REPORTS from Kolkata and other parts of West Bengal show that support for the Bhangar movement is increasing day by day. The Bhangar Support Committee is becoming broad based with more struggling left, democratic forces and individuals. Seeing it as a continuation of the Singur, Nandigram movements which shook the state a decade before, they are coming forward in support of the movement. Preparations are progressing to organize a People’s Hearing in the beginning of April with prominent jurists, scientists and democrats participating. Meanwhile solidarity committees are being formed in more states. A fund collection in support of the movement is also started. A Convention is planned in the middle of March at Kolkata which will be attended by a Party team. It shall go to Bhangar to hand over the fund and to declare solidarity with the movement. All possible legal actions are taken for the release of the comrades, Pradip Singh, Sharmistha and the 11 members of the Committee. Demand for release for these comrades and against imposing UAPA against leaders of people’s movements is raised by more and more forces. Mamta government is going to understand that however hard it tries, the people’s movement in Bhangar cannot be crushed and the ultimate victory will be that of the struggling people. The chief minister has repeated in the state assembly that if people do not want the project will be cancelled. But no action is taken to discus with the People. In this context the Committee for Protection of Land, Livelihood, Biodiversity and Environment has started a signature campaign the result of which will be announced soon and handed over to the chief minister to show how overwhelming is the opposition to the project.
At Bhangar assembly constituency in South 24 Parganas of W. Bengal, about 16 acres of very fertile agricultural land was forcefully taken over by the state government intimidating the poor peasantry using police and goons of the ruling TMC party in the name of constructing a power station. Few months ago it became clear that the land was actually taken for the Central Power Grid Corporation which started the construction of the grid lines threatening the land, livelihood and environment of thousands of families of the poor peasants. When the people started protesting with the support of the state committee of the CPI(ML) Red Star developing a democratic mass movement under the banner of Jomi, Jeebika, Vaasthuthahntro, O Parivesh Raksha Committee ( Committee for Protection of Land, Livelihood, Biodiversity and Environment) the state government started using state forces and goons to suppress it.
Though from the beginning of December, 2016, this Committee has submitted numerous memorandums to the local, bloc, thane, district and state authorities to resolve this serious problem affecting hundreds of thousands of the people through discussions. But, instead of discussing with the affected people, the police with the goons of ex MLA Arabul Islam and present MLA and minister, Abdul Razak Mollah of TMC (who was MLA and land revenue minister in the Left Front government before resigning from CPI(M) in 2015 and joining TMC) were harassing and attacking the people. In spite of a number of mass mobilizations in the area, followed by a march to Kolkata Raj Bhavan, and then a successful road block on 11th January, the authorities refused to talk with the committee. Instead they went on with provocations, attacking the villages leading to lathi charge and using tear gas followed by firing in which two youth were killed. State terror was further intensified, arresting 11 members of the Committee as well as comrade Pradip Singh, state secretary of the CPI(ML) Red Star and comrade Sharmistha, central committee member of the party and General Secretary of the AIRWO, imposing UAPA provisions on them. After remanding to police custody since 25th January, on 8th February they were sent to Alipore jail.
The CPI(ML) Red Star strongly condemns these heinous actions of the Mamta Banerjee led TMC government to suppress the movement. It extends revolutionary greetings to the villagers who are continuing the resistance struggle for getting the grid line project cancelled with increasing determination. It calls for intensifying the solidarity campaign at all India level in support of the Bhangar movement.