NANDIGRAM: People should be in, terror should be out

People should be in, terror should be out

Return and rehabilitation of people to be asserted and supported

The Complex political strategy tried by the CPI (M) Govt and the party in 'Operation Nandigram' is by now well known and exposed. Even when their declaring attainment of peace and appealing to the people who were compelled to run away from the villages to return back, it is obvious that the communities are far from retaining its nature, culture and habitats with livelihoods.

The so called peace in the villages such as Gokulnagar, Sonachura and Garchakraberia is totally a fictitious and could be claimed only after the armed attacks by the cadres had achieved the goal of wiping out opposition per say.

The relief camp in Nandigram still is housing a few thousand people continues to be the centre of attention to anyone who wants to help Nandigram. The relief material which has reached the camp is to be delicately distributed avoiding the approach of charity on one hand and ensuring the struggle on the other.

It is encouraging that various organizations who have allied to form the Ganamancha have also been contributing and mobilising relief materials sent regularly in trucks to the camp residents.

The need of the hour is to be selective in gathering and sending relief focussing on tarpaulin and other materials which would be long term use and the families start their new life in the old villages again. The immediate need of Lungis, children's clothes, undergarments are being met with through the mobilised money and material at the Ganamancha in Kolkata. The need is also felt to provide voluntary help to the Bhoomi Ucched Pratirodh Samiti in management and distribution of relief.

The phase of rehabilitation has just begun with groups of families shifting back from the camps to the villages such as Gokulnagar, Daudpur and Kalicharanpur as well as part of Samsabad and Ahmedabad. Some of the families have had to return from other villages due to unbearable threats and torture at the hands of CPIM goons like cadres.

The people realise that CRPF has made some difference while CPIM has not taken party level decision to stop and withdraw its cadres. Everyone therefore felt a strong need to have a CRPF camp at few places such as Sonachura, Satangabari, Ranichowk and Jambari while there may be no need to have a camp in Khejuri and Khudabari.

We assist the situation at the camp and in the villages through a visit to Nandigram, Sonachura and Gokulnagar where we stayed last night with the newly shifted families who were still in the temporary sheds put up in the villages.

A number of cases of beatings, firing, arson and loot keep coming up in the interaction with the affected families. We could gather information about the scenario through detail dialogue and investigation at every place. The following are some of those:-

1. Subol Majhi- missing in Sonachura since he participated in the procession on November 10th. Left with 2 children Raju and Sonali, mother is frustrated and yet trying to get back her husband, along with at least 40+ about whom there is no clue whatsoever. Narmada a lady from Sonachura is said to have witnessed the firing which hit him and he been carried away by the CPIM cadres.

2. Ansura missing from Satangabari while her father Sheikh Moti is trying his best with no result till date. He came from Calcutta in search of Ansura but cannot continue this with meagre resources and irresponsive Government agencies. He also tried to go back to his village Satangbari but without CRPF. He was caught by the C PIM threat to sign the papers and hence is still in the camp.

3. Sabita Pramanik of Gokulnagar tried to go back to her village 8 days ago but finding the CPIM cadres moving around and feeling intimidated and threatened back within two days.

4. The rapist in Gokulnagar was named by women as Kalia Garu, Sudarshan Garu and Sagar Das.

5. Rahul Mir and Rahima Bibi of Satangbari feel devastated as Rehna Bibi had to remain away with her relatives since she was raped on 6th of November, 07. She was treated at Basgaoura Hospital of Nandigram Police Precinct and she identifies rapist as Mir Ahsan, Mir Kalu, and Mir Illias were CPIM men and still live in the village. They do not see an immediate possibility to return back. and

6. Snehanshu Das with his son and Puna Harekrishna Das also reported beating by CPIM leader Kalia Garu in Gokulnagar just 4 days back.

7. Basudev Mondal has now returned from SSKM Hospital, Kolkata. Had faced bullet on 28th October when he was returning home leaving the procession, feeling scared by the firing. He washed his feet in the talao (Tank) but could not reach his house. His better after operation but not sure whether his complaint is admitted as FIR.

8. Bulu Mir is a child of about 8 years faced bullet when he was merely playing outside and tried to run away to reach home on 31st of October. Living in Satangabari, he was studying in Class IV in the Ranichowk School, but he is in the camp with his mother today not feeling well and no cash for buying fruits or special food to eat.

9. Lal Mohan Das of Simalkunda who too faced bullet is still in the SSKM, Hospital Kolkata. All his relatives are in the camp and feel shattered to think of the future. They remember that he was hit with the bullet when he was outside the house when the firing started even in the daytime at 4o Clock in the evening by the CPIM cadres. They have come to know that their house id looted by the cadres who broke the lock and entered in and apparently, their fish in the pond is also taken away.

10. Bindu Das is shattered to have left her house in the Gokulnagar and to have only one resort, the camp. Her husband Panchanan Das was killed on the 14th of March and died three days after firing in Tamluk. She remembers having his body after 3 full days.

11. It was on 14th March that Sailabala Dhar broke her knee bone in the Rod and Stick charged by police but this time she feels devastated on having to runaway from her house leaving the paddy in the field which is not sure whether it is still there or is already harvested by the CPIM cadres.

12. Hazra Bibi of Usman Chowk had borne the pain of fracture on her shoulder and this time in November her house is fully looted and is in the camp with her three children, pauperised.

13. 12 persons belonging to Sonachura and Kalicharanpur are known to have been abducted and taken towards Orissa side. One of them has runaway and returned back and has identified about four but not others, not knowing where they are today.

Stories are unending and indicate the torture faced and is being faced indicate the inhuman ways of occupying the land and compelling the people to accept the CPIM terror, adopted by the ruling party.


We reached Adhikari Para of Gokulnagar late night with patrolling and protecting police force{including Intelligence} sent by the West Bengal Government who accompany day and night (tagging behind like a Gluey Sticker)

In the school of Gokulnagar 26 Jawans of EFR(Eastern Frontier Rifles) were found camping since last 3 days with one assistant Sub-Inspector in Charge.They work under the WB Police and hence still demanding CRPF camp in Gokulnagar.

We ate and stayed with families who have returned back just a day ago from the camp and put up a Tarpaulin shed for all those who have lost everything in the arson and loot. Houses of Srikant Charan Das Adhikary and Swadesh Das Adhikary stand witness.

They are determined to stay put while cannot say that there is peace in the village as yet. They need support material and moral both. Tapan Das Adhikary, Swapan Das Adhikary, Sasank Das Adhikary, Mahadeb Das Adhikary, Piyush Das Adhikary have all lost their houses while some of those were also burnt down.

Saroj Das Adhikary has a cemented house which could not be burnt but has faced loot of Goldsmiths shop in Tekhali Bazaar in March itself. Bhim Mondal lost his laundry shop and Debabrata Das Adhikary lost his cloth shop in the same to similar loot.

The worst affected and destroyed the house of Swadesh Das Adhikary who used to be active in mobilising and organizing people against land acquisition. His 90 years old mother is almost deaf was compelled to work in a small of land in front of the remains of her house digging out potatoes which Swadesh had sown but not seeing any safe ground to build her son's life.

All together about 8 to 10 houses in the lane were burnt while 12 are fully looted.

The landless are destitutes today with no farm labour employed by the farmers who are themselves penniless or have runaway from the houses. Many of them have not been able to go to the markets and earn from the years long occupations since are being threatened by CPIM cadres and leaders who identify them and ask them to leave. Shiv Sankar Sahu was in the retail business of florist in the Howrah market and on being threatened by Sudhanshu Shekhar and comrades is unable to pursue the scene. A young boy of 30 years, most articulate and aware of the politics around, he cannot easily find an alternative livelihood.

Sabitri Das with her husband not able to work in the sweets shop of Haldia is living on the earnings of her daughter working as a maid servant. Another woman stood by us feeling helpless since her husband faced injury during beatings and is unable to work as labourer's even months later. All these women however have no fear to identify the names of the CPIM leaders in the village were accompanied by a large number of outsiders, supposedly the Harmads (Armed Hired Attackers).

We did meet a small vendor, Sarana Gayana Das who complained, while some of the city and members with a red band on the wrist watched, of facing ouster and spending months in the Khejuri camp near CPIM party office where according to him there were 50 families from Garupara, Gokulnagar.

We did find out that about five houses of CPIM cadres in the same hamlet were attacked by the BUPC supporters who could not bear the continuous threats and attacks by the party. Those who left because of this awareness has returned back a to the village as confirmed by Ramesh Adi who stayed in the Tekhali Camp for 3 months after being ousted from his plant nursery and small vegetable gardens.

