People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
March 18, 2007
Defeat Politics Of Terror
AS we go to press, incendiary violence has, once again, erupted in Nandigram in West Bengal. Eleven deaths have been reported so far. Eighteen policemen with severe injuries are hospitalised, alongwith 24 others, some critical.
The blockade of five gram panchayats started by the Trinamul Congress, naxalites, Maoists and others in an unholy nexus on January 3 under the pretext of not permitting any land acquisition has now taken this condemnable ugly turn. In the first place, as noted in these columns earlier, the issue that land was being acquired was based on fabricated rumours. Since then, the state government and the ruling Left Front in West Bengal has categorically stated that no land would be acquired for any industrialisation purposes or for establishing special economic zones in Nandigram. Despite this declaration being made public many weeks ago, the blockade of the area continued. The blockade was enforced by disrupting communications, cutting off roads and bridges – this naturally has been the source of immense hardship for the local populace.
During these two and a half months, those who refused to cooperate with the so-called agitators were subjected to merciless terror. As a result, over 2,500 people have been driven out of their homes and forced to eke out a miserable livelihood elsewhere. More than a thousand people continue to live today in relief camps.
At an all-party meeting, boycotted by the Trinamul Congress, held a few days ago, it was unanimously decided that civic rule must be restored in that area. On the basis of this decision, the state government sent the police to assist others in repairing the roads and restoring communications. The police was prevented from entering the area and when they proceeded to implement the law of the land, they were fired upon. The so-called protestors were armed with country-made bombs and other incendiary materials including pipe guns. Consequently, a large number of policemen were critically injured and in the crossfire that ensued, as always, innocent people became victims.
What is the meaning of provoking and instigating such senseless violence? It is such tactics that the Trinamul Congress and the Maoists elements have perfected over the years in West Bengal. Some years ago, in Keshpur in Midnapur district, these elements created similar mayhem and terror in order to establish their political presence. Many lives were lost even then, but once peace and order was restored and elections held, the Left Front scored resounding victories. Keshpur model is now being sought to be repeated in Nandigram. This, thus, constitutes a frontal political assault through the use of violence and terror by Trinamul Congress & Co. Following the electoral drubbing they received in the state assembly elections last year, these sections in their desperation to regain some political space have embarked on such a diabolic strategy.
Their desperation also arises from the fact that for decades, they had been campaigning that no industrialisation was ever possible in West Bengal under the Left Front rule. This, in fact, was their staple diet to flaunt their political existence. Now, if industrialisation were to progress under the Left Front rule in West Bengal, then the very foundations of their political existence gets eroded. Therefore, these very sections who had opposed the land reforms undertaken by the Left Front government are, today, seeking to portray themselves as the protectors of the peasantry and their land. Such duplicity cannot and will not survive. Like they failed in Keshpur, so shall they once again.
This is a political challenge that has been thrown at the CPI(M) and the government in West Bengal. It shall be met politically. The Left Front government in West Bengal is a product of many glorious movements advancing people’s interests. Many valuable lives were lost in these struggles, but the reactionaries were never allowed to succeed.