People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
January 21, 2007
Statewide Campaign On Nandigram Facts
SPEAKING to the media on the one-and-a-half month long campaign-movement statewide on the reality of the Nandigram developments, Biman Basu announced that ‘Nandigram Divas,’ would be observed on January 27. He said that the East Midnapore unit of the Party would carry out the campaign-movement for two full months. The people of Bengal would be apprised of the misdeeds of the opposition Trinamul Congress, the SUCI, and the Naxalites plus the fundamentalist groups at Nandigram.
Ditches were dug across roads. Bridges and culverts were expertly sabotaged. Communication was cut off. Houses of CPI(M) workers looted and then burnt, and attempts by the administration to restore the communication over roads frustrated – all done in the days and weeks after the Nandigram carnage where seven CPI(M) workers were shot and hacked to death, many others left seriously injured, and Party offices torched.
CPI(M) workers in their hundreds were ejected from their hearth and home and were put up in relief camps. The camps in turn were attacked with guns and bombs. A general atmosphere of fear and terror was created. The divas would also see collection of funds from the people to provide relief to the affected people of Nandigram. Biman Basu asked the media, too, to participate in the efforts through contribution of donation to the relief fund collection.
Biman Basu was critical of the lack of publicity in the corporate media about the unique nature of the land utilisation of SEZs insisted upon by the Bengal Left Front government. The Left Front chairman said that not very many people know that in Bengal, 50 per cent of the allocated land for an SEZ had to be utilised for the industry per se, with 25 per cent set apart for infrastructural facilities; the rest 25 per cent could be used for providing housing to those who ran the project.
BENGAL MODEL OF SEZ IDEAL
In other states, indeed, in all other states, Biman Basu insisted, a mere 25 per cent of the land was defined for industrial and infrastructural use, with the remaining 75 per cent fuelling land speculation through promotion of real estate business. In fact, the Bengal model of the SEZ land utilisation has been rightly held up as an ideal before the SEZs coming up in the country. This was never focused upon in any adequate manner in the corporate media adding fuel to the twin processes of speculation and confusion.
Biman Basu said the ‘national and international’ figures were recently seen hurrying in and out of Bengal and instigating anarchy on the issue of land utilisation in Bengal, sprouting misinformation all the way. The CPI(M) leader also thought that the police administration ought to be more pro-active in the days to come in place of merely reacting to a development.
HUGE KISAN RALLY AT NANDIGRAM
A kisan rally of massive proportions was held at the big Rayapara field adjoining the office of the block development officer at Nandigram in Midnapore east on January 16. The rally was a condemnation of the series of malfeasance committed on the mass of the people of Nandigram by the goons of the Trinamul Congress, Naxalites, and SUCI who came from outside of the area and the district.
These elements indulged freely in spreading rumour of land acquisition, and then launched attack on the CPI(M) supporters killing seven, injuring dozens of others, and driving away from villages close to 500 rural folk and their families.
Kisans and urban people came from such areas of Nandigram like Garchakraberia, Sonachura, Kendemari, and neighbouring villages where the Trinamul-Naxalite-SUCI goons ran riot, driving out CPI(M) workers and torching their hutments as well pucca structures.
Laxman Seth, state committee member of the Bengal unit of the CPI(M) was the principal speaker at the rally. Earlier, the opposition elements and the outfits they had floated at Nandigram gave the cry: “we want Laxman Seth’s head.” Laxman Seth began by saying it would be the people of Nandigram who had voted him in massively who would decide whether to go in for his head or for the coordinated industrial development of Nandigram.
People of Nandigram had asked Seth who was their MP whether they were condemned to only visualising the rapid industrial and urban development of Haldia on the other side of the Haldi river while themselves languishing far behind. It had been decided then that Nandigram would be a second Haldia. There would industrialisation of Nandigram with a bridge across the river Haldi, and a mini port coming up at Jellingham. Thus, the demand for industrialisation of Nandigram is the demand of the people of Nandigram.
The goons who came with weapons in hand to stop the process of industrialisation, destroying roads, and burning up houses would never succeed. The self-same persons had opposed the agrarian development of and land reforms in Bengal. There was a campaign of misinformation that the entire population of the two blocks Nandigram I and Nandigram II would be evicted.
To reassure the people was an outline plan published but which is yet to reach even the Panchayat office. That outline plan was misrepresented as land acquisition notice by the rural stakes, and mayhem and rampage let loose. A few people did become temporarily confused. The Party must approach the mass of the people and differentiate between falsehood and authenticity, between propaganda myth and the evolving reality.
Seth exhorted upon the villager to set up village committees, to collect funds, and to stand solidly by the affected people. Other kisan leaders who addressed the rally that went on for more than an hour were Ashok Guria, Amiya Sahu, and Shyam Chand Ojha who presided over the rally.