Others informed us of the panchayat itself taken action against him since; in spite of being a CPIM supporter for over a year he shifted over to BUPC and faced the brunt.

The stories are unending……….. Yet a hope arises out of the rich natural resource still standing with thick tree cover, the fish in the pond, the paddy, potato and varied vegetables in the small and large chunks of land which is still not grabbed.


The bazaar appear to be normal but not one person we met would confirm the claim of Ruling Party (State Government Communist Party of India {Marxists) that there is peace.

Every shopkeeper could confirm that as long as CRPF camp continues there would be no clashes but no one would guarantee of law and order thereafter once the camp is shifted.

It was Samiran Das (Retd Indian Army) who had witnessed killings during the unarmed procession in Sonachura on November 10th, 07 and expressed pain over the dirty politics polluting people's lives.

Coming across a woman who was complaining about her husband been attacked by the BUPC members, we went with her to her house and met a few families supporting CPIM. Some of them including Bhavesh Samant, Bimal Sahu, Sukhdev Sahu, Joru Samant, Susant Melna and Gurupada Das faced beatings at a liquor shops which was attacked by BUPC on October 17th the 1st day of Durga Puja (Shasti). During discussion it came out that were not targeted as CPIM members but faced the attack on the liquor shop of Sukhdev Shahu. None of them have complained to the police station since the hairline fractures of few bones could be Bourne by them than the further continuation of the conflict. They told us that almost 80 percent of the villagers including all the land holders have been against the chemical hub, SEZ (Special Economic Zone), while the rest
20 Percent supporting it mostly included the landless.

The village felt shattered on witnessing no event this year, even a cultural meet at the Century old Chandimandir, where all the villages beyond caste and creed would gather.


Sonachura has always been a village with sprit and strength of opposition to the chemical hub and the land grab. January to March 2007 happenings had seen killings and brutality faced by this village including rape and molestation and yet thousand would crowd for the meetings and raise a unanimous voice against giving up land and life.

Today the streets are silent and houses appear to be dead. A handful of shops which were open has subdued shopkeepers who slowly opened up and gathered carriage to tell us what was wrong but only after we asked the West Bengal Police to keep away. From what we gathered the number of houses burnt in Sonachura is comparatively smaller while many shops and houses are looted. The houses burnt to ashes belonged to the frontline activist BUPC including Milan Pradan, Sabuj Pradhan, Shivas Mondol and Ajoy Mondal. Sankar Das has no business to run since his STD shop is destroyed. Manik Bera and Balaram Das do not have their tailoring shops anymore. The shops selling watches and mobiles belonging to Chitta Patra and Pratap Mondal, tea shop of Shakti Pal and Bakery
of Nanto Mondal stand devastated. Not one shop belonging to CPIM seems to have been destroyed.

Ten's of families belonging to the ruling party and supporting SEZ had no doubt left the village and stayed in the camp at Khejuri for months but except those who were directly involved in rape or molestation, others we were told, were never stopped from coming back. The role played by CPIM local leaders such as Naba Samantha and Pratap Sahu is well known and referred by the villagers with disgust and contempt. It is true that it was the elder brother of Naba, Sankar Samanta who was killed in the arson by furious mob after the CPIM cadres and police together had killed the BUPC activists in January 2007. However is the reaction, so brutal as to bring in the large force of Armed Party Cadres and paid assassins, justifiable? Is the ruling party supposed to be controlling violence permitting and justifying it in the name of revenge fullness, remind one of post Godhra riots?

We visited the health centre which was being run in Sonachura by the doctors associated with Mahasweta Devi and found it locked. The young boys and elders gathered and narrated the story how the centre was ransacked and the large equipments as well as the ambulance was taken away by the CPIM cadres and leaders on the looting spree. The ambulance, we were told was supposed to be in Khejuri (and this was indeed found later by Shabnam Hashmi and Anuradha Talwar who visited the place).This was shocking threat to the committed medical practitioners belonging to various teams including one of medical service centre and others who are functioning only in the relief camps while their services are very much needed in the villages as well.

We made our way to the house of Narayan Das who lay on the floor with a plaster around his chest. He had a rib fracture due to brutal beating by Pratap Sah and others who compelled him to go with them to a CPIM meeting where the attack took place. His son too was with him and has his left hand in pain with some damage which is not even treated.

The almost landless family of Narayan living on vegetable selling Haldia have managed to spend about 700 on the treatment of a private hospital and he does not even know about a medico legal certificate or a FIR to be filed. The police have visited his house but only to tell him not to go to police station to avoid further attack and that they would take care of everything.

Narayan and Goutam Das his son are simply sitting at home after having spent months in active support to BUPC, and the people's movement against SEZ. With no repentance women and men gather expressed full commitment to the struggle for saving the land and livelihood. This included wife of Bimal Dalpati who were also severely beaten up on 11th November but was not even allowed to leave his house and hospital till a day before, as also Anju Das a girl of 14 who had a scar of bullet on her forehead.

Satyanarayan Jena has carried severe pain in the backbone attacked and probably fractured but he too reached Nandigram Camp only yesterday. He was brutally beaten up in Maheshpur for participating in the non-violent procession. We were informed of many missing including another Narayan Das and wife of Munia. A homeopathy doctor Monmato Giri is being asked to pay a huge fine for supporting peoples movement and so are others threatened of losing their standing paddy and wheat if and only if they do not bow before the CPIM forces who were still moving around and ensuring that the terror continues to rule in Sonachura and in other villages. In Takapura we were told there was a firing obviously to Intimidate and to keep the people away in the camps.

WHAT NEXT????????

All this and much more that we witnessed and heard surely suggest an urgent need to...

A. Plan and support the phase of Rehabilitation by identifying supporters who can extend material help for one or more families for immediate needs including a temporary shelter, a set of vessels and utensils, a lantern, washing equipments and bedding. At least two thousand families are supposed to need these.

Please see our appeal towards the same.

B. Plan to support livelihoods in kind and rarely in cash, or the artisans and traders on BUPC identifying them village wise

C. There is a need to have a systematic drive to write affidavits and file FIRs, which the West Bengal Police have been avoiding till date.

D. The relief camps must continue with more of innovative activities for children and women in the camp.

E. The groups of families returning to the villages need the support of sensitive and mature activists who would be committed to the integration of the village.

F. The CRPF must continue and as against their experience till date they must be allowed to function independently and the action taken by them must not be negated by the WB Police. More of CRPF camps need to be started at Sonachura, Satangabari, Jambari, Ranichowk and a few more places. The demand has already been made by us. To make this happen all concerned must write letters to the central home ministry and others in the cabinet to convey the need for intervention, condemning the fact that all possible and necessary actions under the directives of National Human Rights Commission have not been taken by the Government of INDIA.

G. We must also pressurize the WB Govt. to fulfil its duty to provide the adequate quantity of grains and other food materials to the families in the camp as well as villages. The violation of Right to Food directives of the Supreme Court of India must not be tolerated.

H. Legal action will obviously be necessary to make the West Bengal Govt. to compensate all the losses and the torture without making a financial proposal of paying Rs 1000/- to 10000/-.

I. The CBI enquiry must continue and include the events of October and November in Nandigram. This should be our demand in the outside protest actions as well as the legal actions.

J. The partial propaganda and unjustifiable accusations against the people's organizations supporting the struggle in Nandigram unleashed by CPIM leaders and ideologues should be countered with facts, analysis and rationale.

K. While the Ganamanch in Kolkata continues with one organization holding a sit-in and fast every day, activists and supporters from all over can come to join them.

L. Jatthas of activist supporters have begun reaching Nandigram and villages with those belonging to women's organizations with Anuradha Kapoor, Shabnam Hashmi of National Integration Council, activists of Urban Poor Movement with NAPM in Mumbai, activist of NAPM, U.P., Nadighati Morcha of Chhattisgarh, and Orissa, Yuba Bharat, National Campaign on Dalits Human Rights-NCDHR, National Federation Of Dalit Land Rights-NFDLRM have already reached. More from Narmada Bachao Andolan, Sarva Seva Sangh, National Federation of Forest People and Forest Workers, etc. are to reach soon.

M. Fact finding teams on behalf of many people's organisation and movements as well as one from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch International are to reach soon.

N. The report of the NHRC is still awaited.

O. The protest actions in West Bengal and all over continue and so they are. Please remember that CPIM as a party has not yet taken a decision to withdraw its cadres fully. Unless that is done, there can be no smoothening of the process of integration and rebuilding


Medha Patkar
Drafted by

On behalf of the visiting team including MEHER ENGINEER, ANURADHA TALWAR,DEBJIT DUTT,VIJAYA,VIJAY SHARMA and others.


