Mamata Banerjee’s goons silence an entire village #WTFnews


Kamalendu Bhadra, TNN | Jun 19, 2013, 0

Mamata visits rape victim's family; loses cool

Mamata visits rape victim’s family; loses cool
KAMDUNI (BARASAT): “Shut up”, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee had shouted atKamduni women on Monday. Her party toughs ensured they did. When TOI visited the village on Tuesday, the roar of a hundred women the previous day had been replaced by a deadening stillness.

Branded “CPM supporters” and browbeaten by the CM, the women shut up and shut themselves indoors. On Monday, they had rushed to their Didi simply to seek safety in an area where sexual brutality is the order of the day. Mamata’s outburst shocked them. Trinamool Congress‘ scare tactics silenced them.

Party toughs targeted Tumpa Koyal, who had gone eyeball to eyeball with Mamata on Monday, demanding that the Kamduni women be heard. Tumpa was a friend of the rape-murder victim and had studied with her till Class X. She had left her lunch on Monday and run after the CM, pleading to be heard. Mamata turned around and called her a CPM supporter.

On Tuesday, a rough-talking lungi-clad man, who identified himself as gram sabhapati Goutam Naskar, arrived at Tumpa’s doorstep along with seven-eight musclemen and threatened her parents, demanding that she apologize publicly for “insulting our beloved chief minister”.

“Mind it, this is for your own good,” he cautioned.

Luckily, her husband had whisked her away in the dead of night. Naskar then demanded her mobile number. Her parents said they didn’t have it. “You want me to believe that you don’t have your daughter’s contact number?” he thundered, warning everyone around that “party leaders” had started collecting “bio-data on all Kamduni women”.

Tumpa’s parents pleaded with folded hands to spare her, but Naskar shooed them away, saying Tumpa had to “stand in the middle of the village courtyard and confess she had committed a grave mistake”.

“Do you know how easy it is to get hold of someone’s mobile number,” Naskar warned her parents as he walked off.

The village courtyard, which was bustling for the past few days, looked deserted. The lanes were all but empty. The local school couldn’t even muster 30% attendance as the frightened villagers kept their kids indoors. Some women sitting at a tubewell scurried off when TOI tried to talk to them. One of them covered her face with her hands and said: “Don’t ask us anything. We haven’t seen anything, said anything or know anything. We don’t even exist.” The stink of fear was stifling.

It took an hour or so of knocking on doors before they opened up. “We ran after Didi just to tell our problems. We thought she would understand the village women’s fear. Instead, she treated us like dogs,” said Shankari Mondal. “She (Mamata Banerjee) has ruthlessly shattered our confidence. The message is clear to the culprits, they’ll reclaim their territory in a few days. The whole village fears the worst.”

Their fear is understandable, said Debu Mondal, a villager. “The women had lost all hope on the police and local leaders. Yesterday, they lost their last, very deep-rooted hope when Didi cursed them. Where will they go now?”

“We are scared. The whole village is tagged as ‘CPM’. Tell me, do you see a single CPM flag anywhere? This time, only one Left Front candidate could file his nomination in the 12 seats. Trinamool has a clean sweep here. We apprehend her anger will give rise to an evil force. We were only trying to bring some peace and stability in this unfortunate village,” said Poritosh Mondal, a farmer.

Another woman said: “We didn’t go for a movement. Didi was our last refuge. We just wanted to hold her hand but she let us down. We feel helpless. Who do we turn to?” Kamduni primary school headmaster Pradip Mukherjee understood the villagers’ plight. “When the villagers referred to her as ‘Didi’, how can they be in the opposition? The call ‘Didi’ itself is so affectionate and cordial. There must have been some miscommunication,” he said.

Tumpa’s father Probhas, a daily wage worker in a fishery, and her mother Molina were scared even to disclose their identity. “Look at our ramshackle hut. Do you think we work for CPM? My worry is whether I can feed my family the next meal,” said Probhas.

On the way back, we saw a young woman hurrying across the culvert on Bidyadhari canal, looking back now and then. It was just getting dark under a cloudy sky. A group of women armed with a lantern and torch emerged from a bylane and rebuked her for daring to move out alone “so late”. It was only 5.15pm. One of the women said: “Be careful. The times have changed.”

 

People should oppose FDI in retail: Mahasweta Devi #mustshare


 

Kolkata, May 21 — Supporting West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee‘s decision to withdraw from the UPA last September on the issue of FDI in retail, eminent writer Mahasweta Devi Tuesday exhorted people from all walks of life to protest against the measure.

“Of course, I support our chief minister’s decision to withdraw from the centre on FDI. I think everybody should protest against it. People from all walks of life should contribute in their own way in standing up against it,” Mahasweta Devi said while launching a book “FDI-Gobhir Shorjontror Shikar Aamra” (FDI-We are a target of conspiracy).

The 89-year-old Jnanpith awardee suggested tapping into indigenous resources for India‘s growth and development.

“We have sufficient resources. If we use them properly then India can walk on a path of progress and development,” she said.

