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Mainstream, VOL LI, No 38, September 7, 2013

A True Man of the Masses

Sunday 8 September 2013

TRIBUTE

by Bishwajit Sen

The murder of Comrade Bindeshwari Sah on August 7 last, marked a definite turn in the Maoist politics of Bihar. It exposed a Maoist-police-landlord nexus which had been existing since a long time but had not been exposed as yet. But now with the land struggle reaching a qualitatively new stage, the hidden secrets of the ruling class are coming out the into the open. The pro-people and anti-people forces are positioning themselves for a decisive combat.

Bindeshwari Sah had been a member of the District Executive Committee (Khagaria) of the CPI and was a kisan activist. He was the moving spirit behind the peasant agitations which have been sweeping the district of Khagaria for the last several years. Poor peasants and landless labourers rallied to his call and accepted his leadership since he had a peerless moral character and tireless organising capabilities. He was neither afraid of the landlords nor the police (which was at the beck and call of the landlords). Of late a third force had joined hands with these two anti-people formations. They were the Maoists.

The D. Bandyopadhyay Commission on Land Reforms, which submitted its report in 2008 to the Government of Bihar, had diagnosed this malady (Maoists working hand in glove with exploiters) with enough clarity. It had written: “From the early 70s, the Naxalites took up the agrarian question and carried on militant movements even to the present day without much success in giving relief to the masses of exploited Bataidars ….... The situation on the ground remained as bad as before. In fact there were evidence in certain areas where militant groups had come to terms with the landowning classes by getting regularly some levy from them and in return allowed the landowners almost a freehand in dealing with their bataidars and agricultural workers. It appeared that in some places the so-called ultra-Left militancy degenerated into an alternate system of money extraction for the maintenance of their own organisational structure.” (page 34, ‘Mutation’)

The late Comrade Bindeshwari Sah was organising a movement which was causing much worry to the landowning classes. Therefore, it became imperative that he be eliminated. Maoists worked only as the land-owners’ tool.

The killing of Bindeshwari Sah had its roots in another incident, in which two other CPI members, Sagar Mukhiya and Chhotu Mukhiya, were killed on Deepavali day last year. Those murders too were the handwork of the Maoists. Bindeshwari Sah conducted the legal battle with much skill, and the accused were feeling the noose tightening around their necks. He was being pressurised to withdraw the cases, but Bindeshwari refused to oblige. This sealed his fate.

The most mysterious had been the role of the police. Bindeshwari Sah was killed in the evening of August 7. Enraged inhabitants of his parental village started chasing the killers and were on the the verge of catching them. Just then, the police from the Bahadurpur outpost situated at a distance of merely 100 metres came in their way and stopped them, giving the killers a chance to escape. This strange behaviour of the “guardians of law and order” raised serious questions about the impartiality of the police in the public mind. In several other incidents, which took place earlier, the police have been found siding with the landlord-Maoist nexus against the landless agitating for their rights.

It is heartening to note that the district CPI leadership decided to avenge the killing of Bindeshwari Sah with a greater mobilisation of the masses, which is the only way the Communists should act. On August 9, which also happened to be the “Quit India” day, people, numbering 5000 or more, assembled at the primary school at Ukhoura and vowed to carry forward the fight initiated by their departed leader. On August 12, the Red Flag was planted on surplus land at Pachaila Chowr of Bakhri Anchal of Begusarai district. Men and women of landless families, numbering about 10,000, participated in the act. Goons of the landlords could not summon enough courage to face this spontaneous upsurge.

Comrade Bindeshwari Sah, a Communist and a true man of the masses, is no more, a victim of a heinous conspiracy hatched by the police, landlords and Maoists, but not before arming the people with confidence in the ultimate victory of their cause. This is his singular contribution to the struggle of the landless, and this contribution alone would immortalise him. Years and decades may pass, but his name will not lose its sheen.

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