APPEAL: Relief work for affected communities in Nandigram

APPEAL: Relief work for affected communities in Nandigram

Nandigram and Godhra were severe assaults on the face of democracy. They are the worst scars on the face of the nation. It is a shame that human rights were violated in such a way” said the Chairperson of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Mr Justice S Rajendra Babu. He said the NHRC was committed to protecting the rights of the people who were victims of “opportunist” politics in both the states.

Nandigram has been in the centre-stage of barbaric violence, gross human rights violations interspersed with state-sponsored political suppression in West Bengal, India for nearly a year now. CPI (M), the ruling party in West Bengal, has come under severe criticism globally.

Normal lives of 10,000 – 12,000 families in Nandigram have been adversely affected, being displaced from their dwellings, livelihoods being jeopardised, and remaining scattered mostly staying with their relatives.

The CPM cadres have forcibly closed down all other relief camps. The only relief camp running with about 1500 people is at Brij Mohan Tiwari Shiksha Niketan in Nandigram.

Volunteers are needed to go to the area to break the atmosphere of terror created by CPM cadres so that families may return to their homes.

‘Dharna Manch’ has been set up in Dharamtalla, opposite Metro Cinema next to Esplanade Metro Station in Kolkata, from where relief work is being coordinated. Every day relief trucks leave from here with clothes, food grains, tarpaulin sheets, baby food and other items accompanied by some volunteers.

So, anybody desiring to participate in relief work must reach here (Dharna Manch in Kolkata).

The contact numbers are: Debjit Dutta 9433624241 and Sudipto 9433972662

Donations should be sent in the name of 'Nandigram Support Fund' to A/c No. 15210153262 of Canara Bank, Bowbazar Branch, Kolkata.

National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), Asha Parivar, Association for India’s Development

NANDIGRAM: Kolkata High Court Upholds Human Justice

NANDIGRAM: Kolkata High Court Upholds Human Justice

CBI Investigations Must Cover October-November Events Too

United Peoples Movement to Ensure Criminal Punitive Action Against the Culprits

The judgment on Nandigram that was finally delivered by the High Court of Kolkata on November 15th is no doubt a victory of the struggle by the people on the ground as well as the intellectuals including the advocates united on the issue.

The petitions filed included PILs based on letter written to the Chief Justice on March 15 by Sumit Chakravarty, Prashant Bhushan and Medha Patkar and those by APDR (Association for the Protection of the Democratic Rights), Paschim Bengal Khet Majdoor Samiti and Bar Association along with others.

That there had to be a boycott of the HC proceedings to get the pending judgment delivered after months, shows the need for judicial review and reform, to ensure timely justice for the common people, the victims of the development paradigm and State violence.

The judgment, however, hails our position that the firing on March 14th resulting in killing many a peaceful agitators was unconstitutional.

This was minimum acknowledgment necessary to do justice to the martyrs while the next logical and legal step of booking the culprits based on the complaints filed by the victims and the CBI investigation report is to be ensured at the earliest.

The court's directive in this regard is not likely to be so easily followed by the state government which is expressively callous and critical of the judgment. It will have to be the responsibility of the concerned and conscientious organizations and parties to see that the directive is pursued and the guilty is punished.

The reaction of Biman Bose, CPI (M) is not surprising but startling. Even when the judgment is fully within the legal and judicial framework, he has questioned it as intrusion in to the domain of Executive and Legislative. This needs to be condemned.

The most important of all is furthering CBI investigations to cover October-November events also. The judgment, one hopes, is interpreted to allow this, since the people of Nandigram are facing the same wrath and crime in relation to the political conflict they raised against the State, forcing many more killings this time than in March 2007.

The compensation directed to be paid to the victims is 5 lakhs instead of 2 lakhs announced by the WB govt to the families of the dead, and 2 lakhs to the raped and molested women. This is more than justifiable and yet somewhat inadequate. Knowing that the wounded and molested are till date unable to even pay for the treatment due to loss of livelihood, this is to be a great relief
for them, no doubt.

The declaration of Regulation of Police, West Bengal Act of 1943 is declared as ultra vires under article 14, 19, 21 of the Constitution, is also a major indication of the fact that the judiciary in WB has arisen above narrow legal framework towards Constitutional rights and human justice. This should initiate and lead to review of many an enactment in the country which continue with a
British legacy.

Last but not the least, the judgment on March incidents has to be taken as indicative of the CPM's unjust and inhuman politics of terror and violence. It can however uphold and support Nandigram struggle only if suo motto cognizance is also taken of the continued massacre and political vendetta against the once peaceful and rightful communities in Nandigram. Will that happen ?

Medha Patkar, Sandeep Pandey, Pranab Bannerji

National Alliance of People's Movements

NANDIGRAM: People appeal to the West Bengal Governor

NANDIGRAM: People appeal to the West Bengal Governor
"if any public call to arms by a sitting MP of the ruling party is issued, and that too in the presence of the Chief Minister of the state, hardly anything else could have had been expected"

The Hon'ble Governor of West Bengal

Sub: Failure of Constitutional Machinery and Rule of Jungle in Nandigram


At the very outset, as a conscientious citizen of India, let me express my deepest appreciation of your statement on Nandigram expressing your profound disquiet over the state sponsored war launched by the CPIM cadres on Nandigram and its hapless and defenceless villagers.

As we all are aware soon after Ms Brinda Karat, a Politburo member of the CPIM and a Rajya Sabha member from West Bengal – thanks to the amended rule allowing outsiders to get elected, called upon her party cadres in a strikingly ugly and obscene delivery – the video footage of which is available at least with the Star Ananda TV channel, to unleash violent terror on Nandigram from a public platform with the Chief Minister of the state by her side, all hell broke loose.

Waves of armed gunmen started raiding Nandigram from all the sides. Whatever unarmed and armed resistance by the villagers proved too meagre under the circumstances. The police conveniently looked the other way. But then if any public call to arms by a sitting MP of the ruling party is issued, and that too in the presence of the Chief Minister of the state, hardly anything else could have had been expected.

We also know how Nandigram was turned into a virtual war zone since January 3 this year as a consequence of a notification issued by the Haldia Development Authority announcing its intention to acquire lands in Nandigram for a chemical hub with the Indonesian Salim group acting the main player. Then on March 14 a reign of terror was unleashed on the villagers barricading themselves on all sides so as to resist the state's predatory moves to appropriate them of their lands and livelihoods by means of the armed might of the state with active and open collaboration of the CPIM cadres to subserve corporate interests in the name of development through industrialisation.

This act of brutal bloodletting, which mercifully turned out to be rather shortlived – thanks to the prompt intervention of the Kolkata High Court immediately asking for a CBI enquiry and thereby compelling the marauding forces beat a hasty retreat, radically worsened the situation.

Even a much belated categorical assurance by the Chief Minister as regards dropping of the current plan for the chemical hub in Nandigram failed to assuage the hurt feelings of the villagers in view of the stae government's dogged refusal to institute any credible enquiry into the massive atrocities on march 14 and provide relief, rehabilitation and reparation for the victims of March 14 terror attack.

Quite unfortunately, the laudable attempts at reconciliation by senior Left leaders like Jyoti Basu and then Ashok Ghosh were actively sabotaged by the government and the CPIM leadership. The wild and unsubstantiated allegation of international conspiracy by Brinda Karat in the interim only went to inflame passions still further.

Ms. Brinda Karat's open call to arms on November 4, with the almost explicit blessings of the state's Chief Minister, apparently acted as the final trigger for unleashing a massive avalanche of armed attack by gangs of organised hoods, evidently meticulously planned in advance grimly reminding us of the state-sponsored massacre in Gujarat in February-March 2002.",

We also know how Nandigram was turned into a virtual war zone since January 3 this year as a consequence of a notification issued by the Haldia Development Authority announcing its intention to acquire lands in Nandigram for a chemical hub with the Indonesian Salim group acting the main player. Then on March 14 a reign of terror was unleashed on the villagers barricading themselves on all sides so as to resist the state's predatory moves to appropriate them of their lands and livelihoods by means of the armed might of the state with active and open collaboration of the CPIM cadres to subserve corporate interests in the name of development through industrialisation.

