Sunday, August 09, 2009

CPM men flee Maoist terror

Sukumar Mahato, TNN 9 August 2009, 03:50am IST

JHARGRAM: Where have all the comrades gone? This question immediately springs to mind if one looks at the deserted CPM party offices spread over
Jhargram town, days before chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee visits Debra on Tuesday, 75 km away.

Fact is, most CPM functionaries in the area have fled from Jhargram town after Maoists served a "death sentence" against them. Maoists also asked the CPM office-bearers of Jhargram Municipality to put in their papers. Instead, a huge police force has started patrolling the entire stretch from Chowranghee, 40 km from Jhargram, to Debra from Saturday and have also set up two police camps at two schools in Debra and Ballychawk, that will remain closed till Tuesday.

Jhargram Municipality chairman Pradip Sarkar has left town and is commuting from Kharagpur, where he has taken refuge. The plight of other CPM leaders is similar. CPM's Jhargram town zonal secretary Shibnath Guha is also on the move. Guha recently took a transfer certificate (TC) for his son studying in the local Kumudkumari Institution. "Guha took the TC for his son Soumya, a student of Class IX, on August 1," said headmaster Anup De. CPM MLA from Jhargram Amar Basu sold out his ancestral home and land at Gidhni and was staying at a rented house in Raghunathpur. Feeling unsafe, Basu has now shifted to an apartment opposite Jhargram police station.

The message has filtered down the ranks. CPM local secretary Asim Nandi has followed suit. He gave up his stake in Balaji Dhaba, near the old bus stand at Jhargram town. Partha Jadav, CPM's town local secretary and an employee of Jhargram Municipality, has stopped going to office. Jadav has confined himself to his home at Bachhurdoba and is shying away from CPM programmes. According to local CPM sources, Jadav did not even attend the last silent rally to mourn Subhas Chakraborty.

A total of 15 CPM branch offices spread over the town wear a deserted look, with party wholetimers opening the offices just for a little while during the day. Contractors who rubbed shoulders with a section of CPM leaders have also vanished, sensing winds of change.

"It is true that our party's activities are not like it used to be earlier. We can't force our party members to risk their life to organize party activities. This has been the situation for quite some time. I believe that the people will realize this and turn against the politics of killing, which has spread a scare in the town," said CPM district secretariat member Dahareswar Sen.

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