Lalgarh is a small village in Jhargram Subdivision of West Midnapore District. The Midnapore railway station is 45 kms away from the village. Lalgarh has become a symbol of defiance against adivasi repression and oppression.
Everything started after the Shalboni incident on 2 November 2008 when a land mine explosion was targeted at the Chief Ministers' convoy.
This resulted in a hyperactivity of the police which resulted in rounding up of entire villages and subjecting them to inhuman torture, detention was carried out at mere speculation and sexual assault was the part of interrogation.
Joint ruthless operations were carried out on 5 November 2008 into the villages of Choto Pelia, Boro Pelia, Bashber and Kata Pahari.
Many people were left with broken limbs and jaws, some went blind.
The police thought that these simple tribals who don't have the backing of CPM, Trinamool Congress or Congress I would not revolt or even complain.
Crores are spent on modernizing Lalgarh Police stations but the people still leave in thatched huts.
I was surprised to see a three storey mansion like building belonging to the local CPM leader being rightly brought down by the peasants while women made a hooting sound as concrete and plaster fell. The local panchayats have misappropriated the money for building their own houses.
The Lalgarh Adivasis organized themselves and decided to take the law in their own hands on 6 November 2008.
Can they be called Maoists just because they wanted a better life?
They don't even know who Mao is.
I remember Sitaram Yechury advising Buddhadev da to ban the Maoists when he hardly knows the intricacies of the Lalgarh problem.
I even saw Aparna Sen on NDTV trying to get some political / cultural mileage by going to Lalgarh and asking everybody to keep their guns down.
Lalgarh would be forgotten soon, what would remain will be the fear and pain of the adivasis, blind people and people walking over with crutches and deformities as a result of police and paramilitary excesses would be an example of an uprising that was nipped even without listening to their problems.