Mahasweta Devi said she was “somewhat satisfied” with the state government’s stance on introduction of foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail.

Commending the Trinamool Congress for “trying” to bring about changes during its two years in power, she said it is too early to comment on its impact.

“It’s too early to comment. It has just completed two years. It hasn’t done too good or anything worth praising nor it has done anything bad worth criticising.

“It’s trying… let’s just say that,” she added.

Trinamool Congress Monday completed two years in power in West Bengal.

 

nydailynews.com

 

#India – Systematic diversion of community resources to the private sector #mustread


Pits of sleaze

 Frontline

Show Caption
1 / 5
  • AT a mine in Chhattisgarh. Indiscriminate mining by cement plants here have resulted in the displacement of people in Adivasi areas.
  • Anil Ambani holds a jar containing the first coal from his Reliance Power's Sasan mines in Madhya Pradesh, in Mumbai on September 4, 2012. Critics say the government is subsidising private electricity discoms like Reliance and the Tatas and asking the poor to pay higher tariffs for electricity.
  • Coal-loaded wagons in Kolkata. The guidelines for allocating coal blocks were changed from time to time to facilitate increased participation of the private sector.
  • Aam Aadmi Party leaders outside the residence of Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on April 28 with power bills collected from people.
  • Atal Bihari Vajpayee. As many as 32 coal blocks were allocated when he led the NDA government.

Systematic diversion of community resources to the private sector in the name of growing energy demands has been the trend since the advent of neoliberal policies, but the allocation of coal blocks by the UPA-II government was done in total violation of norms. By AJOY ASHIRWAD MAHAPRASHASTA in New Delhi

ON the face of it, the Parliamentary Standing Committee’s report on the allocation of coal blocks is a formal indictment of the United Progressive Alliance-II government, which not only failed to adhere to legal and bureaucratic procedures while allowing captive coal mining but also doled out mining licences selectively to incompetent and unprofessional companies. Firstly, the standing committee, headed by Trinamool Congress leader Kalyan Banerjee, says its report, called “Review of allotment, development and performance of coal/lignite blocks”, scrutinised the functioning of the screening committee and examined the guidelines for the allocation of coal blocks. Secondly, it pointed out that the monitoring mechanism and the review of coal blocks by an Inter-Ministerial Group had been far less than satisfactory.

Barely had the UPA-II government recovered from similar allegations in the 2G spectrum case when the standing committee report on coal blocks gifted the opposition yet another opportunity to shout down the government in Parliament on an issue that has been on the nation’s mind in the last one year: corruption. While the standing committee highlights the inadequacies of the UPA-II government in its report, it does not, however, link the bureaucratic malpractices with the neoliberal governance model that India adopted in the early 1990s and its structural malaise. Two trends are absolutely clear from the findings of the standing committee. One, a crony capitalist structure as a result of economic deregulation has firmly entrenched itself in the political ethos of India. Both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are not just integral to this structure but have helped perpetuate it. Two, India has witnessed a systematic diversion of community resources like coal and other minerals to private hands, which have scant respect for either the environment or inclusive development. The diversion was justified by different governments since 1991 in the name of the growing energy demands of India. Both these trends are not mutually exclusive as can be inferred from the standing committee’s findings.

The standing committee points out that the Union government has abused its powers and handed out natural resources to a few “fortunate” companies, without following a transparent system. In the course of its investigation, it also found that some of the companies which had been allocated coal blocks were neither professional mining companies, nor did they have the expertise to conduct scientific mining. This is a clear violation of the guidelines for the allocation of coal blocks. In fact, the screening committee and the inter-ministerial group colluded to allocate illegitimate mining licences. Consequently, it has demanded an investigation into the decisions of the screening committees and recommended strong penal action against those involved in such an arbitrary process.

Systemic changes 

Such partisanship in governance is not just a consequence of institutional corruption. The systematic tweaking of laws and guidelines since the early 1990s points to the fact that such institutional corruption is an inevitable outcome of a larger economic model and a philosophy that advocates the withdrawal of the state from all processes of regulation. To understand this in the context of coal allocations, it is imperative to understand how the concept of captive mining came about and how it was facilitated by different governments.

With the advent of the private-sector-led economic growth model in the 1990s, the Coal Ministry declared that the production of coal should be doubled in 10 years to sustain the growing manufacturing sector. Since around 70 per cent of India’s power supply comes from coal, the Ministry estimated that a sustainable growth rate of 8 per cent over 10 years would require the production of 90,000 megawatts (MW) of thermal power. To reach this target, the Ministry planned to open 500 coal mines over the next 10 years in addition to the existing 600 mines.

