Naxalbari to Nandigram Krishak Jagaran Yatra
On May Day CPIML began the Krishak Jagaran Yatra to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Naxalbari. On 25th May 1967, the then Joint Front Government’s police killed 11 peasants including 7 women and 2 children at Naxalbari. 40 years later, in Nandigram at least 14 peasants were killed by Left Front Government’s police along with CPIM cadres. To reassert the legacy of Naxalbari in times of Nandigram and to call upon peasantry to rally behind the CPI(ML) that bears the red flag rather than the CPI(M) that has betrayed it, a mobile tableau of CPI(ML)’s KJY traveled from Naxalbari to Nandigram covering 18 districts of West Bengal.
As a precursor of the KJY, CPI(ML) leaders and supporters and the families of the martyrs assembled at Bangaijot (Naxalbari) on May Day. 1000 people then marched to Subrati Sangha Maidan at Naxalbari. Participants in the March included Abhijit Mazumdar, Secretary, Darjeeling district, veterans of the Naxalbari movement Manilal Singh, Nimu Singh, Rengta Murmu, tea workers’ union leader Mangri, and others who offered flowers to the martyrs of peasant movement. Com Dipankar Bhattacherya, Kartik Pal, Abhijit Mazumdar, Amar Yadav and Basudev Basu addressed the people.
The KJY tableau, decorated with colourful festoons and large posters, started its journey in the afternoon from Naxalbari and reached Islampur in N Dinajpur in the late evening. Comrades gathered on the road side to greet the tableau. Members of cultural organisation PBGSP, and activists of AISA and RYA participated in the tableau. Comrade Malay Tewari, AISA state secretary and Nitish Roy, joint secretary PBGSP took the lead role from the very first day and stayed with the tableau for all three weeks of journey.
At Raiganj the tableau was welcomed by CPI(ML) leader Ajit Das with tribal drum-beats and red flags. The tableau headed a march through the town. In the next two days the tableau moved through Malda and Murshidabad districts where party comrades warmly received it at Kaliachak, Nababgang, Gajol, Manikchak and Kandi. The tableau entered Nadia district on 6 May and Burdwan on 7 May the tableau reached Karanda village. At this village in 1993 four CPI(ML) supporters were brutally killed by the CPIM goons. Hundreds of people, along with the members of the martyrs’ family warmly welcomed the tableau. The next day, tableau moved to Kalna, where they saluted the martyrs’ altars of Com Jagannath Mandal and Abdul Halim.
On May 9, the tableau came to Dhanekhali where CPI(ML) workers had been attacked by the CPIM in the previous day. A meeting was held there in protest of CPIM’s vandalism and local people widely responded to the voices raised by the CPI(ML) workers.
In the next two days the tableau covered Singur and Nandigram. In Singur the tableau traveled through the affected villages holding street meetings in different parts of Singur. At Nandigram bazaar the CPI(ML) state leaders Comrade Partha Ghosh, Mina Pal, Dibakar Bhattacharya and Malay Tewary addressed a large gathering from the tableau. Veteran party member Amalendu Choudhuri conducted the meeting.
The tableau traveled through Beleghata, Kashipur-Baranagar, Sodpur where in 1970s hundreds of revolutionary youth had been massacred by the police and political goons. The tableau also visited the vast stretch of industrial areas including Hindmotor where the workers of illegally locked out factories are struggling for their rights.
The tableau, led by Com Joyotu Desmukh in North Bengal, by Atanu Chakravarty in middle Bengal and by Mina Pal in South Bengal ended its journey on 17 May at College Square, Kolkata. Journalist Barun Dasgupta and Sankar Roy, writer Panchu Roy and Kinnor Roy, student leader Jishnu Dasgupta of the Chatra Chhatri Sanghati Manch were present there. Addressing the gathering CPI(ML) State Secretary Kartik Pal said, ‘The recent attempt to restore peace in Nandigram can only be acceptable to us if the master-minds of the massacre resign from their posts and justice is ensured to the affected people’, and ended with a call to rally with the peasants and workers at Shahid Minar, Kolkata on 25 May.
- Manas Ghosh