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