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