to set up a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) for steel production and was awarded a huge portion of land (different reports claim figures somewhere between 4,500 and 5,000 acres). Read the rest of this entry »

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Lalgarh: Intellectuals, Maoists and the State

Posted by Admin on July 12, 2009

Saturday 11 July 2009, by Ambrose Pinto

Intellectuals concerned with issues of people have been under attack in recent years in different states. The Karnataka Government had prepared a list of teachers of colleges, editors of newspapers and some NGOs alleging them to be close to the Naxals in the State because of their involvement in the anti-communal struggle. A group of them including Girish Karnad, Professor Govind Rao, Dr Sridhar and a host others were arrested in 2003 when they had gone to participate in a rally in support of the Supreme Court decision to maintain neutrality at the Bababudan Giri shrine in Chikmagalur when the saffron forces were attempting to communalise the Sufi shrine. In fact, it was the Congress Government headed by S.M. Krishna, the present Foreign Minister of the country, that was in power then. The allegation against Binayak Sen was similar. He was dubbed as a sympathiser of the Naxalites and kept in jail for more than a year without trail. Now you have the West Bengal Government. Days after some members of civil society went to Lalgarh to broker peace, the police have lodged a general complaint against film-maker Aparna Sen, dramatist Shaonli Mitra, poet Joy Goswami and others with breaking Section 144 while entering the villages. Read the rest of this entry »

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CPI-M and Politics of Governance

Posted by Admin on July 12, 2009

In a seminal lecture (2005), the eminent political theorist, Partha Chatterjee, argued that upto the end of the 1970s ideology played an important role in Indian politics. The popularity of a political leader depended on the sacrifices she/he made. But, a new paradigm has emerged in Indian politics in the last three decades. The present-day political leaders seem to be self-centred, opportunist, greedy and consumerist persons. Ordinary people are forced to negotiate with such local leaders in everyday life. Violence and the threat of violence have become an organic part of this new “politics of governance“, argued Chatterjee.

The new paradigm of politics identified by Chatterjee may be helpful in understanding the Communist Party of India-Marxist’s politics in West Bengal in recent years. Read the rest of this entry »

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CPI-M’s Downhill Journey in Bengal

Posted by Admin on July 12, 2009

Saturday 11 July 2009, by Barun Das Gupta on Mainstream Weekly

First the panchayat elections last year, then the Lok Sabha elections this May, and now the municipal polls. The CPI-M’s downhill journey to defeat, disgrace, despair and eventual dislodgement from power continues. One need not be an astrologer or a psephologist to predict that the curtains on the party’s 34 years of uninterrupted rule in West Bengal will be finally rung down in the State Assembly elections in 2011.

The civic election results are significant because they reflect the mood of the urban electorate. And it is among the urban voters that the CPI-M mounted a shrill propaganda campaign against Mamata Banerjee, the leader of the Trinamul Congress-SUC-Congress alliance, portraying her as the embodiment of forces opposing Bengal’s industrialisation and consequent generation of jobs for the educated unemployed middle class youth. She was conspiring to keep Bengal permanently backward—so ran the CPI-M propaganda. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mahasweta Devi rallies for Lalgarh tribals

Posted by Admin on July 12, 2009

Author Mahasweta Devi led a rally in protest against the presence of security forces in Lalgarh on Saturday. Besides intellectuals like Sunando Sanyal and Pratul Mukhopadhyay, members of nearly 60 other organisations, including the Bhoomi Ucched Pratirodh Committee, were present in the rally.

“Why are the Central and state forces suddenly taking action against the people of Lalgarh, when for so many years nothing was done? For over three decades the government did nothing for the people, there has been absolutely no development in the area,” she said.

The author, who has lived and worked among the tribals for many years, added that they were still among the poorest people in the state.

“They don’t have BPL cards and do not get rice at the minimum rate. Now the government is trying to sell their land by giving them false promises of jobs and a secure future. The government is curbing all the protests in the area since they want to project a picture of calm to the Jindals,” she said.

Lawyer Sujato Bhadro, who was present at the rally, said after an organisation was declared illegal, there was always a review committee with a judge in whose presence people accused of being members of that organisation were supposed to be tried. “There is no such committee and the judge, the government has simply banned Maoists without forming this panel,” said Bhadro.

Indian Express

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