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Member of Parliament to Protest at Lok Sabha Gates

KOLKATA: First, he circulated CDs with songs in support of Chhatradhar Mahato. Now, Trinamool Congress MP Kabir Suman is set to launch a satyagraha protesting the proposed Operation Green Hunt in Parliament. The session starts on Monday.

The MP from Jadavpur will also write to the PM, home minister P Chidambaram and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee about his "findings on Jangalmahal" and about the plight of tribals in all Maoist-affected areas of Jharkhand, Orissa and Bihar.

The letter would request the three to send him as an emissary to Jangalmahal and hold talks with the Maoists to convince them to come to the talks table with representatives of the state. "I would request Manmohan ji, Chidambaram ji and Didi to help stop Green Hunt so that it would be easy to convince the Maoists for talks. If they are not agreeable, they can send me without any police escort," Suman said.

Suman says he will start his day in Parliament by standing with a self-designed poster that would call for an immediate stop to Operation Green Hunt. He says he will continue to do so until the PM takes note.

"I feel strongly against the state-backed joint operation in Jangalmahal," Suman said. "I have always opposed the Union home ministry's move in starting the joint operation and will continue to do so, despite the fact that I feel that the UPA government is the best that the country could have at this juncture. I think it is wrong to perpetrate violence to bring Maoists to term because in the process, innocent people are getting killed and state-backed violence will only incite counter-violence."

Suman says he will stand with the poster outside the door of Lok Sabha because his protest might affect Budget proceedings. "The whole country is eagerly awaiting the Budget, and as a responsible MP, I do not wish to do that," he said.

Suman said that between Independence and 2004, at least 60 million people belonging to the forests have been displaced and 7 million hectares of forests have been usurped. "Naturally, people to not trust the state any more. It is this vacuum that the Maoists have filled," he said.

Asked to comment on Monday's massacre at Silda, Suman said: "I wish they hadn't done it. But this is war. The EFR jawans had been sent there to kill and they have become victims of counter-violence, which is inevitable in such a situation."

(Times of India, 18th February)