People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
December 30, 2007
Bengal LF Minister Assures Nandigram
Women Of Re-Commencement Of
A TEAM of 21 women MLAs of the Bengal Left Front recently visited extensive areas of the affected parts of the two blocks of Nandigram. The team led by minister for self-help group and self-employment, Rekha Goswami spoke to hundreds of women, singly, in groups, or at impromptu rallies and learnt about the needs of the hour.
The women MLAs toured through Nandigram to Kalicharanpur to Garchakraberia. They also moved around the various villages of Amdabad, Dihi Kamalpur, Gokulnagar, Takapura, Satengabari, and Jalpai. They met women who told them about the extreme misery they had to face for the past eleven months. They would either flee to the crowded refugee camps, or would stay back and face torture, extortion, physical harassment, and worse. Many tales would remain untold, given the soft and reticent nature of the rural women of Bengal.
Some of the women of self-help groups that had once flourished at Nandigram had bitter tales of woe. Their pass books had been burned to cinders, their cash funds indiscriminately looted despite pleas of mercy, their lot of boxed important land-related papers including documents in original and in photo-copies, detailing dagh, khatian, and mouza numbers of various land plots were all either stolen or destroyed, before their own weeping eyes.
‘My children and grand-children would now die from hunger,’ said a stoic Sreemati Patra whose tears had dried up long back when she was subjected to public humiliation before her family. The sixty-odd-year-old, aged prematurely and thin from a starvation diet over long periods, added in a laconic tone that with her stock of rice received as dole running out, and her vegetable patch having been reduced to rubble long back, she saw no other future for her brood of young girls and boys, all of whom had lost their parents.
VILLAGER LEFT PAUPERISED
Ayesha Biwi and Ujjwala Maity had similar tales of grief and sorrow to tell. They would scrounge around for food now-a-days, and they had once been of comfortable living thanks to their participation in a self-help group that produced and sold handicrafts. ‘Everything is gone now, didi’ they wept, and gripped minister Rekha’s hands in a desperate grasp of the despairing of living.
All told the MLAs of the atrocities of the ‘wolves of the CRPF,’ and said that on the other hand, they feared worse once the trickle of the Maoists and the Trinamulis started to assume the proportions of a deluge, as earlier, during those danger-filled days and nights of uncertainties that they would like to forget but cannot erase from their thoughts. They talked of peace, and asked plaintively for bank loans, duplicate papers to be made, and refurbishing of the establishments of the self-help groups, ground to the dust by the Maoist and Trinamuli marauders.
Later addressing a meeting of available members of the self-help groups, Rekha assured the women that the Bengal Lf government would stand by the affected the destitute of Nandigram and do whatever it could to put the women back to self-sufficiency. The process may take a bit of time, but the urge and motivation are already in place.