To facilitate such massive production, the government decided to invite private companies to coal mining. This required amendments to the Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act, 1973, which mandated that only government agencies can have access to the coal resources of the country. The standing committee quotes the Coal Ministry’s response in its report: “Under the Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act, 1973, coal mining was exclusively reserved for the public sector. Coal India Ltd (CIL) and Singareni Coal Companies Ltd (SCCL) had the main responsibility of supplying coal to all end users. However, in the face of burgeoning demand, these companies were not able to meet the entire demand due to resource constraints, resulting in import of coal. This necessitated allotment of captive blocks to specified end users, mainly to augment availability and bridge the gap between demand and supply of coal. Captive blocks are allocated only in some specific priority sectors.”

Many energy analysts believe that allowing private players’ entry was a strategic failure in itself, and instead of taking the easy route, the government could have invested in government agencies to make them technologically equipped to handle high pressures. Moreover, what made the government believe that CIL was ill-equipped to handle the growing demand is a moot question. The government, at this point, conveniently forgot that coal mining had been nationalised precisely because private companies were not in a position to adequately increase the investment in their mines. The standing committee report says: “As adequate capital investment to meet the burgeoning energy needs of the country was not forthcoming from the private coal-mine owners, unscientific mining practices adopted by some of them and poor working conditions of labour in some of the private coal mines became matters of concern for the government. On account of these reasons, the Central government took a decision to nationalise the private coal mines.”

The amendment to the CMN Act came about in a conspicuously hurried way. In 1992, the Ministry of Coal stated that the amendment was a “matter of urgency” and initiated measures for the promulgation of an ordinance to amend the Act. However, the Law Ministry disapproved it. Hence an amendment Bill was passed in July 1992 in the Rajya Sabha but was held up in the Lok Sabha. This time, citing its urgency, the government promulgated an ordinance in January 1993, which the Law Ministry approved. Finally, the Bill was approved by the Lok Sabha in April 1993. The amendments to the CMN Act allowed private sector participation in coal mining operations for captive consumption towards generation of power and “other end uses” which may be notified from time to time.

However, after a fierce debate the government allowed for some regulatory guidelines, which, the standing committee points out, were openly violated. The guidelines laid down certain principles for allocating coal blocks, in order to protect government agencies and prevent private companies from operating unsystematically. It said: “A) The blocks in greenfield areas where basic infrastructure like road, rail links and power lines are not immediately available should only be given to private sector. The areas where CIL has already invested in creating such infrastructures for opening new mines should not be handed over to the private sector. B) The blocks offered to private sector should be away from the existing mines and projects of CIL. C) Blocks already identified for development by CIL should not be offered to the private sector. D) Private sector should be asked to bear the full cost of exploration in these blocks which will be offered to them.”

However, most of the coal blocks allocated throughout India were not in greenfield areas but in populated areas. It is because of such high-handedness in coal allocation that both government and private companies have consistently faced resistance in times of land acquisition. The standing committee found that not only were many coal blocks of CIL diverted to private companies but that this happened where CIL had already developed enough infrastructure for mining. Many coal blocks were allocated by diverting lands of reserved forests. The “no-go zones”, meant to protect the forests, were hurriedly converted to “go zones” to open up private mining in the forests. The most pertinent example of such allocations is in Chhattisgarh, where private coal mining has mushroomed around Central Coalfields Ltd, a holding company of CIL (“Mining Tussle”, Frontline, July 16, 2010).

Expansion of end use 

The amended Act allowed the private sector to meet the growing demands of energy. However, a vague description of “end use” allowed the government to permit coal mining for industries ranging from iron and steel to cement. The standing committee notes that the production of cement was included as an approved end-use for the purpose of captive mining of coal in 1996. Therefore, cement-producing companies also became eligible to undertake coal mining for captive consumption, instead of buying coal from the market. Indiscriminate mining by cement plants in Chhattisgarh has resulted in chaos and large-scale displacement of people in Adivasi areas (“Standing up to the state”, Frontline, June 17, 2011).

Guidelines were also changed from time to time to facilitate increased participation of the private sector. The standing committee notes: “The Ministry has informed the committee that guidelines were first framed in 1993. Thereafter consolidated guidelines were framed and adopted in 2003. The guidelines were further modified in 2005 and in 2006. In 2005, the Expert Committee on Coal Sector Reforms provided recommendation on improving the allocation process, and in 2010, the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act was enacted, providing for coal blocks to be sold through competitive bidding.”

A detailed report compiled in 2008 by the New Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment, which gives the scale of ecological damage done by such indiscriminate mining, notes: “Every major legislative and regulatory change that has happened in the last 14 years in India in the mining and minerals industry has been done in the name of the National Mineral Policy (NMP) (1993). The mining sector has been opened up for private investments, foreign direct investment has been allowed and regulations have been relaxed (by the NMP).”

NDA’s active involvement 

Initially, facilitation of the private sector’s entry into mining came from the Congress party. And despite its vocal criticisms against the UPA-II in the matter of coal allocations, the record of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is no good. In fact, it can be held equally culpable. The list of NDA’s achievements on the BJP’s website proudly declares that it introduced the most significant energy scheme in India’s history. The scheme was more of a vision called “Power to all by 2012”. The standing committee notes: “The production of coal assumed a greater significance after 2003 when Government of India pronounced a mission ‘power to all by 2012’. Accordingly, the GOI envisaged capacity addition of 1,00,000 MW of power by 2012 and in order to meet this increased capacity, corresponding increase in the coal production was required in X-XI Plan periods (2002-12).”

