Nandigram Update:12th November 2007

Medha Patkar

Nandigram continues to be a battle zone, though the battle is a one-sided one,where CPI (M) goondas and criminals fight with sophisticated arms like SLR's,AK-47's, INSAS Rifles against the unarmed common people of the region. Peopleare being slaughtered everyday with police and administration backing and allthe while that the CPI (M) goons carry out their Clean Nandigram operation, thepolice remain silent and inactive spectators. Shame on this government andadministration that does not even have a word of regret to hide their blatantGenocide or even express an iota of sympathy for so many massacred people.

We have received news from various sources inside the villages that theterritories (moujas) that were to be occupied for the chemical hub are nowlying empty, deserted of all its inhabitants. Thousands of villagers have beencompelled to flee from their houses due to such incessant attacks by CPI (M)criminals. They are now living in camps in the core Nandigram area, while somehave been picked up and forcibly compelled to join the CPI (M) camps, wherethey are being used as human shields, during the daily attacks on the villagersby the CPI (M) criminals. This is not a police arrest but a mass abductionbeing carried out by armed CPI (M) cadres.

The worst attack was on the 10th of Nov '07, when CPI (M) led criminals hidingin fields and bunkers fired upon two unarmed rallies of 20 000 and 30 000people respectively in two areas of Nandigram. Many people are feared to havebeen killed – the total number is not yet known exactly as many bodies arestill supposed to be lying in the paddy fields. It is supposed to be rangingfrom a 100 to about 150 (and very wrongly reported by national and regionaldailies and AIR). We can know the final tally, only if everyone including themedia is allowed to enter the region, which until today lies barricaded offfrom the media and common people. No relief is being provided to thesedisplaced people, neither is anyone being allowed to enter the region, bylathi-weilding and armed CPI (M) cadres and criminals. They have burned downhundreds of houses in every village to ashes, demolished hundreds of villageswhere the silence of the cemetery reigns today as gun toting CPI (M) cadres onmotorbikes make their daily rounds of firing and bombing. They are reported tohave perpetrated certain cases of rape and molestation even.

The CPI (M) cadres are now compelling the abducted villagers to accept theircontrol and acquisitions. All these news confirmed by the Bengali media andmost dailies seem to be as if the CPI (M) is on a medieval conquering missionand with each chapter of inhuman barbaric assault upon the unarmed commonpopulace of Nandigram, they hail their victory of recapturing lost kingdoms!Many of the injured are in the Nandigram hospital; some in Tamluk hospital;some have been shifted to the Kolkata SSKM hospital. There is e severe dearthof doctors and medicines for treatment of bullet injuries as medical suppliesare also not being allowed to reach the hospitals with the approach roads beingbarricaded by the armed CPI (M) hoodlums. Even the CRPF that reached yesterday was not allowed to enter the region by the armed CPI (M) criminals. It seems likely that they too are to work in alliance with and under the control of the State Government.

While in Kolkata we have organized a very successful Two-day token Fast andDharna programme in alliance with various fraternal organizations like PASCHIMBANGA KRISHAK & KHET MAZDOOR SANGATHAN, HAWKERS SANGRAM SAMITI, NAPM ACTIVISTS, FORUM OF ARTISTS, CULTURAL ACTIVISTS & INTELLECTUALS, JANATA DAL (SECULAR), SUCI, and many individuals from Nandigram (Radharani Aarhi- a gang rape victim of Nandigram) MATANGINI MAHILA SAMITI from Singur and intelligentsia of Kolkata and Bengal.25 people fasted for 2 days. Relief materials were collected and almost Rs. 60 000 collected in these two days. Many eminent artistes and famous personalities of Bengal came to our Dharna Manch to express their solidarity with us –Film Directors- Aparna Sen, Rituparno Ghosh; Poet-Litterateur- Tarun Sanyal, Joy Goswami; Actors-.Singers- Anjan Dutta, Bibhas Chakraborty, Artists- Suvaprassanna, Shipra Bhattacharya; RSP MLA- Manojit Bhattacharya, Geeta Sengupta (presently in the Left Front in power) to name a few. Many eminent film personalities withdrew from the ongoing Kolkata International Film Festival in protest against the Nandigram killings. Some refused their awards and posts even. The Forum of Artistes, Cultural Activists & Intellectuals, organized a rally from here but it was intercepted by the police and stopped at two places. Later they held a demonstration by singing songs that again was attacked by the police in spite of the presence of eminent personalities and some were even man-handled by the police. 41 of the artists were imprisoned under Sec.151 same as the arrests made in Madhya Pradesh during the Narmada Bachao Andolan.

Jointly, with all the fraternal participating organizations, we have met theGovernor and submitted a Memorandum of demands for immediate stopping of these barbaric assaults on the people of Nandigram. Similarly we have written to the Union Home Minister. But our repeated attempts to meet the Chief Minister have all been washed down the drain, as he has not even responded.

Today we are proceeding to Nandigram with all the collected relief materialsand have informed and written to the D.G. of Police for protection. Let us seehow far we can proceed.

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