This act of brutal bloodletting, which mercifully turned out to be rather shortlived – thanks to the prompt intervention of the Kolkata High Court immediately asking for a CBI enquiry and thereby compelling the marauding forces beat a hasty retreat, radically worsened the situation. Even a much belated categoricalassurance by the Chief Minister as regards dropping of the current plan for the chemical hub in Nandigram failed to assuage the hurt feelings of the villagers in view of the stae government's dogged refusal to institute any credible enquiry into the massive atrocities on march 14 and provide relief, rehabilitation and reparation for the victims of March 14 terror attack. Quite unfortunately, the laudable attempts at reconciliation by senior Left leaders like Jyoti Basu and then Ashok Ghosh were actively sabotaged by the government and the CPIM leadership. The wild and unsubstantiated allegation of international conspiracy by Brinda Karat in the interim only went to inflame passions still further.

Ms. Brinda Karat's open call to arms on November 4, with the almost explicit blessings of the state's Chief Minister, apparently acted as the final trigger for unleashing a massive avalanche of armed attack by gangs of organised hoods, evidently meticulously planned in advance grimly reminding us of the state-sponsored massacre in Gujarat in February-March 2002.

As you yourself have clearly acknowledged, violence is still continuing despite a so-called ceasefire. Huts are still burning. Lives are still being lost. People in thousands had to flee their homes. Human rights workers, and even journalists, are not allowed entry into the "war zone", an eminently apt tem coined by no less than the Home Secretary of the state.

Under the circumstances, you are earnestly urged to carry out an on-the-spot survey of the mayhem under way so as to bring it to an immediate end and arrange rehabilitation for all those who have been rendered homeless.

Hope given the grimness of the situation you would readily comply.

Yours sincerely,

Sukla Sen
(Committee for Communal Amity)

NANDIGRAM attacked by CPI (M)

NANDIGRAM attacked by CPI (M)

KOLKATA, 18 November 2007

At the dharna manch set up at Esplanade in Dharmtalla opposite the Metro Cinema there are a number of posters put up with a common theme – ‘Nandigram in W.B. (India) Attacked by CPI(M) – A Ruling Communist Party on India’.

At the bottom there are different slogans carried along with heart rending pictures.

Some of these are – ‘Bullets to ensure your ballots, Mr. Chief Minister?’, ‘How many miles a man should flee?’, ‘Where is the W.B. State Women’s Commission?’, ‘You want me to join other beggars in Kolkata, Mr. CM?’, ‘It’s West Bengal not Gujarat’, ‘They have been paid back in their own coin’ by CM, W.B

The main banner at the manch says ‘Stand in Support of Nandigram.

Prof. Amlan Dutta, former Vice Chancellor of Shanti Niketan began his 48 hours fast yesterday along with 16 other people including Sandip Das, veteran Gandhian, Bani Sarawati, social activist and Anirban Dhartriputra, a poet. On the first day of the fast, 18th November, the responsibility for running the manch was taken by Shuvosatyarthee Samaj.

Magsaysay Awardee Mahashewta Devi visited the dharna manch yesterday. The visitors also included Manoj Bhattacharya, Member of Parliament (MP) belonging to a Left Front partner, the RSP, and a former MP from Meghalaya, BB Dutta.

Two trucks of relief along with 11 volunteers went to Nandigram yesterday and this morning a team of doctors also went.

Meanwhile, the violence continues in Nandigram. Minoti Das of Adhikaripada, Gokulnagar and 3 other unknown women were raped last night. This morning Mukti Das, a pregnant woman, also belonging to Adhikaripada, Gokulnagar, was raped by the CPM hoodlums. She was admitted to the hospital in Tamluk in a critical state. The CPM deserves all the condemnation for targeting woman for sexual assault in order to subjugate people and create an atmosphere of terror.

Sukhendu Bhattacharya, Pranab Banerjee, Meher Engineer, Anuradha Talwar, Debjit Dutta, Swapan Ganguly, Shaktiman Ghosh, Prasun Bhowmick, Samar Das, Sandeep Pandey

National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM)

West Bengal

Whither the innocence of childhood?

Whither the innocence of

Shobha Shukla

With just few weeks left for yet another 'Universal Children's Day' on 20 November, it is high time to ponder over the issues in the lead up to the event. This day is marked to commemorate globally the ‘Convention on the Rights of the Child’ which was signed by the United Nations on this day in 1989 and celebrated as Children's Day. In India this Day is celebrated on 14th November, the birth anniversary of Jawahar Lal Nehru, the first prime minister of free India and a great lover of children and roses alike.

A child’s mind was once thought to be a mind of pristine innocence, free of rigid ideas. Alas it is no longer now. The city kids (all over the world), as young as 3 years old, have very definite views about what they want or not want, be it food, clothes, toys or even household gadgets. By the time they are of 6 or 7 years, they make their parents proud (??) with their deft handling of mobile phones, internet games and TV sets. More than 50% of 3 year olds in UK have a personal TV set in their bedrooms and those in the age group 11-15 years spend almost 53 hours a week in front of the computer/ TV screen.

Thus with eyes glued to the flickering screen images,ears tuned to the i-pod and hands holding a pack of chips/ coke / burger, today’s urban child seems to be the very antithesis of a healthy and carefree existence. An alarmingly increasing number of teenagers are becoming emotionally hostile and attention deficit due to their addiction to online games, pornography, cyber sex and chats.

So much so that China’s health authorities have placed Internet Addiction on par with alcohol/drug abuse and gambling as it is responsible for most juvenile crimes. The situation is so grave that Internet De-addiction Centres are being opened in many south asian countries like China and Thailand as internet use (rather abuse) explodes. Recently Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mumbai, ( a world class premier engineering institute of India) restricted internet access in its hostels saying that addiction to surfing/ gaming/ blogging was making students reclusive and even suicidal and was replacing the old hostel culture of camaraderie with depressive and dysfunctional lifestyles.

From petty thefts to rape, abduction and murder JUVENILE CRIME has entered a deadly new phase in India, mostly in the upper strata of society. In October 2007, 3 Ahmedabad (India) teenagers killed their 6 year old neighbour to raise 25 lakh rupees in ransom to lead a life of luxury. In August 2007,a Mumbai (India) teenager was killed by 4 friends who demanded Rs.2 crore (approximately US$ 500,000) ransom from his parents. A 14 year old girl helped a woman to hack her mother in law in return for a new mobile phone. A teenager, near Sonepat, molested a girl and shot dead her brother when he protested.

Our kids are indeed living in violent times--violence in movies, within families, on the roads. The ‘Age of Innocence’ is over. It has been overpowered with the lust for easy money and substance abuse. Even those few, who are brilliant achievers in various fields, cite money and power as their main aim in life.

The exuberance of childhood has been replaced with an uncouth brashness. Niceties of manners and finesse of language have become obsolete. Instead, we have the crass I, ME and MYSELF attitude. ‘Shit' and ‘Bastard’ have become the most often used words in kids’ conversations.

And all this because primarily we as parents, elders, teachers have failed miserably in our duties and responsibilities. Changing lifestyles, crumbling joint families and a market driven society has left our children rudderless and valueless. Instead of giving them quality time and selfless love we are smothering them with material goods.

With education perceived as the only means of advancement in the ultra-competitive society (especially in Asian countries), parents expectations are unrealistically high. American psychologist Madeline Levine has identified a growing breed of ‘helicopter parents’, so called because they hover over all aspects of their children’s lives. They push them so hard to excel at everything, from Maths to English to sports and music, that they end up as hopeless failures.

The struggle to please over ambitious parents leads to violent and immoral behaviour and feelings of self hatred. (I come across many such parents of my pupils. Sadly, even when I point out their fallacy they refuse to listen saying they are doing it for the good of their child).

With both parents working long hours, preparing balanced meals at home becomes difficult. So salty snacks and fizzy drinks have become the main meal of cranky, pampered kids. This is fomenting a health crisis in Japan, the home of sushi, seaweed and world’s longest life expectancy. The US food chains are helping it to rear a generation of young sugar addicts spending their adolescence fighting obesity and acne. India unwittingly boasts of being the largest snack market in the Asia Pacific region. Emotional stress is linked with junk food faddism.

Only if could make our kids skip the fries and go hard on soft drinks. Housewives could take this as a business opportunity to supply tasty wholesome homemade food to working parents and school canteens.

Only if we would not treat our kids as our prized possessions whose achievements alone are to be showcased as trophies. They need our love and assurance the most when they deserve it the least. Let them know that failures are as much part of growing up as success. Let us consciously try to remove the imbalance of power (still prevalent in most Indian homes) which makes the sons believe that they can get away with everything. Let us give them a sense of belonging and not expensive gifts. Let us respect the law and not indulge in a sick display of opulence.

