Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Focus on India : Anarchy in West Bengal as Maoists capture Lalgarh

-Please click on the map to get a larger view-
Maoists take control Of the West Lalgarh block of the Midnapore District.

Usually brushed aside as a 'non issue' the news of the ever growing Maoists insurgency finally make to the Indian Headlines. The situation is similar to what is happening in Pakistan. Maoists are in a Taliban type advance in West Bengal is about to cause an uproar in India. The Maoists already control 200 of the 602 districts of India and will be a major headache to the New Congress government.

There is anarchy in West Bengal, as less than 140 miles away from the Kolkata, the Maoists have virtually taken over the Lalgarh block in West Midnapore district.

Their targets are the police and Communist Party Marxists (CPM) supporters, both of whom have fled the area. And they have declared that their main target is Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya.

The Maoists and their supporters are now ransacking every symbol of political and administrative authority in Lalgarh.

The mood in Lalgarh was celebratory, almost as if a Puja was being held. The drums were beating a slow rhythm.

And to the beat, as some danced and hundreds of others looked on, a demolition squad smashed the home of Anuj Pandey, CPM zonal secretary of Dharampur.

All this was done under the leadership of a man named Bikash who stood there with an AK 47 slung on his shoulder. Bikash is a member of the Maoist People's Liberation Guerilla Army.

"The ground here is already ready and waiting for us. A child is about to be born and we are playing the role of the nurse who will deliver it," said Bikash.

Bikash is one of 400 Maoists who apparently entered Lalgarh on June 6 for the current operation, according to police sources. Of the 400, at least 100 are armed with automatic weapons. This very group was responsible for the landmine blast on November 2 that narrowly missed the Chief Minister's convoy.

"On November 2, our plan was to execute Buddhadeb Babu. If West Bengal wants Buddhadeb hanged, who will hang him. It will be us of the People's Liberation Guerrilla Army," said Bikash.

There were more demolitions. The CPM's Dharampur local committee office was also demolished by the squad, bringing down the building brick by brick and setting it on fire.

Just a few metres away from the party office that is being demolished, there was a grisly sight. The body of Shalku Soren was lying there since Sunday. Shalku Soren was apparently a CPM worker. He was killed in a clash with Maoists.

CPM fellowmen brought him here but the situation became so tense after his body was brought here on Sunday, that they have just left the body here and run away.

In the middle of the anarchy, there was no sign of the police as they have been withdrawn by the government. The CRPF was asked to go in but refused unless given permission to open fire if necessary. That permission has apparently not been given yet but may come soon.

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