Kolkata: so-called “democracy” denounces questioning students, prompting cyber campaign of outrage online

Cyber campaign for apology from Mamata Banerjee

TNN May 22, 2012

KOLKATA: Scores of youngsters from Jadavpur and Presidency universities have launched a cyber campaign against chief minister Mamata Banerjee for branding a group of students “Maoists and CPM cadres” for asking her uncomfortable questions at a TV talk show.

“Can anything be funny and terrifying at the same time?” says one post. “She is ruining the anti-Left movement which was a very hard fought success,” says another.

Mamata had stormed out of the show after accusing Presidency student Taniya Bharadwaj a “Maoist”. The CM alleged that she was being asked “only CPM and Maoist questions”. The video has gone viral on the internet.

Tweets and posts have flooded social networking sites, condemning the chief minister’s “irresponsible and uninformed” remark. They demand that Mamata apologise to Taniya for the “slander”.

Facebook is abuzz with messages from students urging each other to join a campaign against “politics of terror” and make sure that Taniya and the other students who were present at the show (being recorded at Town Hall last Friday) were not persecuted. Many students have uploaded the TV clip of Mamata calling Taniya a Maoist and invited Netizens to view it and lodge their protest.

Shashank Shah, a Jadavpur University international relations student, who was present at the show, said his university mates felt scared initially.

“They were worried about being taken to task for angering the chief minister. Word went around that the police were looking for our telephone numbers and that we could be questioned for our supposed Maoist links. But soon we found that these fears were unfounded and realized that we should rather be protesting the unfair comments and not be afraid. We condemn her remark and will carry on our campaign on the internet,” said Shah.

“It was unfair on her part to call Taniya a Maoist without even knowing her. She owes her an apology. Aren’t Maoists and CPM supporters Indian citizens too? Don’t they have the right to demand answers from the chief minister?” he asked. Continue reading

Kishenji Fought for a Better World

Indian ‘Republic Killing Its Own Children’ – Kishenji Fought for a Better World

by Bernard D’Mello 

India’s Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, West Bengal Chief Minister (also in charge of the province’s home affairs) Mamata Banerjee, Union Home Secretary R K Singh, and the top bosses of the security forces involved in the operation have all been bent on establishing one point: that the alleged encounter in the Burishol forest in West Midnapore district, 10 km from the West Bengal-Jharkhand border, in which Mallojula Koteswara Rao, popularly known by his nom de guerre Kishenji, a member of the politburo of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) [CPI (Maoist)], was supposedly killed was “real”.  Frankly, given the complicity of the media bosses and the journalistic profession (the latter, at the higher levels) with official mendacity, we must admit that the circumstances of his death are as yet unknown.  A press statement from Abhay, spokesperson of the Central Committee of the Party, dated 25 November 2011, unambiguously states that Kishenji was killed “after capturing him alive in a well planned conspiracy”.1

The renowned radical Telugu poet Varavara Rao, who accompanied Kishenji’s niece Deepika to bring the body back to Kishenji’s hometown of Peddapalli in Karimnagar district of Andhra Pradesh, is reported to have said: “In the last 43 years, I have seen so many bodies killed in so-called encounters but have not seen a body like this one. . .  There is no place on the body where there is no injury.”2  Indeed, according to CDRO (Coordination of Democratic Rights’ Organisations) activists who saw the body before the commencement of the postmortem, “on the back side of the head, part of [the] skull [and] brain [was] missing”; the right eye had come out of the socket; the lower jaw was “missing”; there were four stab wounds on the face; knife injuries were observed on the throat; there were hand fractures and two bullet injuries under one of the arms; “one-third of the left hand index finger was removed”; there were signs of enrooted bullets through the lungs; the right knee was hacked; the foot of the left leg was “totally burnt”; in all, “there were more than 30 bayonet-like cut injuries on the front of the body”.  And, while there were “bullet, sharp cuts and burn injuries”, “surprisingly” there were “no injury marks on his [Kishenji’s] shirt and pant corresponding to [those on] his body parts”.  (The postmortem report is yet to be handed over to Kishenji’s relatives.)

A press release (“Killing the Talks and Faking an Encounter”, Kolkata, 2 December 2011) by the CDRO — based on the observations of a CDRO fact-finding team who visited the spot in Burishol forest where the alleged encounter took place on 24 November — states that “the extent of the damage caused to the body against the rather undisturbed surrounding of the spot where the body lay raises our suspicion about the official version”.  Indeed, “right next to where his [Kishenji’s] body lay on the ground is a termite hill” that “remains undamaged by all the alleged exchange of fire”.  Indeed, even nearby, “not a single termite hill was damaged and [there was] no visible sign of burn or fire due to heavy rifle and mortar firing!”  Clearly, the veracity of the official story must be seriously doubted (actually, there are now versions of it that are contradicting each other!) and it is high time that an independent judicial inquiry headed by a sitting or retired Supreme Court or High Court judge into the circumstances surrounding Kishenji’s death is constituted at the earliest. Continue reading

India: An interview with a Maoist leader on events in West Bengal

Interview with Akash, West Bengal State Secretary of Communist Party of India (Maoist)

by Tusha Mittal, Tehelka

ON THE evening of 13 August, two significant events unfolded inside the forests of West Bengal. Weeks after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced a mammoth development package for Junglemahal, the Maoist party initiated its own ‘parallel development’. The government did not allow it to proceed.

Up a rocky hilly road, in the jungles where West Bengal meets Jharkhand, Nilima Baske, 50, had a terrible fall; she can’t walk. The nearest primary health centre is too far. On 13 August, a ‘Calcutta doctor’ appeared to treat Baske with three injections and medicines. It was part of a mass health camp organised by the People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCPA), supported by the banned CPI(Maoist) party.
On 14 August, as doctor Siddhartha Gupta made his way to the second health camp, he was arrested by the West Bengal Police, detained for the night at Belpahari Police Station, and charged under Section 151 for “knowingly joining in an assembly of five or more persons after it has been commanded to disperse”. He is out on bail. Momentarily, in its singular frame, the incident represents an ironic twist — the state and Maoists competing on who can deliver better development, both trying to woo, compelling the other into action. Continue reading

India: Mamata Banerjee appears at Lalgarh rally

[Mamata Banerjee is the leader of the Trinamool Congress, a bourgeois party which has its strongest base in West Bengal.  Banerjee is the Railway Minister of the central (national) government. She is more independent of the ruling CPI (Marxist) than other West Bengal government officials, and has at times shown a willingness to work with Maoist-affiliated groups such as the People’s Committee against Police Atrocities in Lalgarh, especially since the government is losing credibility and its “Operation Green Hunt” has faced growing opposition and criticism.-ed]

Times of India, August 19, 2010

Mamata ‘proud’ of Lalgarh rally

KOLKATA: Apologies are not for Mamata Banerjee. The Trinamool Congress chief on Wednesday stuck to her controversial remarks on Maoist leader Azad’s “murder” and said she was “proud” of her Lalgarh visit.

Undaunted by criticism for her alleged ‘pro-Maoist stand’ and the fact that the knives will be out for her in Parliament, the railway minister hinted she was willing to mediate with the Maoists. “If anybody wants to talk to us, we can give our opinion,” she said, just before leaving for Delhi to attend Parliament. She has stayed away from the monsoon session since the Lalgarh rally on August 9.

Asked about Maoist leader Kishanji’s statement that the rebels had no problem if she was among the mediators, Mamata said: “I have noticed the Maoist statement in media reports, but I don’t want to comment on it till I talk to the Centre. Let me cross-check all the details.” Continue reading