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

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The Other Lalgarh Story

Very recently, EPW has carried two articles – one by Malini Bhattacharya (15 August) and the other by Debasish Chakraborty (20 November) – both of which have highlighted Maoist violence in West Bengal in recent years but maintained silence on state violence. Bhattacharya argued that it would be a travesty of truth to say that the labouring adivasi people of the Jangalmahal area have not benefited at all from the 32 years of the Left Front government. “For the last six to seven years, it is the Maoists who have aggressively opposed development works in these areas, further adding to the people’s woes”, argued Chakraborty. But, Chakraborty mentioned categorically that among those who got land rights in West Bengal up to 2008, 5.36 lakhs are tribal.

It may be mentioned in this context that a recent report carried in the Economic Times documented the dark side of the “Lalgarh Story” in the mainstream language of development. The percentage of BPL population in Lalgarh has gone up from 52.05 to 84.85 during 2005-09. Can the abject poverty in Lalgarh be explained solely in terms of Maoist opposition to “development” initiatives of the state?

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