In fact, Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government made coal allocation in a much greater way than the Congress had done before. As many as 218 coal blocks were allocated from 1993 to 2010. While only five and four blocks respectively were allocated under Prime Ministers P.V. Narasimha Rao and H.D. Deve Gowda, Vajpayee took an unguarded approach while allocating coal blocks. Thirty-two blocks were allocated during the NDA government. The Congress, of course, took this rash approach further by allocating 175 coal blocks from 2004 to 2010.

Along with the “Power to all by 2012”, the NDA regime passed the New Electricity Act, 2003, with the stated objective of helping electrify rural areas. But not so public is the fact that the power sector was deregulated and private players were allowed to generate and supply electricity. This facilitated the entry of private companies into power generation, which required thermal power. The NDA regime provided extraordinary facilities to the new players and at the same time disinvested in public sector power plants. Coal blocks were allocated to power companies, cement plants, steel factories, and so on, within the same region so that they could dig out coal for their primary businesses at a minimum cost of transportation. This meant that many companies were allocated mining licences without having any expertise in it. It worked like this: a company chooses a “coal block” and submits an application to the Ministry to mine there, in a process called “linkage”, and the Coal Ministry allocates mining rights to the company after getting an environmental clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

The Ministry of Coal told the standing committee that there were three ways of allocating coal blocks. The first method was called “captive dispensation through screening committee”, where most of the violations of guidelines happened. The standing committee notes that the screening committee allocated coal blocks in a highly opaque manner. It has also pointed out various instances of the inter-ministerial group interfering in the screening process to allocate coal blocks to a few companies. Who can forget the instance of the Delhi-based Pushp Steel, which got a mining lease in Chhattisgarh for only Rs.1,00,000, with no experience or capital, both prerequisites for allocation?

The second method was “government company dispensation”, in which coal blocks were allocated to government agencies. The standing committee has highlighted various instances where CIL allowed private companies to mine in its coal blocks. The third was “tariff based competitive bidding”, where coal blocks were auctioned.

Auctioning of community resources like coal, in the last 15 years, has led to a speculative rise in the prices of coal. “Speculative rise in coal prices has led to multiplier effects on common people. Increased tariff of electricity and price rise in most products in the market are a result of this. Instead of such auctioning, if the energy sector, which I consider a very crucial sector, had remained in the hands of public-sector units, common people would not have experienced such a steep price rise in the last few years. Today, the situation is ironical. The government is subsidising private electricity discoms like Reliance and Tatas, and the poor are being asked to pay higher tariffs for electricity,” Ashok Rao, president of the National Confederation of Officers’ Associations (NCOA) of Central Public Sector Enterprises, told Frontline.

Policy changes are made to ensure inclusive and real development. However, a hasty change in the economic approach since the 1990s entailed that the government showed an extraordinary willingness to stop all forms of regulation and still retain its power to control economic processes. This is a sordid mix, the outcome of which can be nothing but scams such as this one. The standing committee notes: “218 coal blocks allocated with geological reserves of about 50 billion tonnes have been allocated to eligible public and private companies under the Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act, 1973. Out of that, 25 coal blocks have been de-allocated. Out of de-allocated coal blocks, two coal blocks were re-allocated to eligible companies under the said Act. Thus, the net allocated blocks are 195 coal blocks with geological reserves (GR) of about 44.23 billion tonnes…. Out of 195 coal blocks allocated so far for captive mining, 30 blocks have started coal production and out of 160 captive coal blocks allocated during 2004 to 2008, only two have started production.” The standing committee also notes with shock that no revenue was accrued to the government from the allocations and recommends that all allocations from 1993 to 2011 be investigated.

Such dubious record puts a question mark over not only the efficiency of new policies but also on the unholy government-industry partnership which promotes such policies. “The arbitrary distribution of mining licences has led to the emergence of a secondary market. The companies get mining licences but resell them to other players, completely disregarding the end-use for which they had got the licence in the first place,” said Nilotpal Basu of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

Among the five companies raided by the Central Bureau of Investigation was the Hyderabad-based Navbharat Power. This company was allotted two coal blocks in Odisha in 2008, but it sold them to Essar for Rs.230 crore a year later without developing the block. The guidelines place no restrictions on such reselling. Companies have applied for coal blocks without any experience and expertise so that they could sell them for hefty amounts.

Mining leases have become a property realtor’s dream. The standing committee report and the disastrous experience with captive mining surely mandate the need for a re-authoring of policies to stop the transfer of valuable community resources to the private sector. It has been established through a series of scams that the private sector is not as efficient as it claims to be.

