Maoists mar marriages in Lalgarh
With dreamy eyes, Anima Maity had been waiting impatiently for the month of May. The 19-year-old village belle from West Midnapore district in West Bengal was set to wed Suman Khan from neighbouring Bankura, until Sunday.kolkata Updated: Apr 08, 2010 00:18 IST
With dreamy eyes, Anima Maity had been waiting impatiently for the month of May. The 19-year-old village belle from West Midnapore district in West Bengal was set to wed Suman Khan from neighbouring Bankura, until Sunday.
“My daughter’s match was cancelled on Sunday after everything was finalised,” said her father Sanjay Maity, a grocer in Harina village.
The reason? Harina is located in Lalgarh, a Maoist bastion, which has witnessed persistent violence between the rebels and security forces over the past year-and-a-half, claiming 140 lives.
At least four weddings have been called off in Lalgarh, 160 km west of state capital Kolkata, as the standoff continues.
“My address near Lalgarh has turned out to be a curse,” Sanjay Maity said.
Maoist blasts and blockades and combing operations by security forces have defined life in this once peaceful hamlet since late 2008.
“Who wants to lose a relative? Life comes very cheap in this troubled zone,” said Debabrata Roy and Tarun Banerjee, from the Congress and CPI-M, respectively.
They are rivals in state politics but share common views on this issue.
The two pointed out other concerns as well. “How can someone residing outside the troubled zone be sure about the background of a Lalgarh resident? There is a slim chance that a person sympathising with the rebels will be chased by the combined forces,” Roy said.
Sanjay Maity has company in Ujjwal Kundu of the Katapahari area in Lalgarh. Kundu’s 18-year-old daughter Ruma’s marriage negotiations with a family in Garbeta fell through for the same reasons.
Amaresh Pandey of Lalgarh town is also struggling to find a match for his 20-year-old daughter Kajalrani.
And it’s not just would-be brides who suffer. Krishnadas Chowdhury, 26, a graduate who owns a grocery shop and a husking mill in Lalgarh, too, is finding it tough to find a girl willing to marry him. “No one is ready to send his daughter here,” he said.
“My address is (my) only disqualification,” said another eligible bachelor, 28-year-old engineering department official Kashinath Chakravarty.
Bereft of options, Lalgarh residents are now exploring other Maoist hotspots such as Belpahari, Binpore, Goaltore, Silda and Jhargram for matchmaking.