BHANGAR AGREEMENT SIGNED: GREAT VICTORY OF PEOPLE'S MOVEMENT!

07 September 2018
AFTER almost two years of stubborn battle the Bhangar Movement has been able to snatch a victory, making the government – which had previously repeatedly turned down all appeals for dialogue with the Jomi Jibika Bastutantro O Poribesh Raksha Committee (JJBPRC, or Land, Livelihood, Ecology and Environment Protection Committee) arrogantly. But finally the government was compelled to resolve the problem regarding power grid and other issues through dialogue. This is not only the victory of the people of Bhangar, but also an instance to all the democratic, struggling and revolutionary people that people can win finally if they persevere on the battlefield.

After the arrest of Alik Chakraborty, CPI(ML) Red Star Polit Bureau member and the spokesperson of JJBPRC, the government clearly realised that the movement could not be dismantled through this arrest. Bhangar people set an example of protest and resistance in this period, with the demand for his release being the battle cry. They took to the streets more and more vigorously demanding the release of their beloved leader. It has been a long time since people have taken to the streets in such numbers and with such consistency on the demand of the release of a leader of a mass movement. So the last option of the government proved to be no option at all. Where the government had assumed that this arrest could lead to a collapse of the movement, it turned out to be a mistake and the government had no option left except to enter into dialogue.

In the phase of dialogue the government played a very clever role. They were trying to crush this movement even in the phase of dialogue and tried to throw the responsibility of breaking the dialogue on the JJBPRC. Actually they had more or less accepted the demands of the JJBPRC representatives and wanted to send the message to society about their “flexibility’’ as contrasted with the JJBPRC’s ‘inflexibility’. Accepting the demand of the release of Alik Chakraborty, which invariably came up in the meetings with the government, they did not oppose bail prayer in some cases. And at last Alik Chakraborty got bail in all of 34 cases a little bit earlier than anticipated and took part in the dialogue process. The government put forward a modified plan of the original project knowing well that the movement was reaching such a height that people may reject even this modified proposal. Anticipating this, the government put forward this modest proposal. Actually it was a trap. If the Committee rejected the proposal outright then the dialogue process would be finished and the government could hold the Committee liable for breaking up the dialogue. It was a challenge for JJBPRC to avoid this trap. Through fierce debate and discussion JJBPRC ultimately was capable of taking a decision that on the question of the modified proposal of the government it would make some concession and against this a big thing would be achieved.

If we go through the agreement between the government and JJBPRC it is clear that through this concession people have achieved multi-dimensional things, even the authority in this area has been kept in the hands of JJBPRC. That is a most important thing. A joint committee has been formed with government officials and the representatives of the JJBPRC. No TMC leader has been allowed to take part in this committee. This committee will work to execute the whole agreement. The agreement encompasses all the problems of people of this area. So actually the Committee has the authority formally to oversee and resolve all the problems of this area. This is a great victory particularly in a situation where the voice of all Opposition has been quite silenced.

In spite of all these achievements some friends are not satisfied with this outcome. We hope they will realise through their experience that Bhangar will not fall behind; it will keep the banner of the struggle for democracy flying high and continue its role in creating one instance after another before the democratic and revolutionary people. We hope that Bhangar will be the inspiration of every democratic and revolutionary minded struggle. Long live the struggle of Bhangar. 
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The Communist movement in India has a history of almost a century after the salvos of October Revolution in Russia brought Marxism-Leninism to the people of India who were engaged in the national liberation struggle against the British colonialists. It is a complex and chequered history.