Utter Confusion

This letter has been sent to the Editor, The Telegraph.

All the news items point to one thing– lack of understanding, resulting in utter confusion.

“We have come here for peace. Innocent villagers are getting trapped between the Maoists and the security forces. We would like both sides to drop their arms and come for talks,” said film director Aparna Sen.

We are surprised that the intellectuals who visited Lalgarh are dividing the poor villagers from the so-called ‘Maoists’. The active group comprised of some of the villagers only are trying to protect their folks from police atrocities. Their only demand is to remove the police. And Police has justified the demand of the so -called Maoists by cruel and indecent behaviour during the last 4 days.

In Pirakata a section of the state armed police (SAP) — terrified of IED explosions – caught  hold of local youths and forced them to poke around for hidden mines and explosives?

Acts like this will trigger more calls for vengeance and lead people to doubt the sincerity of the government’s attempts to pacify the tribal villagers.

In Kuldiha, poice forces are torturing women. As per the report, a woman, Bijola Mahato says that the police women lifted her sari, while showering lathis on her  the menfolk ( Police) made indecent remarks — ” Since your husband is not at home, let me come tonight…” The husbands have fled, some are in relief camps, the cows are left without food, the wares they make for a living — plates and bowls made of dried Saal-leaves are bundled and left unsold.

Who gave the Army and Police the right to disrupt the normal life in villages and insult poor, hungry people in this manner? Isn’t forcing local youths to look for mines — the height of human rights abuse? Where is army discipline? Are they at war with their own people?

We request the intellectuals to highlight these Army and Police atrocities, for which these people are fighting for the last eight months.

It is equally sad that Mamata Banerjee, instead of voicing sympathy for the poor & deprived people of our land, has asked for announcing  the zone as “Disturbed Area”. Does she know that ‘Disturbed  Area’ will justify permanent Police posting and continuing atrocities? Have we all foergotten Manipur and what rights the Armed Forces Special Powers Act are endowed with?

Please stop this confusion and face the facts —

The people are hungry and without a livelihood,

The Army and police are not their well-wishers.

Let us all unitedly demand social justice.

SUMITRA PADMANABHAN
G.S., HUMANISTS’ ASSOCIATION
P 2, BLOCK B, LAKE TOWN
KOLKATA – 700089

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