Will Bengal’s ‘conspiracy land’ witness change

“Don’t go to the local zoo”, “Don’t chat too much with the security personnel”, “Avoid public transport”, “Don’t stay outdoors after dusk”, “Don’t express opinions, just listen”.These were among the plethora of well meaning pieces of advice gathered from a host of colleagues, canada goose outlet journalists and family canada goose outlet store montreal members as we headed to West Midnapore district in Bengal.Complete Coverage: Assembly Elections 2011The reason behind this list of dos and don’ts? West Midnapore, along with the districts of Bankura and Purulia, makes up Jungle Mahal the forested, tribal dominated and under developed vast stretch that has become a hunting ground for both the Maoists and security forces.The district has made plenty of headlines in the last few years, and for all the wrong reasons. canada goose outlet in new york In November 2008, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s convoy narrowly missed being blown apart by a landmine in Salboni.Later in the same month, Maoists took over the entire area of Lalgarh and set up a local administration for eight months there till joint forces sent by the Centre flushed them out in June 2009.In November 2010, nine villagers were killed in firing allegedly from a Left Front leader’s house in Netai village.As one local canada goose outlet store quebec activist observed wryly, “There is so much violence here, ke kaake maarche bojha jaaye na (nobody knows who is killing whom).Please click NEXT to read more.Conspiracy theories abound here; canada goose victoria parka outlet there are multiple versions of every incident.The ruling Left Front claims that the Trinamool Congress has joined hands with the Maoists to dislodge them from canada goose outlet authentic power.The Trinamool claims that the Communist Party of India Marxist’s harmads (armed cadres) are terrorising the locals.The Maoists, meanwhile, have slammed both the political parties for their failure to work for the local tribals who live in dire poverty.Taking no chances at all, the Election Commission has saved the www.goosecanada.ca toughest for the last. Fourteen highly sensitive constituencies in Jungle Mahal will go to polls on May 10 bringing the curtains down on the six phase elections in the state that started on April 18.The canada goose outlet winnipeg EC has reason to be canada goose factory outlet toronto location worried. A recent survey carried out by the state administration showed that over two lakh voters were scared of coming out to vote in the volatile constituencies. The final outcome of the polls will be decided by how many people actually dare to vote. We will also mobilise forces across all the constituencies in the area, so that voters feel safe to come out and vote. People had turned up in large numbers during the polls in south Bengal in spite of the political violence in that region. I am sure even Jungle Mahal will witness substantial voting.”We are on our way to Jhargram, a former tourist haven that has lost much of its sheen. The serene forests and lush green landscape here make it hard to believe that Jhargram regularly hits the headlines for ‘Maoist violence’.A local businessman admits that the once bustling town a favourite location of Tollywood film makers is going through a rough patch. And he blames the media, not Maoists, for the loss of business.”The media has portrayed Jhargram as the most unsafe place on the planet. When violent incidents happen in the interiors, far away from the town, they make it sound like this is the centre of all the action. The tourism business here has withered away, thanks to the hype created by them,” he rues.But once we leave the peaceful confines of Jhargram to explore other villages in the constituency, it is apparent that all is not well. We are forced to take a much longer detour as the Maoists have blown up a bridge on the regular route.We are told that the remarkably well maintained road our vehicle is gliding on was built only so that the security forces could march through the countryside and recapture Lalgarh.We pass a sprawling, formidable camp set up for the personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force, one of whom glares at us as we try to slow down for a photograph.We pass through scores of anonymous villages with similar characteristics. On the colourful walls of the thatched huts, Trinamool’s green and orange is competing for space with the CPI M’s red.Most houses either don’t have electricity connection or seem to be in the throes of a perpetual power cut. And the local villagers, who continuously help us with directions as we keep on confusing our way, range from reed thin canada goose jacket uk to skeletal.”Maoists hide in their houses and demand to be fed. These villagers barely have food for themselves, how will they feed the Maoists? Once they leave, these families are targeted by security forces, which claim that they are in cahoots with Maoists,” she explains.Deriding the ruling Left Front government for its apathy, Gangopadhyay says that barely a fraction of the central funds granted for the development of these tribal areas is spent here. The rest, she alleges, “goes into the pockets of the leaders of the ruling canada goose outlet winnipeg address party.”.

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