We may have our own dreams about our children but as they grow older we need to respect (rather than kill) their interests and choices in life ,as happens so often literally in Indian homes in the name of ‘honour killings’ of adult sons and daughters.

Let our children grow to be a trifle more sensitive about the needs of the millions of those underprivileged Indian children who are working under miserable conditions in stone quarries, in the carpet industry, as domestic help, as ragpickers or in the sex market, with no access to schools and two square meals a day.

On this coming Children’s Day let us try to gift our children their ‘Age of Innocence’ sans junk food, TV/internet abuse, conspicuous consumption, sedentary lifestyle and an insensitive couldn’t-care-less attitude. Let us guide them lovingly yet firmly on their path of self discovery.
Shobha Shukla
(The author teaches Physics at India's noted Loreto Convent, and writes on human interest issues in Asian media. She can be contacted at:
Published in
The Seoul Times, Seoul, South Korea: 13 November 2007
Assam Times, Assam, India: 14 November 2007
The Japan Times, Tokyo, Japan: 15 November 2007
The Central Chronicle, Madhya Pradesh, India: 21 November 2007

NRIs shocked by violence at Nandigram

NRIs shocked by violence at Nandigram
File RTI application seeking West Bengal government's response on actions taken
Appalled by the recent spate of large scale displacement and violence in Nandigram, 74 concerned NRIs have filed a collective Right to Information application at the Indian Embassy in Washington DC regarding the Nandigram state of affairs in an effort to hold the West Bengal government accountable to Indian citizens across the world especially in the light of its total apathy to the repeated intimations of immanent violence by the BUPC from Nandigram and its failure in protecting the lives and rights of the citizens of Nandigram.
These 74 NRIs, belonging to a diverse group of academics, professionals, lawyers, activists and students, many of them volunteers and supporters of the organization - Association for India's Development, have demanded information on the number of people killed or injured in the current spate of violence since November 4; the reasons for delay in the protection of citizens and human rights activists who tried to visit the area; the number of police force deployed in the area; the actions taken by the government to restore peace, provide relief, rehabilitate the displaced villagers, and book the criminals who perpetrated the ghastly acts of violence and those who blocked the entry of media-persons and CRPF jawans in Nandigram; and the status of land-acquisition and the SEZ project in the area.
The 'recapture' of Nandigram villages by CPI(M) party cadres for political assertion is completely illegal and undemocratic. We see the RTI application as an instrument for enforcing accountability and transparency and expect that the government respond to the seriousness of its implication in this violent morass with concrete answers.
On behalf of concerned NRIs we urge the government of West Bengal to respond to the crisis in Nandigram in a democratic and just manner and make sure that people's basic constitutional and legal rights are upheld and security, peace and justice in the area restored. We also expect a prompt response to our application for information.
Somu Kumar
Phone: 1-(703)728-8987 (US)

Peace in Nandigram: a program for action

Peace in Nandigram: a program for action

Nandigram is a center of the battle between the State and the people for purity, diversity and tolerance for polity, as well as for justice and equity for society. Not just in West Bengal, but whole of India has risen to the call to respond. Whatever may be the political forum and ideology, you have to take and declare a position on what is on in Nandigram. Rally’s and processions, debates and deliberations have brought to the fore issues related to criminalisation, corporatisation in the politics in India, and the role played by the Right to the Left in the same. Outside Parliament, the peoples’ politics has created an atmosphere, and truly democratic platforms to enlist the participation of eminent intellectuals artists and the common citizen.

In spite of people belonging to the various political parties and people’s organizations, in spite of civil society groups crying for peace there is no peace, either in the disintegrated village communities or in the relief camps for destitute refugees. The ruling party is still only arrogant and intolerant: it is violent, with an agenda full of political vengeance. CPM did propose SEZ and onslaught on the lives and livelihoods of its own people. And now they have transformed their political insecurity into physical political threats to people’s lives. This violence is the result of a corporatised and criminalised political electoral game that is on in the country today. The struggle by the people of Nandigram, we hope, will turn into a mission for truly democratic nonviolent politics respecting people’s rights and peoples power.

It is towards that end that those concerned with the lives and livelihoods of thousands of families, and with the social integration of communities an Nandigram must exhibit a political maturity beyond marches and media campaigns.

* Appeals to the conscience of the sensitive and humane citizenry in the country and to progressive, pro-people politicians are to be furthered with intensity. Towards this end various organizations and movements in West Bengal have decided on a program to form a continuous action forum in Kolkata where various eminent persons and common citizens will undertake 48 hour fasts in relay to cry “Halt” to the conflict and violence in Nandigram and also an end to the encroachment on people’s lives in the name of development, SEZ or otherwise and strangulation of living communities. Professor Amlan Dutta, former V.C. of Shanti Niketan, will initiate the fast on November 18, 2007, to be followed by other eminent personalities and peace loving citizens.

* ‘Dialogue’ is a key word and a key solution to the conflict. The CPM government has avoided it to the extent of secluding itself from the electorate in spite of gaining power through them. CPM and the Left Front partners must immediately open up a dialogue with not only other political parties but also with people’s organizations and alliances, including Bhumi Uchched Pratirodh Committee in Nandigram and Krishi Jami Raksha Committee in Singur. Withdrawal of armed cadres from Nandigram is a must!

* If there is no response and threats to loot continue, the common people organized, and all independent individuals, should begin reaching out to Nandigram, to the refugees, residents in camps and communities towards establishing a dialogue, initiating a process of revival, reassertion of self-reliance and reconstruction of lost property, habitats and livelihood. ‘Samvad Jathas’ may be taken to Nandigram at the earliest by one and all participating with respect for human values.

* Politics in West Bengal is in a renewed vigor, but it must lead to a secular and popular people’s force with empowerment of the society and not merely empowerment of a Party.

* We appeal to all those in campaigns and marches to form an all party political coalition on the common view of protest and alternative to the present turmoil and torture continuing beyond political conflicts in Nandigram. CPM has the greatest responsibility to exhibit and clarify its left leanings and position with regard to the proletariat and not merely with regard to the Parties in the state.

* The State must play its role in protecting Right to Food and Shelter immediately.

* The Nandigram message – massacre, martyrdom to the mass movement – must be taken to all districts and to the ‘desh’. Nandigram Bacho, Desh Bachao is to be the motto. NAPM and Sangarsh-2007 will work towards this, with no time spared, involving various alliances in the country in a campaign with a vision, a short term agenda and a long-term alternative.

* We in people’s movement are thrilled to see the revolutionary spirit of West Bengal and hope this will save the country from criminal, corrupt polity for a new rebuilding of a united humanity and for non-destructive self-reliant development without imperialist and fascist controls. Everything from the Nuclear Deal to Nandigram shows the killing tendencies that don’t care for life, either national or human, nor for people’s or state’s sovereignty.

Medha Patkar, NAPM
Sandeep Pandey, NAPM
Gautam Bandyopadhyay, NAPM

Nandigram, Salwa Judum and post-Godhra

Nandigram, Salwa Judum and Post-Godhra
Many clothes of the Emperor

When this is being written, six days have passed since the unprecedented brutal attack on the people of Nandigram began. The present phase of massacre, fascistic by all means, has made the brutal assault on 14 th March this year pale to oblivion. The brutal massacre of the people and the manner in which the CPM government, Central government and all other parliamentary parties are playing their politics of deception and lies in connivance with the media is going to have far reaching implications on the way the discourse and practice of politics will unfold in the days to come in the state of West Bengal in particular and the country in general. One shudders to think that the happiest man today would be Narendra Modi of Gujarat who could see how things were being replayed, albeit under a different script, of 'development'. Another proud brother who would also be ready to pat Budhha and Narendra Modi would be Mahendra Karma who had foreseen the clinical execution of salwa judum on the tribals of Chhattisgarh again under the grand slogan of 'development'.

On Sunday the attack has intensified to such levels that the Governor of West Bengal Gopalkrishna Gandhi described it as 'recapture' of Nandigram by the CPI (M) cadres. In the meantime, the National Security Advisor M K Narayanan has on board the flight to Moscow with Manmohan has expressed his grave fear of violence in Nandigram due to the presence of Maoists! As if had the Maoists been not there everything would have been peaceful!

As the journalists, intellectuals and social activists have not been allowed entry inside Nandigram, the actual picture is not coming out to the full public view. The telephonic conversations with the leaders and activists of Bhumi Ucched Pratirodh Committee (BUPC) and the people of Nandigram are the sources for real information.