 

Dissident Trinamool MP Kabir says Maoists helped Mamata win Assembly polls


Express news service Posted online: Sat Jan 05 2013,
Kolkata : Fresh Row: CPM demands CM to explain ‘TMC-Maoist nexus’Dissident Trinamool Congress MP Kabir Suman on Friday told a news channel that Maoists were very much involved in the Nandigram movement and that Mamata Banerjee’s party would not have won a single seat in West Midnapore had there been no Kishenji or Maoists.

“What I have learnt from my political friends is that if there were no Maoists or Kishenji, Mamata would not have won a single seat in West Midnapore. This is what I feel even though I do not know much about politics. People on the streets have helped me understand this,” Suman said.

After trouble broke out in Lalgarh, the CPM had repeatedly claimed that the Trinamool had a nexus with the Maoists in West Midnapore —- a charge that was dismissed by Mamata.

Referring to the Nandigram movement, Suman told the news channel that neither Mamata nor the Trinamool was (initially) in the Nandigram mass upsurge.

“Naxalite leader Sumit Sinha and many others including Siddiqullah Chowdhury were there in the Nandigram movement. The Maoist outfit was not banned in the country (when the Nandigram movement took place). They were declared banned much later. They operated openly (in Nandigram). Among others, Maoists were also there (in Nandigram). Maoists were there (in Nandigram) like many other independent persons. This is not a confession. I am stating the truth,” Suman said.

“If you ask me whether I have seen any Maoist leader building organisation (in Nandigram), I will say that I have not seen anyone,” he added.

Although Trinamool has not reacted to Suman’s statement, sources said the party neither wants to give importance to the rebel MP, nor to his allegations of a nexus with Maoists. This was evident from party secretary general Partha Chatterjee’s statement. Asked to comment on Suman’s statement, Chatterjee said, “I have not heard anything. I am busy in office.”

CPM central committee leader Mohammed Selim demanded that Mamata explain how she had “used the Maoists”.

“Land was not the real issue in Nandigram. The extremists and fundamentalists from both Hindu and Muslim communities got united at that time only to oust the CPM. The Maoists too were co-partners and were used by the Trinamool. The Maoists have accepted this. Now Mamata must explain how she used the Maoists,” Selim said.

 

Mamata bans IPS officer’s book critical of her Muslim policy #censorship #foe #fos


 

Express news service : Kolkata, Mon Sep 03 2012

The Mamata Banerjee-led government in West Bengal has banned controversial IPS officer , Musalmander Ki Karaniya (What Muslims Should Do), in which he has highlighted the alleged plight of Muslims in the state and the “double standard” of the present government in “improving” their condition.

The book, which was released a month ago, has been published by Kolkata-based publisher Mitra and Ghosh.

On Saturday, officials from the Enforcement Branch of Kolkata Police raided the office, sales counter and godown of the publishing house and took away copies of the book.

Islam was not available for comment.

The intellectuals of the state have come out against the government’s move, calling it “draconian”. “We are shocked to know about the state government’s decision of banning the book,” said legendary filmmaker Mrinal Sen. Noted littérateur Sunil Gangopadhyay also minced no words to protest the government’s decision. “This cultural policing (by the government) should be condemned by everybody,’’ he said.

The IPS officer, who was an ardent critic of the Left Front government, has penned down several books, a few of them criticising the role of the Marxists in controlling the police. He was censured by the Left Front government at that time and was allegedly denied promotions.

 

When Mamata Banerjee became Railway Minister, she made him an official of the Railways in charge of safety. But after Trinamool Congress came to power in the state, Mamata made him an officer on Special duty in the Home Department, which he refused.

Thereafter, Islam was made Additional Director General (Training) of West Bengal Police, a post he still holds.

The author received several literary awards and has also set up an engineering college at Domkol in Murshidabad district — his native place. According to reports, the author is planning to move court against the decision of the West Bengal government.

The Mamata Banerjee-led government in West Bengal has banned controversial IPS officer Nazrul Islam’s book, Musalmander Ki Karaniya (What Muslims Should Do), in which he has highlighted the alleged plight of Muslims in the state and the “double standard” of the present government in “improving” their condition.

The book, which was released a month ago, has been published by Kolkata-based publisher Mitra and Ghosh.

On Saturday, officials from the Enforcement Branch of Kolkata Police raided the office, sales counter and godown of the publishing house and took away copies of the book.

Islam was not available for comment.

The intellectuals of the state have come out against the government’s move, calling it “draconian”. “We are shocked to know about the state government’s decision of banning the book,” said legendary filmmaker Mrinal Sen. Noted littérateur Sunil Gangopadhyay also minced no words to protest the government’s decision. “This cultural policing (by the government) should be condemned by everybody,’’ he said.

The IPS officer, who was an ardent critic of the Left Front government, has penned down several books, a few of them criticising the role of the Marxists in controlling the police. He was censured by the Left Front government at that time and was allegedly denied promotions.

 

When Mamata Banerjee became Railway Minister, she made him an official of the Railways in charge of safety. But after Trinamool Congress came to power in the state, Mamata made him an officer on Special duty in the Home Department, which he refused.

