We have seen in newspapers and on television that Kundan Lal Tamta, IG in North Bengal, has said that the two organisations that I belong to are Maoist outfits and that he would not flinch from arresting me.
The two organisations he has named are Swadhikar and the PCC-CPI (ML). Swadhikar is a registered voluntary society of which I am the President and the other is a political party of which I am a Polit Bureau member.
Tamta’s statement shows his practised and familiar ignorance. Swadhikar does not have any political activity, although its volunteers and staff belong to various political parties such as Trinamul, the Congress, the CPI(M), the CPI (ML) and others. This is their democratic right and Tamta or anybody else cannot take away that right.
The PCC-CPI (ML) has been criticising the CPI (Maoist) for a long time. We support the Adivasi movement in Lalgarh, but we do not support the activities of the Maoists there. We believe that the Maoists import an adventurism and extremism into mass movements that hamper the latter.
Because of our opposition to them, the Maoists have recently criticised us in an open letter and we have replied to them in kind.
It sometimes happens that during legitimate people’s movements in which we are, the Maoists join them without stating their affiliation. Take for example the case of the movement for the release of Dr Vinayak Sen. We were in it along with such democrats as Arundhuti Roy. Medha Patekar, Mahasweta Devi and others, but the Maoist were also there without announcing their identity. Does that make the famous democrats some sort of Maoists? And if they are not Maoists so we are not also.
Tamta has issued a fatwa that no voluntary society may lead movements of the poor for their rights and problems. This is undemocratic and cannot be acquiesced in.
Where the ICDS increases rather than decrease child malnutrition, where there is hardly any work in the NREGS, where Tamta’s police and other administrators are sunk deep into corruption and arbitrary behaviour, where, as in Jalpaiguri, the government knows from its own survey that in this district more than one lakh people do not access one square meal throughout the year, where any and all protest faces police an d cadre violence, the poor have no recourse except democratic movement.
Tamta or his political bosses cannot stop this democratic movement spearheaded by the PCC and Swadhikar by cancelling the registration of Swadhikar or by arresting me.
Member, Polit Bureau, PCC-CPI(M-L)