January 7, 2011
“We just wanted to reason with the CPM men”
MIDNAPORE: Panic-stricken villagers of Netai, who survived Friday morning’s carnage, claimed that they had gathered to try and reason with the CPM leadership and not with any intention to storm local leader Rathin Dandapat’s house. That they were not lying was clearly indicated by the bullet injuries suffered by the victims. All of them had been shot while trying to escape. “Most of the villagers who had gathered near the house were women. As soon as the first shot was fired, they turned and tried to flee. But the harmads continued to shoot,” said Chanchal Goswami, an eyewitness. Ranjit Maity was thrashing paddy when his wife Phulkmari Maity (40) left for Dandapat’s house. He decided to join her. In the afternoon, he was weeping beside his wife’s lifeless body at Midnapore hospital. “The harmads snatched my wife away from me. They shot us because we refused to turn up for arms training,” Maity said. “My wife worked at CPM leader Dandapat’s house for a day and I was asked to patrol the village boundary at night. If all the men attend arms training, who will tend to the fields? If women work at Dandapat’s house, who will take care of the children? So, late on Thursday night, we got together and decided to reason with the CPM leaders on Friday morning,” Maity said. Chanchal Goswami, whose 55-year-old uncle Dhruboprasad died in the firing, claimed that he was earlier beaten up by CPM workers for refusing to attend training. “I don’t stay in Netai. When I returned to the village on Thursday, I came to know that my uncle was being threatened regularly and had been thrashed for defying the CPM’s diktat. I accompanied him on Friday morning to Dandapat’s house. Subhen Mondal opened fire without any provocation,” he said.
Courtesy The Hindu