Trinamul Congress member and an activist of Nishikant Mandal, informs from ground zero to Prof. Amit Bhattacharya, head of the Department of Jadavpur University that most of the activists of BUPC will be killed by the day and himself will not be spared. Mahasweta Devi taking cue of this information talked to the Governor by noon in the day. The Governor promised to save the lives of the activists as the relentless hunt goes unabated in the burning villages of Nandigram.

Planned Massacre
From reports of the people through telephonic conversations so far, in the last six days 150 people have been killed and 2000 people are missing. About 550 people are kidnapped by the CPI (M) goons and taken to Khejuri village where they are tortured and used as human shield to prevent any possible counter-attack from the people of Nandigram. It is in Khejuri that CPI (M) gathered more than 1500 goons (who are also their party members) from all over West Bengal and Bihar and trained for the brutal massacre to be carried out on 14 th March and at present.

About 100 people who are badly injured have been admitted in various hospitals whereas thousands of injured people have fled the area without any medical care. Those 550 people who were kidnapped in the process of 'recapture' of Nandigram by the marauders of CPM were tied with ropes.

Active involvement of known criminal elements of the CPI (M)
Eye-witness reports pouring in for several prominent people in Kolkata and Delhi corroborate the fact that activists and people of Nandigram in hundreds caught red-handed Tapan Ghosh and Sukur Ali, two CPI (M) leaders from Gorbeta, who were forcefully taking away four injured women. Several reports also point to the fact that dead bodies were being made to disappear under the leadership and supervision of these two known criminals. One may recall that these two CPI (M) leaders of Gorbeta were chargesheeted in a case of lynching of Maoist cadres belonging to erstwhile CPI (ML) People's War and destruction of all evidence by ensuring that their dead bodies disappear in Chotoangaria of Gorbeta in 2001. Significantly, Sukur Ali and Tapan Ghosh who are wanted by CBI for the last 5 years in the Chotoangaria case were now being used by the CPI (M) to lead the Nandigram massacre. They have been absconding for the past five years after they were chargesheeted and arrest warrants issued with the blessings of the top leaders of their Party. They were intercepted by the activists of BUPC while taking away four injured women and handed over to the local police.

On Thursday, 8th November when members of APDR (Association of People's Democratic Rights), Bandi Mukti Committee and Medha Patkar, and others were going to Nandigram to express their solidarity with the struggling people of Nandigram as news started pouring in about the renewed attack on the people of Nandigram by the CPM goons. The team was stopped on the way and attacked brutally with many of them being badly beaten. Medha Patkar was slapped. As per the reports of the several Bengali dailies, this particular attack was organized by Ashok Patnaik, a leader of CPI (M) and able henchman of Lakhsaman Seth, the Haldia sitting MP of CPI (M). Lakhsaman Seth is also known as the land mafia leader of the region who first announced the procedure for acquisition of land from Nandigram for the proposed SEZ. Ashok Patnaik led the attack on the civil rights leaders and Medha Patkar and closed all the 6 entry points leading to Nandigram. A black out was created by putting off the street lights in all villages and towns like Nandigram, Tamluk and other places in and around Nandigram so that thousands of hoodlums who were already waiting at several points could enter Nandigram without any suspicion.

Planning from the top
The intention of the CPI (M)'s top leadership could be understood when we see the planned attack by gathering all their party cadres (basically goons notorious in various places) not only from West Bengal, but also from other states like Jharkhand and Bihar and other parts of West Bengal. The preparations for this 'final attack', as it is being described by the CPI (M) land mafia, started several months ago after the Nandigram people successfully established their movement within days after 14 th March massacre this year. Mercenaries from Ranigunj-Asansol coal-belt, Gorbeta and Keshpur were also hired. For months training and rehearsals were being conducted in Khejuri. In Khejuri village, permanent bunkers were constructed and huge quantities of arms and ammunition were stocked for months for this 'final attack'. The kind of preparations that were made clearly show that the entire CPI (M)'s top leadership is involved in the process. At the ground level, as is pointed out by many of the eminent speakers repeatedly and quite openly in the past five days in all public protest meetings in Kolkata, atleast there are three more MPs of CPI (M) who are directly involved in these preparations apart from Lakhsaman Seth, the MP of Haldia. They are Torit Topdar, MP representing Barrackpur constituency, Amitabha Nandi, of Dum Dum constituency, and Sushant Ghosh of Midnapur constituency. It is an open talk in every nook and corner of West Bengal today that these four MPs are directly involved in the armed operations to kill, maim, rape and mutilate and make the dead bodies disappear. These four MPs are assisted by Nirupam Sen, the Minister for Industry of Buddhadeb Basu's cabinet, who is from Bardwan district.

Sophisticated weapons were given to thousands of mercenary elements of the CPI (M). Rifles like AK 47 and SLRs in hundreds are given apart from elaborate logistical support such as vehicles, trucks, bombs and bottles of liquor. These mercenaries entered the villages and captured some villages in the beginning while they kept on moving further. Reportedly, so far about 550 people including some of the leaders, cadres and supporters of Bhoomi Ucched Pratirodh Committee (BUPC) were taken hostage and used as human-shield both in the battle field and in the Khejuri base zone—the training centre of CPI (M).

It is expected that the central paramilitary forces (1 battalion of CRPF) will arrive in Nandigram latest by Monday evening. Earlier Mamata Benerjee supported the deployment of CRPF in Nandigram. But by Sunday morning she changed her opinion and started opposing the deployment of the CRPF battalion. Now all democratic and civil rights organizations and individual democrats are opposing the deployment of the CRPF battalion.

Women the target of reprisal
Many women were dragged into school buildings and raped. As per the reports from the villages, some of the notorious leaders of CPI(M) who are involved in the massacre are Ashok Guria, Ashok Beda and Himanshu Das all local leaders from East Midnapur. These butchers are at present leading the mobs going around the villages of Nandigram block.

Village after village is burnt down. Before burning the houses the hoodlums looted the property, humiliated the women including raping them. For example, by early morning on Sunday, 300 houses were looted and burnt down in a village called Sathengaberi. By evening, Gokulnagar and Sonachura villages, the epicentre of Nandigram resistance were looted and completely burnt down.

Nandigram has become the representation of India, while CPI (M) the typical fascist brutal ruling elite of Indian social order in the 'post-colonial' period.

None other than a fascist force
The fresh attack on the people of Nandigram in the last four days by the 'Harmed Vahini'—the CPI (M) version of VHP—has all the features of 1984 massacre of Sikhs engineered by the Congress Party and RSS-BJP engineered post-Godhra massacre. This time around, the CPI (M) prepared larger number of its goon-cadres compared to 14 March massacre this year from all over the state to unleash organised violence and 'recapture' its 'lost territory' for the last 8 months. The brutal massacre is continuing unabated by closing all ways for the outsiders including the press. The fascist forces of CPI (M) armed to the teeth with at least 3 months of training started marching into the areas of Nandigram on Thursday, a day before Diwali. But the top leadership of the CPI (M) in the state were shocked to witness the stiff resistance from the people as this was beyond their expectation.

The farce of the coalition drama
The CPI (M) and the ruling UPA coalition are now jointly operating to step up violence on the resisting people of Nandigram with a battalion of CRPF soon expected in this area, while as the Congress calls for a West Bengal bandh against the attack on Nandigram. When the CRPF battalion reaches Nandigram, it will be standing by the goons aiding and protecting them while they continue their brutalities on the people with much renewed strength. The Centre's gesture of sending a CRPF battalion is like bribing the CPI (M) not to push their demand of de-operationalising of the Indo-US Nuclear Agreement. The CPI (M) will now stage a 'mock opposition' in the impending parliamentary debate on the Nuclear deal, while BJP tries to cash it by creating a much more vigorous mockery of the usual parliamentary stunt. Thus, today Nandigram and Nuclear deal are closely linked on the macabre theatre of the absurd called parliamentary democracy.

Once again Nandigram provides us of another major example to understand the nature of the political process in our country. The fresh attacks on the people of Nandigram shows how CPI(M) is waging organized armed oppression on the people openly while the state armed forces stand mute witnesses on the battlefield supporting the attackers.

CPI (M) is a history sheeter when it comes to murdering people
The armed attacks on the rural populace by the CPI (M) is nothing new. The CPI (M) has been controlling (ruling) the people of West Bengal in the past 30 years using arms and goons through its party network election after election. What is new with the Nandigram is, for the first time people started resisting the arms and muscle power of the CPI (M) and made its goons flee from their area during the 14 March incidents and after. Since then, in the past 7 months, CPI (M) has been trying to 'recapture' the Nandigram area. The tensions continued all along day by day and night as CPI (M) armed cadres continuously attacked the villages. They have isolated Nandigram by not allowing food supplies, consumer goods, power, and water supply to the Nandigram cluster of villages under struggle.

