Tusha Mittal has an expose on Tehelka.com today. Among other things, the article argues:
Surrender or face the consequences — that has become the dominant theme in West Bengal’s countryside as the state gears up for the 2011 Assembly polls. What is playing out on the ground is a bitter turf war that promises to make 2011 one of West Bengal’s bloodiest elections. Yet, ironically, it has to be seen in the context of the state’s current battle with Naxalism. Sources say there has been a strategic decision within the CPM to take the Maoist battle head-on. This new strategy consists of propping up Harmad camps across the Maoistaffected district of West Midnapore.
“The public is fed up with the Maoists. They are with us. We have decided that this has to be fought two ways — ideologically and by mass mobilisation,” a CPM source in the party’s Alimuddin Street headquarters, told TEHELKA on the condition of anonymity. “If we go to the people and campaign against the Maoists, the people will raise their voice. We are mobilising people through daily rallies across villages.”
What is unsaid is that this mobilisation is taking place at gunpoint, and the targets have become not the Maoists, but anyone opposing the CPM. Political killings by the CPM and Trinamool Congress (TMC) have always been apart of West Bengal’s charged electoral landscape. Nandigram remains etched in Bengal’s history as one of those flashpoints that showed how both parties are armed and capable of brutal violence. The reason why the spread of Harmad camps must be seen outside that old narrative is because they are taking place in the guise of tackling Maoism.
If this is really true, and the CPM is amassing weapons and building camps then things indeed look very grim for West Bengal. This could be a repeat of the civil war between the CPM and the Naxalites from the 1960s.