Through his eyes – 28

One day in the early morning news arrived that a young man, son of a local coal merchant was murdered. Proloy and few of his friends rushed to the spot, beside a local club named ‘Jagarani Samity’, on the way to the town, little less than a kilometer from his house. His body, wearing a white trouser and a red T-shirt was lying on the main road in a pool of blood. His bicycle was lying few feet away from him. He was shot from a close range.
A rumor was spread that he was a police informer and therefore deserved to die. People were convinced that a police, informer of a police and a CPI(M) worker deserved nothing less than death.
Their close association with Naxals and being tortured by police and CPI(M) workers had an impact on their thinking which resulted into change in their behavior; the impact was more profound among those who were young. Finer qualities such as respect for elders, humility, being kind to others, showing compassion, being sensible even when angry etc. were receding at a steady rate. “Is this what you are taught in your school” – kind of harshest words used during pre-Naxal era changed into “I will behead you and feed you to a dog” during that time and it did not sound too odd though.
The coal merchant, the victim’s father, was known to everyone. Very few commented in a whispering tone that ‘probably his son was not a police informer’, ’could it be possible that a life was taken just out of suspicion’ &C. There were many instances where people were being harassed just out of suspicion.
The coal merchant suddenly grew much older and was seen dragging his feet while walking. Neither could he complain to anyone nor dared anyone to utter few words of sympathy in his ears for the probable fear of meeting the same fate as his late son.
People became paranoid. Young men developed a tendency to take law into their hands. When a stranger was seen looking for someone’s house, he was suspected to be an informer and had to prove his innocence and if the stranger ever lost his patience during the interrogation, which was extremely harsh, he was physically abused. No one dared to question the Naxals about their modus of operandi, people acquiesced. From the outside it still felt like mutual respect and cordial but a cold iron rule was felt at its substratum.
With Naxal’s blessings few local youths also started interrogating strangers.

Email:  mintughoshal@gmail.com

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