KOLKATA: The leaders of People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCPA), who had earlier agreed to hold peace talks with the government, made a volte face and refused to come to the city to have a dialogue with Union minister of state for shipping Mukul Roy on Thursday.
Two government representatives, former DG B P Saha and Jaideep Mukherjee of All India Legal Aid Forum, had met Chhattradhar Mahato in Midnapore jail a fortnight ago and held discussions for peace talks. There it was agreed that PCPA leaders will meet Roy in the city.
Mukherjee said that the PCPA leaders were keen to have talks with the government and they agreed to meet Roy on Thursday. “But this sudden flip of their decision is being pointed to the fiery speech uttered by Trinamool MP Subhendu Adhikary at Belpahari on Tuesday,” Mukherjee said. The young MP had threatened to drive away Maoists from Jangalmahal and is going to organise a padayatra on November 12. to control the villages in Jangalmahal.
However, this has greatly aggrieved PCPA secretary Ashok Jiban Ghosh who said that even if Adhikary threatened to drive away Maoists, ultimately the tribals would be tortured. “We had agreed to meet Mukul Roy. But on Tuesday when Adhikary threatened to take control of the villages, Roy was sitting next to Adhikary. How can we now go for talks with Roy? It is impossible.”
Ghosh said, “Last month, there was armistice as t
the Maoists had offered a month-long ceasefire agreed for ceasefire, but the joint forces continued conducting raids and torturing villagers. Until torture stops it is not possible to hold talks. There should be a suitable environment for talks in the first place.”
Ghosh has another point for not coming to the city. He said that they had wanted to meet Chhatradhar Mahato in jail to discuss about their meeting with Roy. But they were not allowed to meet Mahato by the jail administration. “So how can we prepare for the talks?”
He claimed that torture by joint forces is regular in Jangalmahal. “We do not want torture. Even if the joint force cannot be withdrawn, atleast their raid should be stopped.”
Ghosh said, “We demand development and peace of Jangalmahal. But we are not allowed to hold any public meeting. Even Nari Izzat Bacaho Committee, which was formed to voice rape of women by men in uniform, was not allowed to take out a rally. We have constitutional right to organise rallies, but we are denied that.”
“Only some Trinamool workers are creating terror and torturing villagers. “Why are they not arrested by police? Earlier there were CPM goons and now Trinamool workers are torturing villagers.”
Ghosh said that the PCPA is being branded as Maoist organisation. “But we have no links with Maoists. We believe in democratic ideology, which the Maoists lack.”
He said “Mamata Banerjee earlier promised to withdraw joint forces and all false cases against PCPA supporters. But after coming to power she did not keep her promise, so we are losing faith in the CM.”