Through his eyes – 25

ks about communist ideology were being sold door to door after dark, the most talked about book was called “Red Book” probably it was named so because of its bright red cover. But the books were burnt by the families as soon as the Naxals had left their houses; there was some fear in the mind of people. Posters were written on the wall urging people to listen to “Radio Peking”, a radio broadcast from China in Bengali. A new line was seen on the wall posters that claimed “Chairman of China is the Chairman of India”. Nobody understood clearly what the Naxals wanted to achieve but still people were providing food, shelter and money to them, it was a kind of acquiescence. When their posters, leaflets, occasional speech in small groups or revolutionary songs proclaimed that they wanted to transform India into a country like China where there was no difference among people no one opened his or her mouth.

One evening many police vans were seen on the main street. Shop owners were in a hurry to close their shops, people started running towards their homes. Very soon an eerie silence prevailed. One of their neighbors, a passive supporter of the Naxals, came to their house and told the reason – Naxals have snatched rifles from the security forces guarding the Flying Club which was having few two seater training planes kept under two large hangers. The entire operation was like an action movie.

Nine policemen, who were guarding the facility, were sitting on  wooden benches facing the main road that remained deserted both during day and night. Behind them there was an inundated low land covered with one kind of long grass. There was a barbed wire fence surrounding the low land but the fence was broken at many places by the villagers who used to enter through it to collect those long grasses for making mats which they sold in the local market. It was a dark night, few Naxals crossed the barbed wire fence through the broken areas and after crossing the low land, which was covered with water, without making any perceivable sound stood behind the policemen and pointed guns from behind, ordered them to drop their guns, to lie down on the ground and not to look at anywhere otherwise they were going to shoot them. The policemen did exactly what they were told to do and did not dare to move. They collected all the nine rifles and escaped. Later everybody came to know that the gun snatchers used large stems of Colocasia plants, cut in the shape of guns and painted black which the policemen thought to be real guns.

Email: mintughoshal@gmail.com

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