The 10th November public statement of West Bengal Governor, Gopalkrishna Gandhi makes it clear that CPI (M) cadres blocked all ways leading to Nandigram from all the four sides. Mr Gandhi asks the administration 'to remove the new unauthorized man-made blocks at entry points,' to Nandigram. He pleads his 'own Government' to end the 'isolation of Nandigram from the rest of the state.' The statement enraged Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee's government which launched a frontal attack on the Governor while the Chief Minister continued to allow more and more intruders into Nandigram from outside the district.

The distinction between the state and the ruling political party (the main player in the Government) had disappeared in West Bengal long ago.

Nandigram Resistance: A brief recap
The heroic Nandigram struggle started on 3rd January when for the first time Lakhsaman Seth, as the chairman of Haldia Development Authority announced the setting up of an SEZ in the area. 10 months the people of Nandigram fought continuously and valiantly with and without arms resisting tooth and nail the acquisition of their fertile fields, hearths and homes. They forced the CPI (M) led West Bengal Government and Congress led UPA Government to take back their permissions and orders by closing down the SEZ project. The heroic struggle of Nandigram continued with women at the forefront. Hundreds of thousands of people spent sleepless nights preventing CPI (M) goons enter their villages. They have stood upto the challenge. They are continuing to fight. They don't certainly have the kind of sophisticated arms as the CPI (M) has and the state power is pressed into action to suppress the resistance movement of Nandigram as it was being done by Modi in Gujarat in 2002 or the Congress in Delhi in 1984.

The writing on the wall in West Bengal today indicates that by the time CRPF will enter tomorrow evening, that is, 12 th November, the 'operation brutality' will be completed. The Centre knows the brutalities and atrocities that have been perpetrated on the struggling people of Nandigram particularly in the past five days. UPA Government led by Manmohan Singh is giving complete support and abetting the Buddhadev Basu's Government to massacre the struggling people as both the Governments share the same vision and they stand in support to each other. One shouldn't be carried away by the mock opposition to Manmohan's Nuclear deal by CPI (M) and the so-called Congress protest bandh call of West Bengal on 12th November opposing the massacre at Nandigram.

It may be true that the present resistance may be smashed. But the heroic fight of the people of Nandigram cannot be suppressed for ever. In no time the resistance will re-appear to end the three decades long fascist rule in West Bengal.

12th Nov 2007
Revolutionary Democratic Front of India


Raj Bhavan, Kolkata

Press Statement
9th November 2007

The news of deaths by police firing in Nandigram this morning has filled me with a sense of cold horror.

We will soon know more details of the sequence of events that led to this tragedy. But the point uppermost in my mind is not "Who started it", "Who provoked it" or whatever there were agent-provocateurs behind it. Investigations will reveal that. The thought in my mind and of all
sensitive people now is -- "Was this spilling of human blood not avoidable? What is the public purpose served by the use of force that we have witnessed today?"

Force against anti-national elements, terrorists, extremists, insurgents is one thing. The receiving end of the force used today does not belong to that order.

What I advised Government over the last two days, as I received inputs of rising tension in Nandigram, Government knows. It is not my intention to enter into blame-fixing. But I can not be so casual to the Oath I have taken as to restrict my reaction to a pious expression of anguish and outrage. I trust the Government will not only go into the whys and wherefores of this tragic

occurrence but will also ensure that it leaves no room for a repetition of the kind of trauma witnessed today.

I leave it to the conscience of officials responsible to atone for the event in the manner they deem fit. But I also expect the government to do what it thinks is necessary to mitigate the effects of this bitter March 14, and to do it visibly and fast.

Gopalkrishna Gandhi

NANDIGRAM BURNING: Thousands forced to flee, situation worsening

Nandigram Burning

Thousands forced to flee, situation worsening

* Thousands Forced to Flee from Nandigram,Activists Under Arrest
* Memorandum Submitted to Governor of West Bengal
* Dharna begins in Kolkata, Two Day Protest Fast to Commence Tomorrow

Nandigram is under fire and scare. On the festive days of Kalipuja, the light emerging from the land of Martyrdom is not of the lamps women would light in their 'badis' (houses) but from the burning houses, put on fire by cadres entering village after village and occupying land forcibly.

The reports coming from the land and the citizens as members of the Bhumi Ucched Protirodh Committee indicate that AT LEAST 20,000 FAMILIES ARE MADE TO FLEE FROM THEIR HOUSES IN SATANGABARI, SAMSABAD AND OTHER VILLAGES which are either demolished or looted. We met Taslimadi in Kapasberia with Minudi, who have taken shelter in their relatives' houses. But the tears in their eyes and choked voices brought to us the pain and anguish for being made destitute and homeless which could not be hidden. While thousands of families and more than a lakh people have shifted either to the schools and other public buildings, or to the open grounds where huge camps are set up by the committee where most of the people are being fed, if not left hungry.

Tens of people, from the villages that laid their lives for land in 2007, the very year of remembering of Gandhiji's Satyagraha, the Martyrdom of Bhagat Singh and 150 years of the Sepoy Mutiny, saw their victory in the cancellation of the Chemical hub to be brought on the lush green land in Nandigram, East Midnapore. But that was not all. They are facing worse of the battles, a war.

Beyond throwing small bombs, firing across the Khaals (naalas) and rivulets, demolishing 60 houses in Satangabari (May 2007) and such other attacks threatening and targeting villagers; boycott of labourers and hawkers going to work and customers going to nearby market is also a serious concern. Resistance to this also became violent, as people and some of the supporting social and political activists claimed that they could not survive without it.

A new phase began, with steady increase in the large number of persons, known to be Harmad Vahini, CPI (M) cadres, and an open attack on the houses and villages and also persons, started in October. Persons of both sides seem to have been killed but no one is sure of the final tally. The information from the area was in parts and parcels and delayed but now it's clear that CPI(M) cadres from outside the area, as they are identified with goons, have been marching, beating, hitting ……. forcibly occupying territory. News conveyed and flashed clearly indicate that Satangabari, Samsabad, Sonachura and few
other villages are partially or fully vacated, occupied and houses looted and damaged, even burnt. Beyond this, the total picture of the fight going on among the unequal forces is not coming out but it's certain that unlike what is presented from the ruling quarters in West Bengal, there is no infiltration of Maoists that has caused all this. There may be a handful of activists belonging to various ideologies ‘Gandhian to Maoism’ reaching Nandigram, but we have not doubt that the battle was started, led and is carried forward by the local residents, women, men youth and children included.

We know that hundreds and hundreds of families have been left without livelihoods who are only crying halt to snatch away their land, asserting their rights but also appealing for peace. They, in thousands, are innocent, they are challenged but they are committed even to lay their lives but not bent or submit. They are beyond party lines, accepting the leadership of Bhumi Ucched Protirodh Committee with representatives of villages' communities, peoples' organisations such as Gana-unnayan and Jana-adhikar Raksha Samiti and also local residents representing SUCI, TMC, PDCI and Congress as parties and Jamait-e-Ulema-i-Hind. This must be understood by all.

What is going on in Nandigram is undemocratic, criminal and also inhuman. People on both sides are losing lives while property and livelihood in the area is irreversibly damaged. This is unacceptable.

The West Bengal Government has been repeatedly appealed by various organisations, to control the situation by compelling the CPI (M) cadres to withdraw the siege and stop forcible entry and occupation, but to no avail. THE POLICE, INCLUDING SENIOR OFFICIALS, SEEM TO BE INACTIVE AND APATHETIC AS PER ORDERS AND UNDER THE POLITICAL CONTROL OF LAKSHMAN SETH, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT AND CHAIRMAN OF HALDIA DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY.

It is all these which necessitates an urgent intervention by not only the Central Government, the Home Ministry but also the Constitutional authorities and the National Human Rights Commission, to say the least.


We, representatives of Peoples' Movements, Paschim Banga Khet Mazdoor Samiti and New Trade Union initiatives, NAPM, APDR, Forum of Artistes and Intellectuals, Teachers and Scientists' forums, representatives from SUCI including Tarun Sanyal, Sunondo Sanyal, Tarun Naskar, Sujata Bhadra, Meher Engineer, Amit Bhattacharya, Debaprosad Sarkar(MLA), Anuradha Talwar ,Swapan Ganguly and Medha Patkar, decided to visit Nandigram on being invited through repeated calls and messages from the people facing the onslaught.

