Gopal Chakki, Ganesh Roy, Subal Roy, Gosai Sil and ... Sitting at the Dhupguri CPI(M) zonal party office, Dhupguri zonal committee secretary Subash Roy sought the help of other comrades to remember the name of the fifth CPI(M) worker killed on the evening of August 17, 2002, when the Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO) attacked the CPI(M) office .
Eight years since the attack that left one CPI(M) Jalpaiguri district committee member and four party cadres dead and 18 injured, the families of those who sacrificed their lives fighting the KLO have been left to fend for themselves by the very party they fought for.
The name of Dulal Roy, a resident of Kalirhat, Tetulpara and the fifth CPI(M) member killed by the KLO militants on the fateful night did not figure in the list of CPI(M) martyrs given to Hindustan Times, by Subash Roy.
A witness to the firing at the party office, Subash Roy later told HT that he had inadvertently forgotten to mention the name of the fifth martyr. He is not alone. Most CPI(M) leaders have neglected the families of the victims of KLO attacks.
The families are in sorry state with no help from the party. The children go hungry and one of them is on deathbed. Meet Tarun Dutta (25), the eldest of the five children of Sunil Dutta, who was killed by KLO militants at Duramari, a remote village 19km from Dhupguri town, on March 4 2000. A casual labour in the CPI(M)-run Dhupguri Municipality since the last five years, Tarun was promised a government job both by the party and administration. Over the last five years, there have been recruitments but Tarun’s name has not figured.
He has knocked on the doors of CPI(M) leaders, only to be turned away. Now earning R2,000 per month, he is forced to shoulder the burden of his family in addition to bearing the medical expenses of his youngest sibling Anupam, who recently underwent a surgery for brain tumor in Chennai.
Tarun and his mother Sharda had sought the party’s help for Anupam’s treatment but were turned away each time. Talking to Hindustan Times, Sharda said, “We were treated like beggars by the CPI(M) leaders.”
To meet the mounting medical expenses of Anupam, who wrote his Madhyamik this year from the hospital bed, the family was eventually forced to mortgage a seven-cottah plot. Tarun said, “If I fail to repay R1.5 lakh for the plot, we would have no option but to leave the village. We have no alternative source of income to repay the debt.”
He had twice written to chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, seeking a government job, but there has been no response. Even the recommendation for a government job by the district magistrate of Jalpaiguri,failed to find favour with the state administration.
Sharda said, “We would continue to work for the CPI(M), the party my husband gave his life for. But the CPI(M) leaders at present are busy catering to their own interest.”
“Had Gopal Chakki and Subash Sarkar been alive, they would definitely have helped us out,” said Tarun.
Sitting at her Satsangpara home in ward 1 of Dhupguri Municipality, Sadhana Chakki (61), wife of Gopal Chakki, said: “No one in Dhupguri sacrificed as much for the party as Sunil Dutta. When a CPM zonal committee secretary cannot remember the names of all five who were killed inside the party office, what more can you expect from such leaders,” said Sadhana.
Gopal Chakki, a Jalpaiguri district committee member of the CPI(M), had been a godfather to many poor CPI(M) supporters in the area. He had been one of the prime targets of the KLO during the attack at Dhupguri party office. “Since my husband was killed by the KLO, I have never been through the road on which the CPI (M) party office is located. The CPI(M) had made tall promises for the families of those who fell to KLO’s bullets, but later left them to fend for themselves. Had I not worked as a primary school teacher, may family would have starved,” Sadhana said.