WEST BENGAL: March in Solidarity with Bhangar
From our Special Correspondent
THOUSANDS of people marched towards Raj Bhavan in Kolkata in solidarity with the struggling people of Bhangar on May 8. The rally had to face police obstacles as huge contingent of forces were stationed. Police even picked up some of the protestors from the rally but were forced to release them later under pressure from the people.
The movement against the high voltage power grid in Bhangar has eventually turned against large scale land loot in the area. Land mafia, under the leadership of TMC has practically snatched hundreds of acres of land for realty and other purposes. The same mafia gangs were active in ‘acquiring’ land for power grid without fair compensation. The anger burst into protest and was tackled by the state administration by unleashing police atrocities. Two persons were killed in police firing and many were arrested. Repeated attempts by the ruling party to forcefully capture the villages were heroically resisted. But police has arrested more than 20 villagers. Four of them have been charged with UAPA. Among them are CPI(ML) Red Star leader Sharmistha Chowdhury and CPI(M) activist Abul Hossain. Many villages are surrounded by police and normal life has become impossible. Instead of any discussion with the villagers, the state administration is hell bent to crush the voice of dissent.
More than 25 thousand villagers have signed a petition to withdraw power grid project from the area. They have gathered to hand over this petition to the governor. They were joined in solidarity with Left parties including CPI(M), mass organisations, peoples’ organisations of different nature. Interestingly, people fighting for almost similar causes throughout the state have joined in the rally. In Bhabadighi in Hooghly, villagers are fighting to save their village and a large water body from whimsical arrogance of the chief minister. The people of Sholo Bigha slum in Mahestala in South 24 Parganas are fighting against eviction. People from these areas attended the rally and expressed their desire for a common struggle against the ruling party. Parents of martyrs of Bhangar were also present in the rally.
Parties and activists came without their flags. But two forces were outcast: TMC and BJP. Addressing the rally, Left Front chairman Biman Basu said, unity of the people is the need of the hour. Both the BJP and the TMC are trying to divide the people and their struggle for livelihood. Struggle to restore democracy in the state will be accelerated in the coming days.
Apprehensive of the aggressive attitude of the police Left legislative leaders Sujan Chakraborty and other Left leaders accompanied the villagers when they returned to Bhangar.
Massive CPI(M) Rally in Kolkata After Month-Long Campaign
THOUSANDS of people attended a massive rally in support of people’s demands in Kolkata on May 10. The rally, called by CPI(M) Kolkata district committee, was organised after month long campaign on the issues of the people. CPI(M) activists went door-to-door and collected signatures on the charter of demands. Intensive campaign, street corner meetings, local level meetings were conducted. Another aspect of the campaign was to garner people’s support for the ensuing march to Nabanna by Left mass organisations and supported by Left parties.
Addressing the rally, CPI(M) state secretary Surjyakanta Misra said the Modi government has betrayed the promise of providing two crore jobs. It has, on the contrary, taken away crores of jobs through demonetisation. Modi has allowed cronies to loot. On the other hand, the chief minister of the state has set a world record by destroying a factory which was almost 90 percent ready by a bulldozer. After this, nobody will come to invest in Bengal as long as she stays there.
Misra alleged that farcical investigations are going on in chit fund scams. Sometimes two people are jailed in exchange of two others’ release. Thieves will not be punished as long as Mamata Banerjee stays in the seat of power.
Misra said, RSS-BJP is spreading communal venom to divide the struggling people. It is true that communal forces have gained in Bengal which was unimaginable under Left Front government. But we are not afraid. There will be struggle against these forces. BJP and the TMC indulge in mock fights like actors on the stage. But the fight against these two forces must be fought simultaneously.
Misra, calling upon the people to join the march to Nabanna, said, Left mass organisations have raised demands of the people. These demands are simple and bare minimum. The struggle to achieve those demands will intensify through the Nabanna march.
CPI(M) Kolkata district secretary Niranjan Chatterjee presided over the meeting. Among others, CPI(M) state secretariat member Rabin Deb addressed the rally.