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