Protest against the entry of police/paramilitary forces into Lalgarh and adjoining areas of West Bengal, India sign now

Sri Buddhadeb Bhattacharya
The Chief Minister
Government of West Bengal
Writers Buildings
BBD Bag
Kolkata 700 001


Dear Sir

Entry of police/paramilitary forces into Lalgarh and adjoining areas


We, the undersigned, strongly oppose your governments move to forcibly send police and/or paramilitary forces into Lalgarh and its adjoining areas on the pretext of holding parliamentary elections. Senior officials of your government have been regularly holding out threats to that effect.

The indigenous peoples of Lalgarh and adjoining areas in the Jangalkhand region have been for the past five months or so under the banner of the Poolishi Santrash Birodhi Janasadharoner Committee (PSBJC) waging a valiant and peaceful struggle protesting the atrocities your police committed on them, particularly on their women, in the first week of November 2008. They have justifiably demanded public apologies from the guilty police officers upon which your government is yet to act, despite your own admission in the Assembly of shame at the incident. Left with no redress, the people of Lalgarh have been diligently carrying out a social boycott of police and will offer as they have been doing for the past months stiff mass resistance if there is any attempt by the coercive arm of the state to forcibly enter their villages. Their action, in our eyes, is a just expression of a long-deprived and poverty-stricken communities basic quest for human rights, democracy and dignity.

We believe that elections should be an occasion to celebrate democracy, not an excuse to crush the democratic aspirations of the people. We envisage that attempts to push the police in the area will lead to unnecessary bloodshed and inflict further brutalities on innocent inhabitants. In this context, we may restate the stand the PSBJC has taken on the coming elections and stuck to that candidates belonging to any political party can campaign freely and the Election Commission can set up polling booths in the area without any obstruction but police, paramilitary forces and armed bodyguards of the VIPs will not be allowed in until and unless the police apologize openly. We cannot but agree with this just and sensible position. We may also point out that it is not imperative that elections have to be held only with the presence of the police forces; particularly so, when the people of the area have themselves assured that election process will be not be jeopardized.

We sincerely hope that your government will see reason and respect the sentiments of the people of Lalgarh and the adjoining areas. We urge you to give up taking recourse to a path that will only escalate the conflict between the government and the masses. Instead, we hope that your government will tread the path of reconciliation by ordering the guilty police officers to go to Lalgarh and openly seek pardon of the people there.

Thanking you

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Tony LeeBy:
Business and CompaniesIn:
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The Chief Minister, Government of West Bengal, India

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