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Widespread Protests Against Bathe Carnage

The massacre at Laxmanpur-Bathe evoked widespread protests all over the country both within and outside the Party. A widespread and spontaneous reaction was seen from the democratic and progressive intellectuals and groups in many parts of the country.

The most sharp protests took place in Bihar where all the left and democratic forces came together in strong condemnation of the incident and demanding the resignation of the Rabri Devi government. On 5 December a successful statewide bandh was organised. Despite active propaganda by the government discrediting the bandh and deploying massive para-military forces to foil it, the public extended overwhelming support all over the state. Goons belonging to RJD and the BJP also attacked at various places to create tension. At Lehariasarai in Darbhanga, BJP goons pounced on CPI(ML) cadres with sticks, swords and daggers and injured some of them. In Jehanabad and many other places the police cracked down on demonstrators organising the bandh. In the industrial town of Bokaro the bandh was historic. The effect of the bandh was felt most in central Bihar. Patna with its heavy police bandobast resembled a police cantonment on the day of the bandh. Yet, braving all this, thousands of CPI(ML) leaders and cadres joined by other left democratic forces trooped down to the streets and successfully enforced the bandh. More than ten thousand people were arrested all over the state. With this bandh, other incidents like police repression in Bhagalpur and Bairagnia, the naked parading of 6 women of a backward community by RJD goons in Kodaria and the killing of two of our important leaders in Gopalganj also came into statewide prominence. In Bihar, the relative ebbing of the mass movements after the resignation of Laloo Yadav, is once again on an upswing.

In Delhi, as many as 17 left and democratic groups, came out in a joint demonstration on 5 December at Bihar Bhavan. Apart from CPI(ML) and its mass organisations, the other groups that participated were Party Unity, CPI(ML)-TND, CITU, PUDR, DSU, PSU and PDSU. A collective of eminent intellectuals including Mahasweta Devi, Kuldip Nayyar, Bhishm Sahani, Mrinal Sen and others have also strongly condemned the incident and called for immediate action against Ranvir Sena.

In West Bengal, widespread protests were organised both by our Party and democratic sections outside it. On 3 December a road roko was organised by our comrades in Calcutta and the effigy of Rabri Devi was also burnt demanding her immediate resignation. On 4 December protest demonstrations were held all over the state. On 5 December in solidarity with the Bihar Bandh, a Nadia bandh was called evoking good support. In Burdwan district a massive procession was taken out on 18 December in Karandha. A week-long protest campaign will take-off on 26 December in Katwa. Similar campaigns are planned in Kaliganj and Krishnanagar. As part of the anti-communalism day on 6 December, many naxalite groups also strongly condemned this incident. A team of the Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR) also went to the carnage site for a spot investigation. What is noteworthy in Bengal is that the CPI(M) and its mass organisations also launched protest programmes.

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