ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Fresh Violence in Lalgarh

The one month-long tribal agitation against police atrocities in Lalgarh was withdrawn in early December 2008 when the state administration formally agreed to the tribals’ major demands. But cadres belonging to the Communist Party of India (Marxist) – CPI(M) – have yet again indulged in violence since that very day of withdrawal. On 1 February 2009, the CPI(M) zonal committee leader, Nandalal Pal, was murdered by suspected Maoists. The trouble started the very next day when a group of CPI(M) supporters, accompanied by a posse of policemen, attempted to enter the Khas Jangal village with the dead body of the party leader. Around a thousand tribals including women under the banner of the People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) blocked their way, protesting against the presence of men in khaki in the funeral procession. Eyewitnesses claimed that three vehicles emerged from nowhere suddenly and started spraying bullets on the protesters. Three tribals died and many more sustained serious injuries. The CPI(M) and the PCAPA are blaming each other for the violence. The CPI(M) district secretary, Dipak Sarkar, has claimed that the clash was between the Maoist-supported PCAPA and villagers, and not the CPI(M). But, Chhatradhar Mahato, the PCAPA secretary, squarely blamed the CPI(M) for the violence. Jaba Soren, sister of slain Gopinath Soren, stated to the media that the CPI(M) supporters had fired on them. It is also reported in the media that the tribals admitted in the Medinipur Medical College hospital are being pressurised by the police to give a statement that “they have been wounded by their own bullets”.

Arup Kumar Sen

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