Anju and Jhuma are getting married on Wednesday. But marriage during Operation Lalgarh — especially in villages marked as Maoist strongholds — is proving to be quite troublesome.
The lagna (astrologically appropriate time for marriage) has been fixed at midnight. Guests have been invited. Shamianas are all done up. A simple dinner is being cooked. There is a music system belting out the latest Bengali hits.
But the merriment is toned down in Makarkol village on the Sarenga-Lalgarh border. There will be no party. For, 2,000 residents of villages in the area have fled since the security forces entered the area on June 19.
Anju Pratihar is marrying Fatik Bej of Bejdanga, a village almost abandoned following police action on Tuesday morning. Anju’s in-laws were told by the police not to move around even inside the village.
The other bride of Makarkol, Jhuma is getting married to Chanchal Mondal of Mirjapore village of Locchipore. Security forces have occupied these areas, about 10 km away from Kantapahari, a Maoist
stronghold. So, their story is identical.
Most guests at the two marriages did not turn up till Wednesday evening as the hosts could not arrange transportation for them.
Deshbandhu Mondal, elder brother of Jhuma, said: “Less than half of our relatives could not come. We could not bring the furniture that we have to send to my sister-in-laws’ house.”
Sanjay Pratihar, Anju’s cousin, said: “The groom’s party won’t be able to return at night. We have to arrange for their night stay.”
He said the situation was quite tense as on Tuesday evening security personnel beat up a physically challenged youth Bidhan Pratihar (30), threatening that they would make his other leg useless too. His fault: he ventured out after sundown.
On Tuesday morning, Fatik Hembram (37), a Trinamool Congress worker at a nearby village, Jukhanala, was sitting at a roadside tea stall when some policemen started beating him up, alleging that being a Trinamool worker, he must have helped the ultras.
Deshbandhu said, “We are not bothered about partying anymore. We only want to complete the rituals somehow.”