The CPI(M) led government might have been voted out of power in the state nearly five years ago but the atrocities inflicted upon the villagers in the Jangalmahal areas of West Midnapore by some of its party leaders, are still fresh in the minds of the people.
The villagers in Lalgarh who had been subjected to the atrocities by the CPI(M) leaders during the tenure of the erstwhile Left front government do not want to bring back those dark days when terror was the rule of the hour. CPI(M)’s ‘Harmads’ used to unleash the reign of terror in Jangalmahal areas where bloodshed, recovery of dead bodies were the common phenomenon every day. Driven by poverty, many people particularly youth from Jangalmahal became Maoist sympathisers. Maoist activities were on the rise during the Left front rule as there were hardly any development works in the area and it had further strengthened the Maoists movement in the district. But after the new government came to power it had announced packages for the rehabilitation of those who were involved in the Maoist activities. People living the forest adjoining areas, who often helped the Maoist activities to grow, started alienating themselves from the extremist movements and returned to the mainstream of life as the present government had initiated various development works. Developmental projects like Khadya Sathi, Kanyashree, Sabuj Sathi which were kicked off across the state, immensely benefitted the people belonging to the BPL category residing in the Jangalmahal areas. Laxmi Giri, a resident of Binpur II block here in Lalgarh felt the trauma while narrating the Netai incident in which some notorious CPI(M) leaders in the area had killed 9 persons after the villagers refused to join the ‘harmads’, an armed group formed by the local CPI(M) leaders. Local CPI(M) leaders told the villagers that the Maoists might target Netai village and hence it was necessary to form an armed group which can protect the villagers in Netai. Laxmi went on narrating the incidents which are still vivid in her mind. A camp was set up at the house of one Rathin Dandopat where youth from outside were brought in for the formation of an armed force which would protect the villagers from the Maoist attack, as it was told to the villagers in Netai. The CPI(M) local leaders told the villagers that they will induct one male member of the family into the group and will provide them with arms training. After the training is completed they will be sent to other district as well.