Hands cut, now ignored

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By AMRITA GHOSH
  • Published 17.09.10
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Howrah, Sept. 16: Four Congress workers whose hands had been chopped off allegedly by CPM goons 19 years ago were not invited today to a programme in Howrah where Rahul Gandhi met the family members of Congress workers killed in political violence.

The four men, residents of Howrah’s Kedua village, alleged that the party no longer cared for them and had distanced itself from them.

Ghanteswar Bag, Keshab Dhara, Rasu Dhara and Gora Hudud still remember the day in May 1991 when CPM activists, armed with swords and bombs, raided their homes and chopped off their hands because they had campaigned for Gopal Patra, the only Congress candidate to win a seat in the Anulia gram panchayat elections that year. Gopal was hacked to death.

Ghanteswar, then a 15-year-old, said: “Around 8am, my father and I were stacking hay when more than 100 CPM cadres surrounded our house. They beat me up and one of them chopped off my left hand with a sword. They also maimed my right hand.

“The CPM chopped off my hand for supporting the Congress. But now the Congress leaders don’t care for us. I live on the charity of my brothers. I want Rahul Gandhi to come and see my plight.”

Rasu, 38, said that had he got the opportunity to meet Rahul, he would have told him how miserable his life was without his right hand. “My wife feeds our family by selling puffed rice.” Gora, 43, and Keshab, 46, have similar tales of neglect. “The party today invited family members of only those who have lost their lives. We feel we too should have been invited,” Keshab said.

Congress leader Asit Mitra said: “I hope that in the future, injured persons will also be invited to similar programmes.”

Among those whom Rahul met at Sarat Sadan auditorium was Rekharani Sain, 70, whose husband had been killed with his four brothers, all Congress workers, in the 1970 Sain Bari massacre by alleged CPM activists. “Rahulji told us he would speak to the Prime Minister about us and draw up a plan to help us,” Rekharani said.