Probe This Nexus!
November 01, 2009
November 01, 2009
THE Maoists have staged a daring stoppage of the Bhubaneswar-Delhi Rajdhani in the Jhargram-Kharagpur section, near Banstala station and holding it for over five hours. Mercifully, there were no casualties, thanks to the joint operations conducted by the security forces which resulted in the safety of the passengers and the release of the train. From the graffiti on the train, scripted by no hapless tribal but by someone well heeled, it can be inferred that this was done to demand the release of Chhatradhar Mahato, leader of the Maoist-backed People's Action Committee against Police Atrocities, recently arrested by the police.
The whole incident raises many questions that need to be probed. All those who have travelled by Rajdhanis or Shatabdis know that the train hurtles at speeds of around 120 kilometers per hour and even when obstructions are noticed on the track, application of emergency breaks would lead to damage to both the tracks and the train. In this case, however, the train peacefully ground to a halt.
The minister of Railway's first reaction, typical of the usual hyperbole and absurdity, was that the CPI(M) cadre had blocked the train to malign her image! However, when the graffiti exposed the perpetrators of this outrage as belonging to the Maoists, the minister expressed her desire for a dialogue and even conveyed to those holding the train hostage to suggest a venue! Further, one of the Trinamool Congress ministers in the union cabinet, Sishir Adhikary, soon after the incident, boasted to the media that he had prior knowledge that such an attack would take place. Surely, the prime minister needs to probe the source of such `knowledge' by his ministerial colleague and inform the nation.
The collaboration of the Trinamool Congress with the Maoists has been detailed in these columns earlier as well. Chhatradhar Mahato was a local Trinamool leader before becoming the head of the so-called People's Committee. The self-declared and publicity hungry spokesman of the Maoists, Kishenji, had earlier declared to the media that the Maoists wish to see Ms Mamata Banerjee as the future chief minister of Bengal. He has also suggested that as they had helped the Trinamool earlier in Nandigram and now in Lalgarh, they expect the Trinamool to return the favour. Clearly, this has once again confirmed that the Maoists began their operations in Bengal under the political patronage and protection provided by the Trinamool.
It is precisely due to this political collaboration between the two that the Trinamool, till we go to press, has not condemned this Maoist outrage of stopping and damaging the train. It is again precisely due to this political arrangement between the two that the Trinamool Congress has been asking for the withdrawal of the central forces in the operations against Maoist terror in Bengal. Ironically, such blatant support for the Maoists and their terrorist activities comes from a party that is in that very union cabinet headed by the prime minister who on repeated occasions had stated that Maoist violence constitutes the gravest threat to India's internal security. The tragedy for the country is that this UPA government is continuing, displaying no discomfort, despite such a blatant contradiction. The prime minister owes an explanation to the country on this score.
In the meanwhile, there are reports of growing unrest and insecurity amongst the railway employees. A leader of the Railway Men's Union in Purulia has expressed grave doubts on the security of railway personnel who are not being provided adequate forces to protect themselves from growing Maoist attacks on railway stations, tracks and other railway facilities. The situation will not improve, they feel, as long as the Trinamool chief is the Railway minister because of the close political collaboration between them.
These are issues that warrant a serious probe. Can the safety of the Indian Railways, one of the most important instruments of our country's unity and integrity, be jeopardised at the altar of crass political opportunism of protecting and patronising the Maoists? And, consequently, permit the Maoists to mount grave threats to our country's internal security? The prime minister and this UPA-2 government need to assure the people that India's internal security is not being compromised. A thorough investigation into all these issues must be urgently ordered and those culpable of damaging the interests of our country that threaten the lives of the innocent people must be made accountable.
(28 October, 2009)