Thereafter, Islam was made Additional Director General (Training) of West Bengal Police, a post he still holds.

The author received several literary awards and has also set up an engineering college at Domkol in Murshidabad district — his native place. According to reports, the author is planning to move court against the decision of the West Bengal government.

 

Lalgarh will rise again, warns freed rebel leader- West Bengal #Mamata


English: The adivasi women of Lalgarh village ...

English: The adivasi women of Lalgarh village attending a meeting. Ever since the commencement of the movement from 5th November 2008, there has been a spurt in the adivasi women actively participating in politics and democratic meetings. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Caesar Mandal, TNN Aug 8, 2012

After the encounter death of Kishanji, the Maoists have apparently lost their power to challenge the Bengal government. The cadres are demoralized and it is reflected in the series of recent surrenders. At a time like this, one of the most senior Maoist leaders, Ashok alias Chandi Sarkar, has been released from prison. The rebel party is looking up to this veteran leader for its revival in Bengal. The 67-year-old former state committee member speaks to Caesar Mandal…

Has Lalgarh failed to advance the Maoist movement in the state?

I don’t think that Lalgarh upsurge has failed. It’s true that we are on the back-foot. Many of our party workers and leaders are behind bars or martyred. We even lost a leader like Kishanji. His death is undoubtedly a major jolt to the organization across the country. But despite these severe losses, we will be able to recover, since a large section of the masses is still with us. The people of Lalgarh and the entire Jangalmahal are waiting for another spontaneous movement.

Is the bonhomie with mainstream political parties, especially Trinamool Congress in Nandigram and Lalgarh, a key reason for the failure of the Maoists in Bengal?

No. It was never against our party line. We have a specific direction that for the sake of revolutionary movement, the party may join hands with the grassroots level workers of other political parties who are in distress. It was a strategic alliance in Nandigram and Lalgarh, where a large section of people from the Trinamool grassroots joined the resistance. The same question was raised after the Garbeta episode, where the former ruling party, CPM, took our help. But we knew that soon after getting their domain back, CPM would make an all-out effort to wipe us out.

If you were aware of this, how did the Trinamool-led government inflict such heavy damage on your party soon after being sworn in?

It’s true that we have suffered more organisational losses during the new regime than in previous years. Such strategic alliances need to be planned very carefully after identifying the real friend or the right person for the organization. In Lalgarh, the party definitely made mistakes.

Do you think that the reins of the Lalgarh movement went out of the hands of your party leadership?

The Lalgarh upsurge was a spontaneous flare-up of the grievances of Jangalmahal people. In the field, it is difficult to bridle all the acts. It’s true that more control was needed, but I am not the right person to comment as I was not in Lalgarh. There were definitely some faults and my party leadership is probing them. But I would again say that the apparent crushing of Lalgarh’s upsurge is temporary, since the government could not solve the basic problems that gave rise to the movement. The land will raise the voice of protest once again.

Your comrades are under pressure across the country. Even your party headquarters Abujmad is under attack. You have lost a number of senior leaders…

Temporary setback is a part of revolutionary movement. Since 2005 we have lost important leaders like Kishanji and Azad. Unlike revolutionary organizations in other countries, since the spring thunder – the Naxalbari upsurge – Indian revolutionary parties have always lost their leadership.

It’s a mad trend of Indian movement that despite such serious losses, the mass support helps us survive. No one can say that we have lost control over our domain. In other states like Chhattishgarh, Orissa and Jharkhand, my party comrades are brilliantly taking on the tremendous state repression and advancing the organization. We are getting stronger. New leaders are emerging and the resistance will get more intense.

Our party will soon reply to the state forces with a major blow. Wait and see.

Do you think it will be easy to revive the Bengal unit when most of the senior leadership is in jail or killed?

At present our organization in Bengal is far behind other states. It’s not easy to recover from such losses, but not too difficult either. I am not saying that in a few months we will be able to reconstruct the state committee and other area committees, which have suffered major damages. I can’t even say that we will soon be able to counter the state forces. The situation is not easy to regroup and plan a fresh stir. But I can assure that we will be back with a stronger organization. Because there are millions of victims of oppression and it’s our job to spearhead their grievances towards a movement.

What’s your immediate plan to rebuild the party in Bengal?

At present, mass movement is very important. We would inspire people to build up a strong mass resistance to release the political prisoners. It’s now our immediate goal.

We have to keep in mind that with the time, the nature of the class struggle is changing. Problems are changing and accordingly party will have to act.

What’s your view about the recent split in Nepal Maoist party?

The only thing I can say that if the leaders of the new party had split a year ago, then there would have been less loss in the organization. It should have been done long before when the party adopted Prachanda’s parliamentary politics line. I congratulate the new party for going back to revolutionary line leaving parliamentary politics.

Can you rule out a party insider’s hand behind Kishanji’s death?

