Friday, June 19, 2009


A two-storeyed house being built by CPM Lalgarh zonal committee secretary Anuj Pandey and his relatives became the symbol of what the Maoists termed “exploitation of peasants” and was partly demolished. Villagers converged on the house in Dharampur, beating drums and chanting: “Come and watch how a zamindar’s house made with money sucked from poor peasants is being demolished.”

Then they started breaking down parts of the house. The first-floor balcony railing was ripped out, the boundary wall on the roof demolished, the marble floor dug up and all doors and windows were smashed. Pandey, along with his two brothers, owns 40 bighas in the area — an enviable possession in a district where Bengal’s poorest of the poor live.

Pandey, a CPM wholetimer who earns Rs 1,500 a month, said he was building the house along with his brothers, one of whom deals in agri-products business. “The house is not yet complete,” Pandey said.

“They targeted my house because I stood up to the Maoists and stopped their advance beyond Lalgarh.”

With dusk descending, the villagers suspended the demolition.“We’ll complete it later,” Maoist Lalgarh leader Bikash said.

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