Keralite Naxal leader K N Ramachandran, who went missing in Kolkata on Sunday, reached New Delhi on Tuesday morning after a group of unidentified people – allegedly intelligence officers – took him to an undisclosed location where he was detained overnight and put him on a Delhi-bound train on Monday evening and packed off to the national capital.
Octogenarian Ramachandran came to Kolkata to attend at rally at Bhangar, where his outfit, CPI(ML)(Red Star), is spearheading a movement against a power grid. The movement has become a major embarrassment and headache for the Mamata Banerjee government.
In a statement issued shortly after his arrival in New Delhi, Ramachandran alleged that he was overpowered by a group of men soon after his arrival at Kolkata station on Sunday evening. He was gagged, blindfolded and forced into a vehicle.
Later he found himself at place that he thought was located in the outskirts of Kolkata. His mobile phone was taken away and, following thorough grilling by officers who knew Malayalam – Ramachandran’s mother tongue – he was again forced into a car on Monday afternoon, blindfolded, and taken to Durgapur station, about 150 kilometres from Kolkata.
“(They) gave me back my suitcase. They took away Rs 3,000 from the bag and did not give me the mobile, ensuring that I cannot return to Kolkata for the scheduled January 24 visit to Bhangar and the press conference at Kolkata,” Ramachandran said in the statement.
“I have no comment on this incident. I have no idea at all,” DGP Surajit Kar Purakayastha told HT.
While according to Ramachandran’s statement, those who picked him up claimed to the officers of central intelligence agencies, CPI(ML)(Red Star) leaders told HT it is more likely that state agencies were involved and deliberately gave false information. They also pointed out that while, the outfits leaders were busy in finding out Ramachandran’s whereabouts, Trinamool Congress led a peace rally in Bhangar, their first since trouble broke out on January 16.
Ramachandran alleged that he was grilled particularly over his outfit’s relations with the Maoists and whether Maoists were involved in the agitation at Bhangar. According to Ramachandran, he told the intelligence officers that they were trying to build the movement keeping both the Maoists and the CPI(M) away.
“The whole episode of kidnapping and detention of the general secretary of a party which is working openly at all India level is a naked repetition of what the central and state governments are doing at Bhangar in South 24 Parganas… It was a naked fascist act to gag me, to prevent me from going to the villages to declare solidarity with the affected people and families of the two martyrs, and to address the media at Kolkata explaining the details of the Bhangar movement,” the octogenarian said.
Incidentally, CPI(ML)(Red Star) is known in the Left circles as a Naxalite faction that is strongly opposed to the Maoists. They have been stern critics of the policy of armed struggle. The party takes part in elections at all levels -- municipal, Assembly and Lok Sabha.
“The developments in Bhangar show that Mamata Banerjee, who came in power using the Singur and Nandigram movements, is doing a worse act in Bhangar and the people will not allow her to get away with it,” the octogenarian said.