The CPI(ML) Red Star has always stood on the side of greater democracy. We have consistently opposed the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, as a draconian piece of legislation which is being used by the state in more and more fascistic manner. Today the UAPA is being used mainly to suppress legitimate struggles of the people fighting for various democratic rights. It has been used against artists and liberals, against opposition party workers, etc. It has been used against trade union leaders, peasants fighting for land, workers fighting for trade union rights and adivasis struggling for forest rights. Now it is being used against the people of Bhangar who are fighting against the building of a power grid on their land, to protect their land, livelihood, environment and ecology. The CPI (ML) Red Star has been openly leading this people’s struggle from the beginning.
The charge sheet shows that only nine persons have been charged under section 16 and 18 of UAPA (which deal with “terrorist acts” and “conspiracy” to commit them). To bring the matter within the purview of the act, fake incidents of throwing bombs and firing have been alleged against a mob of people on 17th January. This is clearly false as the charges under UAPA were not applied until 3rd February. The narration of bombs and firing in the charge sheet is vague. No person is attributed with particularly having used either. There are allegations of bomb fragments and one loaded pipe gun having been recovered from the spot but no finger printing or such test has been done on these items to link them to any particular person. No particular damage has been shown which is attributable to either bombs or firing. All nine persons charged under UAPA are leaders of Red Star and other fraternal organizations, none of whom are residents of the area. There is no material to show that they are connected in any manner to any terrorist act. The only connection between them and the so-called “bombs” and “firing” is the allegation that they were “in the vicinity” when the incident occurred. That is enough, as per this charge sheet, to convict them of “conspiracy”.
But there is one more glaring lacuna. UAPA requires that such bombs or firearms must be used to spread terror. On the contrary the charge sheet acknow-ledges almost all the residents of the area are against the power grid and are protesting against it. Who then is being terrorized? The charge sheet, if at all it makes out any case of terrorizing, seems to allege that the police are being terrorized by the residents of the area!!
There is also a veiled attempt to show connections to “terrorist organizations”, though such a connection need not be shown under sections 16 and 18. There are allegations that the CPI(ML) Red Star, whose leaders are most of those accused under UAPA, is a front of other organizations like the CPI(Maoist). We take grave offense at this. We have often described the CPI(Maoist) as a ‘left sectarian” “adventurist” and “anarchist” organization. We do not accept their political line or their line of “protracted people’s war” or of “armed struggle” being the main or even the only form of struggle. We fight against this line consistently in all our theory and practice. At the same time, we are bound to protest when undemocratic methods are used against the so-called Maoists by the police and the state just as we have to protest the killings by the Maoists of innocent people or even of the police. We condemn this statement in the charge sheet and demand that the police must apologise for this.
There is an even more unbelievable attempt in the charge sheet to show that the protesters were in support of SIMI. Our party has never even given SIMI any importance. We oppose all forms of religious fanaticism whether Hindu or Muslim. This attempt in the charge sheet is as ludicrous as alleging that a workers strike in a factory is obviously in support of the RSS or VHP merely because most of the workers are Hindus. This is a dangerous game being played by the state to try and alienate a secular movement against the destruction of the environment by playing the Hindu card merely because the population in Bhangar is overwhelmingly Muslim. We condemn such religious communal acts by the police.
We demand an apology from the State Government of West Bengal for this charge sheet and the allegations and innuendoes contained in it against our party which is openly functioning among the masses. We call upon all democratic forces in this country to register their protest against the filing of such a vile charge sheet which is nothing but an attempt to muzzle all protest and to shut the mouths of all who subscribe to Marxist Leninist ideology.
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