Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF) condemns the startling verdict of Midnapore court in which Raja Sarkhel, Prasun Chatterjee, Chhatradhar Mahato and 3 others sentenced for life under ‘sedition’ and various sections of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). All of them had actively participated in the historic Lalgarh movement that attracted the attention of the country during the Left Front rule. Raja Sarkhel and Prasun Chatterjee were members of Gana Pratirodh Manch (GPM), which is a constituent of Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF). They are on the all-India Executive Committee of RDF. Raja Sarkhel has been fighting for people’s causes for decades. He joined the revolutionary movement in 1970s and since then he stood for the cause of the oppressed and participated in various militant struggles.
Prasun Chatterjee was also active in revolutionary movement for the last 20 years and stand by the movements that supported New Democratic Revolution. Chhatradhar Mahato was a prominent leader in the Lalgarh movement and is the spokesperson of Peoples’ Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCPA). Sukhshanti Baske, Sambhu Soren, Shagun Mahato were also activists of the PCPA. All of them were charged under unlawful Act during the CPM-led Left Front government and are now convicted in the Trinamool Congress regime. What more can we expect from the hypocrite Mamta Banerjee, who promised to release all political prisoners if voted to power.
Her fascist Government is now hell bent to send leaders of the Lalgarh movement, which played a major role in uprooting the fascistic CPM government, to jail. The glorious movement not only pulverized the fascistic rule but also challenged and transformed the exploitative and oppressive social order. The Lalgarh movement left its mark in the people’s movements in the country and attracted even international attention for its determined struggle despite the severe oppression by the State machinery. Started off as a movement to oppose police atrocities, the Lalgarh movement evolved into a movement that seeks to change the social order, building resistance against the State and the Harmad Vahini, the militia force run by the fascist CPM. This Movement presented an alternative socio-economic model and political structure, with agrarian revolution as its base. Led by the peasantry, this glorious movement was so strong that it forced the Indian ruling classes on its knees. The Indian State used every means to suppress the movement. But the agitating people, armed by revolutionary politics, gave them a fitting reply.
It was difficult for the State to take an impending defeat and began to target the leaders of the movement by arresting them using several draconian laws. It murdered Shashidhar Mahato, one of the most beloved leaders of Lalgarh movement and brother of Chhatradhar Mahato, Lal Mohan Tudu, who became the President of the PCPA after Chatradhar’s arrest, and Kishanji in fake encounters. The Trinamool Congress won the elections largely owing to the pent up anger against fascistic Left Front rule. But after attaining power, Mamta Banerjee conveniently forgot all the promises she made during the polls. She betrayed people. She not only went back on the promise of release of political prisoners, she created her own goonda militia Bhairav Bahini, following the footsteps of the CPM, to suppress the Lalgarh.
She wants to clear the way for imperialism, comprador big bourgeois and local landlords to plunder natural resources and exploit the toiling masses. People like Raja Sarkhel, Prasun Chatterjee and Chhatradhar Mahato had consistently worked to build the movement. They played a historic role in strengthening the arms of the masses with revolutionary politics and helped them fight the oppressive State forces. They have a role to play in building a strong resistance against exploitative, oppressive measures of the TMC-ruled State Government and the BJP-led Central Government. This is why the TMC government used all its resources to see to it that they get a conviction instead of securing their release as they promised earlier. RDF demands the immediate unconditional release of Raja Sarkhel, Prasun Chatterjee, Chhatradhar Mahato, Sukhshanti Baske, Sambhu Soren, Shagun Mahato and all other political prisoners, dropping all charges on them. We make an appeal to all the progressive and democratic people and organisations to extend their support in securing their release.
Release All Political Prisoners!
President General Secretary
Varavara Rao Rajkishore