Some mistakes were definitely committed that led to the death of Kishanji. For long, the party was worried about his security. The party alerted him and he had the expertise to handle such hazards. Perhaps, for some practical reasons, he could not follow all the security directiveslaid down by the party. Your hint is very clear – whether party workers present there had betrayed or not. I would say it was not easy for the persons you hint at to trap him. We are probing what had happened. The truth will come out soon.

Short skirts cause women harassment– Bengali actor and TMC MLA #Moralpolicing #VAW


 

Short skirts cause eve-teasing: TMC MLA

KOLKATA  July 29, 2012

Bengali Actor and Trinamool Congress legislator Chiranjeet Chakraborty waded into controversy
on Saturday, correlating a woman’s dress with eve teasing. He also sought to downplay an incident of harassment of a girl in his constituency saying that there was nothing new about eve teasing.

The incident occurred on Friday evening in Barasat in North 24 Parganas,where over a year ago a youth had to give his life, trying to protect his sister from getting teased by some drunken youths. The incident created a furore during the rule of the previous government. In the fresh incident, a student returning home from her tuition classes was harassed by some youths.
Her father was also heckled when he tried to protest.

When his comments were sought, Mr. Chakraborty, a first time legislator and Tollywood artiste, said: “Tell me… can you imagine a movie without a villain, could Ramayana have been written without Ravana’s role… eve teasing
is very old… but the preparation is made by the involvement of girls.”

“Their dresses have changed in tune with times… skirts have become shorter to appeal to men… that should be appreciated… but when it attracts taunts and comments… it becomes a case for eve teasing… it is undesirable though,”the law maker said almost as an afterthought. He said police patrol had been increased and the lighting in the areas around the Barasat station had been improved recently.

His comments drew wide criticism from within the government as well as from across society.

Minister for Women and Social Welfare Sabitri Mitra said dress and style had nothing to do with eve teasing, which was more linked to a state of mind.“It is a mental perversion. It is a social malady. If the manner of dressing was the culprit then village belles in sarees and salwar kameez would not have faced harassment.

She deplored the Barasat incident saying the culprits had been booked.

Mr. Chakraborty appeared unfazed, insisting later that he had spoken as a guardian.

Mamata refuses comment

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday refused to comment on a statement made by actor and Trinamool Congress legislator Chiranjeet that short dresses worn by women were one of the reasons behind the increase in incidents of harassment.”I don’t know anything about it,” Banerjee said when asked to comment on the statement made by her party MLA.

Trinamool MLA clarifies remark

However, after facing criticism, Chiranjeet tried to clarify his statement. “I had said that keeping in mind the well-being of the teenaged girls. The comments are nothing but reflections of the concerns that a father, elder brother or a guardian has regarding their teenage daughters or sisters,” he said

 

Debolina starts hunger strike in jail


KOLKATA, april 14, TNN : Arrested activist Debolina Chakraborty has started hunger strike in the CID custody on Friday to support the Nonadanga movement. Six other jailed activists will also start fasting from Saturday. Other political prisoners in different jails, too, have decided to start hunger strike to show their solidarity towards the Nonadanga evictees.

Meanwhile, a Left Front delegation met the fasting activists at Nonadanga, adding fuel to the movement. The CPI team, led by former mayor in council Farjana Chowdhury, extended support to the anti-eviction activists. “We will bring the matter to the notice of the proper authority and feel that none should be evicted without proper rehabilitation,” said Farjana Chowdhury.

Left Front’s involvement in the Nonadanga movement, however, led Trinamool Congress to show their political strength. Later in the day, KMC councillor Ratan De and party’s students leader Shanku Deb Ponda took out a rally and and campaigned in favour of the eviction. The Trinamool leaders asked other locals to drive away the outsiders who are camping at Nonadanga.

But the agitators refused to give up. “We will continue our fast till the government sends us a positive feeler,” said Amitava Bhattacharya, one of the fasting activists. Trinamool MP Kabir Suman is likely to meet the fasting activists at Nonadanga on Saturday.

Jadavpur University professor arrested for spreading ‘anti-Mamata’ cartoons #FOE, granted bail


CARTOON SAYS

 In Satyajit Ray’s movie “Sonar kella”, Mukul is a kid that seem to have memories of a “golden fort” from his past life. His doctor (psychiatrist) takes him to a trip to Rajasthan to see if the fort exists. An evil doctor, wanting to make fortune off the supposed golden fort’s treasures, tries to kill Mukul’s doctor and take his place. This are excerpts from dialogue between the evil doctor (Mamta) and Mukul (Mukul) from the movie. The original good doctor represents Trivedi.

Evil doctor (after hypnotizing Mukul).: Can you see the golden fort, Mukul?
Mukul (about his original doctor, after the evil doctor portrays the good doctor as the bad one): That’s a bad person!
Evil doctor (after pushing the good doctor off a cliff): Bad person vanish!

PTI- Professor Mahapatra of Jadavpur university, who was arrested for allegedly circulating anti-Mamata’s caricature on the Internet, was granted bail by Alipore court. Police arrested him last night for violating cyber laws.

