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Qatl ki Raat – Watchout Tomorrow

September 2, 2008

Tonight is the Night of the Long Knives – or Qatl ki Raat as they say in Hindustani. Indeed, it is not the night of the long knives of Nazi vintage – for that was carried out by Hitler against his own SA (the Nazi paramilitary organization), in one desperate power struggle. This is our very own CPI-M’s equally desperate power struggle – but directed outwards towards the struggling Dalit families in Chengara.

Tomorrow, 3 September, the Trade Unions will liberate Chengara. Just as the party cadre liberated Nandigram, not so long ago.  Reports reaching us say that the CITU, INTUC, AITUC, BMS, UTUC, KTUC have all joined hands to ‘evict’ the 30,000 people fighting in the Chengara estate tomorrow.

According to reports from activists, “yesterday, people who tried to reach Chengara were brutally attacked. 21 of them are admitted to the Pattanamthitta district hospital. 12 of them are women including a pregnant woman. The child who was in her arms was thrown away!! The child is also in the hospital now. The Pathanamthitta police is doing nothing to prevent these” [Update from Samkutty Pattomkary].

And CPM general secretary Prakash Karat is camping in Trivandrum, right now. All attempts by intellectuals and activists to meet him have so far yielded nothing. And why should he? Remember, Dam Dam Dawai? Remember ‘comrade’ Brinda Karat’s exhortation which became, it turned out, the signal to carry out the massacre? This time it is Karat himself there to oversee the operation.

When Nandigram happened, when rounds and rounds of violence took place there, and Kafila wrote exposing the CPM design, we saw the sudden appearance on this very blog, of the most hysterical CPM propaganda. Many of us, including the present author, were accused of being paid American dollars (interested readers may browse through those long and boring but invective-laden comments). We have preserved these precisely for an occasion like this.

For today, the same things are being said of the Chengara struggle and its supporters. This time too, when J Devika posted the Panchami Dalit Women’s Collective’s statement, we had at least one such intruder coming in to ‘set the record straight’. I quote two paras from his long comment:

“12 The law of the land does not prevail in this area. Ganja cultivation, illicit liquor and all immmoral [emphasis on m original] activities are taking place in this area under the guise of this agitation. 2 unnatural deaths of women has taken place in this area which people claim to be as a result of molestation etc but this has been hushed up. All records af theft, ganja seizures are avaailable [original] at local police station.
13 Ramphant [original] slaughter and theft of rubber is taking place.There is a well established cartel for selling of this illegal produce. Share from every sale goes to his highness Lahai gopalan.”

I am of course a north Indian who finds Ganja growing wild all over Delhi – you might even find it in AKG Bhawan, for all you know. And, believe me, the General Secretary doesn’t have to order its cultivation for it to be there.

However, ever since the election results of the panchayats and then of the municipalities in West Bengal came out, the cacophony has stopped – at least from the ‘progressive Delhi intellectuals’ who were merely seeing a conspiracy against the party where they should have seen a mass uprising. We are sure, Chengara, irrespective of what happens tomorrow, will be the beginning of a new politics in Kerala.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 3, 2008 1:25 PM

    T V channels in Kerala reported today that about 3500 workers of different trade unions were to begin the march much later than expected in the morning from Konnappara; BMS has reportedly declared that they would stay away from the march, if there’s any eruption of violence;

    Pathanamthitta district collector had announced on 2nd Sept. evening that no one would be allowed to enter the Chengara estate and to disturb the law and order situation; today there’s heavy police forces deployed near the plantation; so far no news of any clashes;

    Meanwhile, the Chengara struggle is gaining more support; yesterday evening, the Kerala Pulaya Maha Sabha (KPMS) that has been keeping a distance from the struggle so far has conducted evening processions in different parts of the state calling for an end to violence on the Chengara protesters and demanded that the safety of those stranded in the Chengara estate be ensured in the wake of the United Trade Union’s call for their ‘eviction’. And, the protesters had reportedly declared their decision to commit suicide in case of any move to ‘evict’ them.

    In the absence of any discussion with the protesters by the govt. in resolving the issue amicably, and in the face of continuing blockade on supply of food and medicines to the men, women and children inside the estate, the need of human rights agencies’ intervention is more urgent than ever before.

  2. JAI permalink
    September 4, 2008 9:16 PM

    insted of making an uproar on chengara by both fronts why dont they conduct peaceful talks and come to workable solutions. Dont abuse the left by eqauting it with the modi just basd on Nandigram, it may be an exception , where a newmodel was being experimentedand resisted, ok try to understand the fact that goverment understood folliesand withdrewe from its decision,can you expect the same from modis gujarat on a SEZ.With bruatl in force they weill impose what ever they want,, an regarding NIGAMS PIECE WHERE HE SAID LEFT IN KERALA IS HOSTILE TO ANY TALKS That ALSO FALSE..SOME LEASDERS OF AGITATION INCLUDING REKHA RAJ ALREADY MET CPM Secretary PrakashKarat ..if we need tochange any neagtive trends inkeralaincluding the extreme conservwative attitudes leding women to have a passive life you shold blame the education system under th christan and minorities taht has put upa serparating wall among maleand female children blockinga healthydiscussion and way of life.Left is only oneminor player that has absorbed this evil fromits surroundings though the stalinistic tradition fits with the paternal mind of KERALA

  3. Devika permalink
    September 5, 2008 10:42 AM

    A quick update: 3 September passed peacefully; but the trade unions have actually tightened the blockade, summoning up women and extending it to all-night. They are now threatening a further march on the 10th this month. The agony continues, and despite the fact that the Congress has now taken a position favourable to the protestors — Ommen Chandy’s statement the other day. I’m praying that my hunch on the ‘new Kerala Model’is wrong. They are testing our will; they are mistaken if they think we will back off…

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