Saturday, December 15, 2007

Maoist Uprising: A throwback to the sixties in Kolkata

Kumar Sarkar, 14 December 2007, Friday


Maoists posters appearing on the gates of the seat of power in Bengal, the Writers’ Buildings have sent alarm bells ringing and reminded people of the late sixties and early seventies when Naxalites went on the rampage.


THE LATE sixties, when Naxalites overran Kolkata and Bengal, seems to be coming back to haunt the state. In the aftermath of the Nandigram violence, Maoist posters appeared, in all places on the walls of the seat of power in Bengal --- the Writers’ Buildings. A shocked state administration sat up in alarm and pressed the panic button.

The black posters written in startling white in Bengali were first noticed opposite the famous India Coffee House on College Street in central Kolkata, on Friday, opposite the Presidency College, the hotbed of Naxalite activities in the mid-sixties. Later in the day it was noticed on gate number one of the state secretariat.

Outside Writers' Building the poster was discovered by a security personnel on duty. He in turn alerted policemen on duty.

Police personnel tore the poster at Writers’ Buildings. This is the first time that Maoists have pasted a poster bang on the gates of Writers’ Building. The police are puzzled as to how the Naxalites managed to sneak in and paste a poster in such a high-security zone.

The posters near Coffee House were found around 8:30 am, after it opened. A woman who had come out early in the morning told television channels that she had seen a number of youths turn around and walk from where the poster had been put up. She went to the extent of saying that she had seen at least two of them loitering around in Presidency College on several occasions.

The posters lambasted the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leaders, including Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, CPI (M) State Secretary and Left Front chairman Biman Bose and Politburo member Benoy Konar and blamed them for the violence in Nandigram.

The posters also demanded stern action against Tapan Ghosh and Sukur Ali, the two Marxist leaders who were active in Nandigram and who allegedly masterminded the Chhoto Angaria killings several years ago.

The police have had photocopies of the posters made for investigations.

That the posters, especially at Writers’ Buildings had created a flap was obvious. The State Home Secretary Prasad Ranjan Ray confirmed that the posters had been discovered. He said that the Commissioner of Police, G M Chakravarty was looking into it.

Asked whether there had been a security lapse at Writers Buildings he said, "The Police Commissioner will look into the matter."

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