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WB: After 13 Years, Lalgarh Witnesses Huge Rally by CPI(M) in Memory of Martyrs

Much blood was spilt here in the waning days of the Left Front rule in West Bengal. After more than a decade, the party has managed to hold a rally in Lalgarh.

After 13 long years, CPI(M) marched in Lalgarh again in memory of martyrs on Tuesday, June 14. After 2009, the Left party could not hold a procession in this notorious area of Jhargram. Due to the state's present ruling party, it was impossible to carry out any party program in this region.

This time in Lalgarh, the CPI(M) took a firm stand on the call of the Lalgarh area committee and crossed the 3.5 km long road with hundreds of people from five gram panchayat areas. It was in this region that 43 CPI(M) activists were killed by Maoists and TMC workers. This time, hundreds of people marched in protest of rampant corruption in the state, the closure of 72 hostels for Adivasi students and the demand for smooth implementation of various social security schemes.

CPI(M) activist Shalku Soren was murdered by Trinamool-Maoist forces in Lalgarh on June 11, 2009. He was taken from his house and killed and kept in front of the Dharampur party office for five days in a row. The family was not allowed to cremate the body. Shalku Soren's old mother, Chitamani Saran, was also not allowed to go near the body.

Deenbandhu Soren, Prabir Mahato, Jhantu Patra, Rakhhari Mandal, Keshab Mana, Dhiraj Mana, Mohan Singh, Sanjay Mahato, Debabrata Soren, Naru Samanta, Asit Samanta, Tapan Dan, Sunil Dan were killed on June 14 after the murder of Shalku Soren on June 11. The bodies of the first four were found, but the rest have not been found yet. These CPI(M) workers are still missing.

Alok Das, secretary of the Lalgarh area committee, told People's Reporter on Tuesday that the CPI(M) had not been able to hold a meeting in memory of the martyrs since 2009. The martyrs are commemorated every year, but not on this particular day. However, in a party meeting held in Jhargram on June 3 this year, the Area Committee demanded to hold a meeting to commemorate the martyrs on June 14.

A procession was held on Tuesday, June 14, in memory of the martyrs. The procession started from Sabuj Sangha ground in Dharampur. The procession went to the BDO office-vegetable market and came back to the field. A meeting was held after a procession of about 3 km. The procession was attended by CPI(M) central committee member Amiya Patra, former MP Pulin Behari Buskey and other local and district leaders.

Lalgarh area committee secretary Alok Das told People's Reporter that the situation was changing rapidly. “People's confidence is definitely returning. Confidence has returned more than we thought. But our entire party leadership is still in jail after being accused in the Netai case. For this reason, many people want to stay with us, but they can't trust us that way. They fear that if the party cannot release the leaders, then who will see if something happens to us. Because the ruling party will file new cases. Yet now the party is in a somewhat better place.”

A CPI(M) publication of August 2009 had then noted: “Scores of CPI(M) activists have been killed in Lalgarh since November 2008. Among them were Salku Soren, an agricultural worker, and Abhijit Mahato, a 22 years old student and SFI activist. Over 74 CPI(M) activists and supporters have been killed by the Maoists in the West Midnapore district alone since 2003, out of which around 50 were poor peasants and agricultural workers. Victims of Maoist violence also include doctors, nurses, tribal activists of other political parties, poll officials, and police personnel. The Maoists have been able to continue with this murderous spree because of the support they are receiving from the mainstream political parties like the Trinamool Congress and a pliant media.”

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