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News & Views on the Revolutionary Left

Naxalbari will come again and again, it never dies

Stormy days of the '70s are back again in the intellectual hubs,
universities and elite colleges of West Bengal.

Students from Jawaharlal Nehru University (Delhi), Jadavpur University and Presidency College are reaching nondescript villages like Bajemelia, Khaserbheri in Singur and Tekhali Bazar in Nandigram and organising farmers who are reliving the Naxalbari genre. They are also helping farmers file affidavits for compensation.

The formation of a seventies-style intellectual vanguard came to light with the arrest of Moloy Tewari, a JU engineering student, and Jitendra Kumar of the Jamia Milia Islamia from Tekhali Bazar in East Midnapore, a day before the violence broke out on Saturday night. Jitendra had come as part of a CPI (M-L) Liberation delegation from various universities to Singur. He overstayed and went to Nandigram to have a feel of the "movement in the making".

Initially, they were detained by the police for interrogation but were later slapped with non-bailable charges amounting to criminal conspiracy. Moloy and Jitendra's arrests sent ripples in Jadavpur and Presidency, where Naxal groups reacted with demonstrations inside the campus as they did during the Singur violence. And the students termed as "apolitical" by elders participated in the demonstration.

"Many students, not involved in politics, have resented Moloy's arrest and the way the government is handling land deals. I am now in the midst of a meeting to chalk out our future course," said Amit Chakrabarty, general secretary of the Faculty of Engineering and Technology Students' Union, JU. Students from different colleges including Presidency College and Jadavpur have formed a platform — Chhatra Chhatri Sanghati Mancha — to voice their dissent.

Before this, another JU student was taken to custody after he led the team that vandalised the Tata showroom on AJC Bose Road in Kolkata. All these incidents have thrown the administration into a tizzy. And the ruling CPM, fast losing its strongholds in the villages, are putting the blame on the Naxalite groups.

"There's a method in the madness. Villagers can't dig up their own roads or burn bridges, cut off communication links. The action seems part of a well thought out plan from outside," said CPM MP Shamik Lahiri. The administration promptly took the cue to hide their failure. The rhetoric of the students is also similar to that of the '70s. "Jadavpur theke Singur — eki path, eki sur," are some of the posters spread over the campus.


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posted by Bimal 9.1.07,


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