Yesterday, November 8th 2007, we proceeded towards Nandigram accompanied by tens of policemen and officials, who warned us of security problems but also assured us of being there to protect. On their conveying to us a possibility of having a dialogue with the Chief Minister or Chief Secretary in the Government, we agreed to hold the dialogue after visiting the area and assessing the situation there. We took the Haldia route instead of the route we took earlier, where CPI (M) cadres had stopped us.

We reached Kapasberia More at about 12:30 p.m. A gathering of 30-40 CPI (M) cadres with Red flags stopped our convoy and started shouting abusive slogans against us.

Interestingly the police pilot car leading the convoy stepped aside and made way for the goons so that they can have a free hand on us. A few cadres specifically targeted Medha Patkar, Tarun Sanyal, Debjit, Deboprosad Sarkar and Meher Engineer as well as a few media persons in other vehicles.

They started attacking Medha Patkar with fists, violently pulling her out of the car by holding her hair and Sari. They broke the specks of Debjit and partly tore the clothes of Sunondo Sanyal. They also broke the camera of a media person.

All the while, the cadres were encircling all the cars (except the police ones) and breaking the glass panes, shouted abusive and filthy languages to all of us. Even at this point, police chose to be silent spectators who are watching some fun for free. Five vehicles were able to turn back and move a few yards.

One sumo car (WB 02H 4402), carrying Meher Engineer, Amit Bhattacharya and Hindustan Times reporter Alok Banerjee, was severely damaged and the passengers including Alok Banerjee were badly beaten in this unprecedented act of violence by CPI(M) terrorists. The driver somehow managed to move forward towards Kapasberia School where the local residents gave the passengers first aid.

Medha Patkar and others began to stage Dharna on the Kapasberia bridge and had a protest sit-in for 3 hours and more. We handed over a letter addressed to the Superintendent of Police and asked to make way for our visit to Nandigram and to book the attackers under law.

Local residents came out in large numbers and showed their support and solidarity towards us and to the struggle of common people of Nandigram and condemned the CPI (M) attack on us. They also condemned the deliberate and directed police inaction. Subsequently we lodged two complaints with the local Mahishadal Police Station, one relating to breaking down of the above mentioned Sumo car, and the other regarding the physical attack on Medha Patkar, Deboprosad Sarkar (MLA) and others by CPI (M) cadres. We returned to Mecheda for further action where Medha Patkar and Tarun Sanyal addressed the local residents.

* We condemn such undemocratic and criminal tendencies by the ruling party and demand as free and concerned citizens of India as well as representatives of peoples' movements that we should be allowed to visit Nandigram where more than a lakh people have become homeless and need our immediate support and relief.

* We are shocked by the apathy, inaction and both direct and indirect support of the police to the CPI (M) hooligans, indicating a break-down of State Machinery resulting in non-availability of any channel for security and redressal of grievances of common people.

* We urge an urgent intervention by the Governor of West Bengal as well as the Union Government of India to open up Nandigram by ensuring withdrawal of siege and stopping outsider-attackers from entering Nandigram.

* We demand that peaceful defenders of Human Rights' belonging to known Peoples' organisations should be allowed and protected and their entry to Nandigram area should be facilitated.

* We hope that all concerned and progressive citizens, civil organisations as well as political parties will protest against the onslaught on Nandigram, forcible occupation of their territory and violation of basic human rights and civil liberties, compelling the Constitutional authorities and government to intervene in this battle between the State and people for freedom, democracy, right to life and livelihood.

Latest News:
1. Three People including Sadikulla from Jamat-e-Ulema-Hind, Schoota Das and Samar Das, have been arrested while going towards Nandigram today.

2. Activists and intellectuals including Medha Patkar met the governor today and submitted the memorandum to ensure the freedom of the people of Nandigram and also the protection of their Constitutional rights.

3. People across India have written to the WB government condemning the attack and the situation in Nandigram.


Press Conference


Sukhendu Bhattachrya - Sanhati Udyog/NAPM
Anuradha Talwar - Paschim Banga Khet Mazdoor Samiti/NTUI
Sujata Bhadra- APDR
Tarun Naskar/ Dilip Chakraborty- Forum of Artists and intellectuals
Meher Engineer- Teachers’ and Scientists’ Forum
Shyam Bihari Singh- Janata Dal (Secular)
Kartik Pal- CPI (ML) Liberation
Shaktiman Ghosh- National Hawkers’ Federation
Amit Bhattacharya- Prof. Jadhavpur University
Gautam Sen- Intellectual
Medha Patkar- National Alliance of People's Movements

Medha Patkar attacked in West Bengal

Medha Patkar attacked in West Bengal
Medha begins Satyagraha on the highway to Nandigram

NANDIGRAM: Medha Patkar, D Sarkar, Sunanda Sanyal, Tarun Sarkar and others were attacked by CPM cadres and have sustained injuries in West Bengal.
All this was done only to stop Medha Patkar and other activists from entering Nandigram. Medha Patkar was invited by the people of Nandigram after a spate of violence and killing in the area. She has been visiting Nandigram ever since the struggle has started.
We condemn the attitude of the Police who behaved as onlookers and were totally indifferent towards such violent acts by the CPM cadre who were shouting slogans and carrying red flags while breaking cars and beating people.
We the representatives of people's movements, strongly condemn the violent attack on non-violent activists heading towards Nandigram.
At present she along with many activists including Anuradha Talwar of NTUI are sitting on satayagraha on the highway towards Nandigram.
We have always been working together with CPM in other states on various issues, what is it in Nandigram that the Government is so desperate not to allow us to enter Nandigram, and to behave violently with the peaceful activists?
It is ironical that in the state where CPM is ruling, on the one hand there is an attack by its cadre and goons and on the other the police who are supposed to protect the people, are acting indifferent. Is the government hand and glove with the goons?
On one hand, CPM talks about farmers' and marginalized people's rights, but on the other, it hinders the process of struggle through severe state repression. The democratic spaces in West Bengal have almost disappeared.
- Stop killing and attacking peaceful protesters - including residents of Nandigram.
- Investigate the incident of killings and take immediate and appropriate action against the people involved in this violent attack and also against the police who despite being present, did nothing to protect.
- The President, the Prime Minister, Home Minister should take every step to force CPM Govt. and party to lift the siege of Nandigram.
- Compel the Chief Minister of West Bengal to prevent the police and party cadres from entering and capturing Nandigram territory
- Send medical and other help to the area
- Send an All-party team of MPs to investigate and mediate to bring peace and security to the area

Action Alert
Please send faxes to CM and Home Minster West Bengal:

Prime Minster's fax Number- 0 11-23019545 / 011-23016857

CM West Bengal – Fax Number- 033-22145480/ 22141341
Minster of Home Affairs for State Fax Number - 033- 22144052

"Support lawyers and judges in Pakistan"- Asma Jahngir

"Support lawyers and judges in Pakistan"
- Asma Jahngir
by: Asma Jahangir
Advocate: Supreme Court of Pakistan
Chairperson: Human Rights Commission of Pakistan
I am fortunate to be under house arrest while my colleagues are suffering.

The Musharaf government has declared martial law to settle scores with lawyers and judges. While the terrorists remain on the loose and continue to occupy more space in Pakistan, senior lawyers are being tortured. The civil society of Pakistan urges bar associations all over the world to mobilize public opinion in favor of the judges and lawyers in Pakistan.

A large number of judges of superior courts are under-arrest. Thousands of lawyers are imprisoned, beaten and tortured. In particular the cases of Muneer A Malik, Aitzaz Ahsan, Tariq Mahmood and Ali Ahmed Kurd are serious. Muneer A Malik, the former President of the Supreme Court Bar Association and leader of the lawyers' movement has been shifted to the notorious Attack Fort.

He is being tortured and is under the custody of the military intelligence. Tariq Mahmood, former President of the Supreme Court Bar Association,was imprisoned in Adiala jail. No one was allowed to see him and itis reported that he has been shifted to an unknown place.

Mr. Ali Ahmed Kurd, former Vice Chair of the Pakistan Bar Council is in the custody of military intelligence and being kept at an undisclosed place.

Mr. Aitzaz Ahsan, President of the Supreme Court Bar is being kept in Adiayala jail in solitary confinement.

Representatives of bar associations should approach their governments to pressure the government of Pakistan to release all lawyers and judges and immediately provide access to Muneer A Malik, TariqMahmood, Ali Ahmed Kurd and Aitzaz Ahsan. The bars are also urged tohold press conferences in their country and express their solidaritywith the lawyers of Pakistan who are struggling to establish the ruleof law.

Asma Jahangir
Supreme Court of Pakistan
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan