Sunday, Nov 27, 2022
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All Red In The Rear View Mirror

Former Naxalite Ashim Chatterjee looks back at the rebellion that made him

All Red In The Rear View Mirror Photograph by Sandipan Chatterjee

It is difficult to believe that the friendly man waving at us from the second-floor balcony of his house in Calcu­tta’s well-to-do Salt Lake City neighbourhood was once upon a time on the West Bengal Police’s “most wanted” list. Arrested in 1971, when he was underground as a central committee member of the CPI-ML and secretary of its ‘Bengal-Bihar-Orissa Border Committee’, and slapped with several non-bailable charges, including Section 302 IPC for murder, he spent eight years in a north Bengal prison, inc­luding four in solitary confinement—“with my hands and legs shackled to a ball-and-chain device,” he recalls.

How did he keep his sanity? “Why would I lose it?” he ret­orts, giving a hint of the proverbial Naxalite nerves of steel.

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