He is a Chemistry Professor in the Jadavpur University. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday said that the professor was arrested for his wrongdoings.

On Thursday night, he was assaulted by the Trinamool-Congress(TMC) leaders for circulating the cartoons.

Kolkata, ibnlive april 13, 2012 : A Jadavpur University professor was arrested on Friday morning for allegedly spreading “anti-Mamata Banerjee” cartoons on the Internet. Ambikesh Mahapatra, a teacher with the Chemistry Department of the University, was picked up on Thursday night by the police for allegedly forwarding cartoons of Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee.

The cartoon based on Satyajit Ray‘s movie Sonar Kella, allegedly show Mamata and Railways Minister Mukul Roy discussing how to get rid of party MP Dinesh Trivedi.

Mahapatra has been booked for defaming Mamata. Section 66 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code (punishment for defamation) have been slapped on the professor, who was arrested on charges of forwarding “derogatory images” of the West Bengal Chief Minister to nearly 65 recipients and mocking her government policies.

Trinamool workers allegedly raided Mahapatra’s residence at New Garia in the southern fringes of Kolkata before the police picked him up. They also allegedly manhandled the professor.

Even though Mahapatra was picked up on Thursday night the police showed his arrest only on Friday morning after he had been forced to spend the night at East Jadavpur Police Station. The professor will now be produced in the Alipore court.

Sources say it is quite an unprecedented incident and point out that Mamata is becoming increasingly intolerant to any incident that shows her in bad light, even if may be innocuous.

Joint Statement on Forcible Eviction and Police Brutalities in Kolkata


Immediate Release

Condemn the Eviction Drive in Nonadanga, Kolkata!

 

Demand Immediate Release of Arrested Activists!

 

The Trinamool Congress-led Government of West Bengal is daily showing its anti-people character. Its Police and the bulldozers of the KMDA (Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority) razed to the ground and burnt the slums and homes of more than 800 people in Nonadanga, Kolkata on 30th March 2012. These are the same people who were resettled after evictions from various canal banks across Kolkata, and from the dispossessed from the hurricane Aila in 2009. A protest march called against the forceful eviction by residents and progressive organisations and individuals on 4th April was also brutally lathicharged by the Police, critically injuring many. Yesterday on 8th April, a sit-in demonstration was violently broken and 67 people were arrested, with false cases pressed on seven activists of various democratic mass organisations supporting the struggle.

 

They have been remanded in police custody till 12th April, and there is an attempt by the state to frame these democratic rights activists, falsely alleging that arms and   munitions have been found on them. Also on 9th April, 114 demonstrators who were protesting against these moves by the government were arrested from College Street. On 10th April, a huge consignment of police has cordoned off the entire area and the threat of imminent demolition even of the temporary tents and community kitchen looms large, reminding us of the situation in Singur in 2006.

 

The government had earlier refused to provide even basic amenities like water, school, drainage system and proper housing in these resettlement colonies and pushed them into an ‘illegal’ existence, and made them dependent on the networks of local Trinamool and CPI(M) goons. And now in the name of beautification, this violent eviction drive is set on the roll on these supposed ‘illegal encroachers’ whose cheap labour is ‘legally exploited’ to run the city’s economy. Anyone opposing this kind of violent ‘development’ of the

ruling classes, has been declared to be ‘Maoists’ and ‘inciting outsiders’ conveniently by the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee again in her press statements to delegitimize the struggle, while the common lands of Kolkata are handed over to the corporate land sharks in the best traditions set up by the previous CPI(M)-led government.

 

WE, the undersigned organisations, condemn the arrests made on 8th April of protestors sitting in a demonstration in Ruby Junction, and demand that the 7 activists of various mass organisations who continue to be arrested be released and the false charges against them be dropped immediately, as the government is acting against the democratic right to organize and dissent.

 

We condemn the action of the Trinamool-led West Bengal Government and the brutal lathicharge on 4th April, and continued harassment by the Kolkata Police on the residents of Nonadanga and those protesting against the ongoing eviction process in the name of ‘beautification’ of the city, and demand action against the police officers involved.

We stand with the struggle of the residents of Nonadanga and demand an immediate halt to the eviction drive in the city and the anti-people development, and proper compensation and rehabilitation for all the slum dwellers and hawkers in Nonadanga and in the evictions all over Kolkata.

 

Issued by:
AIFTU (New)
AISA
AIRSO
Bigul Mazdoor Dasta
Delhi Metro Kamgar Union
Democratic Students Union
Disha Students Organisation
Inquilabi Mazdoor Kendra
Jamia Teachers Solidarity Forum
Krantikari Naujawan Sabha
Krantikari Yuva Sangathan
Pragatishil Mehnatkash Mazdoor Morcha
Mehnatkash Patrika
Mazdoor Patrika
New Socialist Initiative
Peoples Democratic Front of India
People’s Union for Democratic Rights
Posco Pratirodh Solidarity Delhi
Sanhati, Delhi
Students for Resistance
Vidyarthi Yuvajan Sabha