People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
March 25, 2007
Nandigram: Rumours And Truths
AS if the death of 14 people is not enough unfortunate, deliberate rumors are being spread now about the Nandigram incident. Every possible medium —television channels to Internet, are being used to magnify the “horror”.
To portray the March 14 incident as a “mass killing”, the number of those actually killed is now being inflated to infinite. If one reads through various statements by the opposition leaders and a section of the media, the number of dead can be anywhere between 50 to 200, even “thousand” as claimed by an actress in her column in a Bengali daily. Some like Medha Patkar have alleged that the children were beaten to death –– without providing a single instance, without naming a single child. The reality is that by March 20, the number of dead remained at 14, including one killed in bomb injury. Two bodies remain unidentified, unclaimed, fuelling suspicion that they were outsiders brought in for “action” by Trinamul Congress.
There is also a constant rumor of large number of people being “missing”.
Here is a short take (A CNN-IBN report): Nandigram: No missing report filed yet
Monday March 19, 03:30 PM
New Delhi: Even five days after the police firing left 14 people dead in Nandigram, no missing report has been filed with the police so far.
"Nobody has lodged any missing diary in connection with the incident. So, going by official records, there are no reports of any person missing," East Midnapur police superintendent G A Srinivas said.
One of the top leaders of the farmer’s body that is heading the agitation against the state government and the CPI(M) over the now aborted SEZ project of Indonesia’s Salim group in the village, also said that nobody had filed a missing report.
However, convenor of the Bhumi Uchhed Pratirodh Committee (Commitee for Resistance against Land Acquisition), S K Sufiyan claimed that they were still collecting details.
Now, how the lies are being manufactured has been provided by another interesting piece of report by the correspondent of Ekdin, a newly published Bengali daily, claiming to be ‘the only opposition’. This virulent anti-Left paper reported on March 18: “… here true news means the news of their choice. The moment I reached Nandigram, I heard thousands of bodies are floating in Chuniburi canal. Another story is police has entered in a school and killed children by piercing them. Some were telling police has carried the beautiful ladies in lorries. I asked where they were taken. One replied ‘towards Kolkata’. I asked ‘have you seen anything?’ He said, ‘No, the other people had seen’….Wherever I was talking with people there were some who were prompting people to tell that the police has cut down women’s chests’. I was forced to stop them.”
By the way, this correspondent has also reported that how the rumours had been spread for the last two and half months and how the local journalists were threatened to work under duress.
For the last few days there are reports of “rapes” too in some newspapers. Incidentally, in all cases the source of the news is same: one Ashok Samanta, who is a renowned leader of SUCI doctors’ cell.
WHO CARRIED FIRE ARMS? WHO ARE THE LEADERS?
Not only on March 14, the criminals were in rule in Nandigram from the first week of January. Even before the day of confrontation with police, the newspapers reported that the criminals were prepared with firearms and they were in the attacking mood. Some examples from their reports:
“It is apprehended that at least six outsiders are killed by the firing from agitators” (Bartaman daily, March 10)
“The armed residents are on the streets for stiff resistance. The women are with sticks and sharp weapons. Many of the men are carrying fire arms” (Pratidin daily, March 14)
“The leader of the Bhumi Ucched Protirodh Committee S K Sufiyan said, we also fired to resist” (Ekdin, March 10).
There are numerous such reports in the press who are spearheading the anti-CPI(M) campaign. Anandabazar Patrika has printed a photo of a rally of Bhumi Ucched Protirodh Committee in which some persons are seen openly brandishing revolvers.
While it is true that a section of the general people in Nandigram has joined the agitation, the so called movement has its special leaders. It is these “leaders” who had attacked the houses of CPI(M) sympathisers, burnt 22 houses, destroyed 48 houses, killed at least 4 CPI(M) activists, ousted hundreds from the villages, engaged in rape and torture of women, collected lakhs of rupees as ransom.
Anyone going to Nandigram now will hear the name of one Khokan Shet, a Trinamul activist who has been charged with rape and looting much before the Nandigram incident. Shet has also led the barbaric killing of Sankar Samanta, CPI(M) member of the panchayat. He led the attack on March 14 too.
The leader of the action squad is Imran, popularly known as ‘Dacoit Imran’. This hardcore criminal’s profession is dacoity in East Midnapore and South 24 Parganas. He is leading the looting spree in villages. It is reported that he led a team of armed criminals on March 14 in Talpati area. Another hardened criminal Bhaglu has become the leader of the agitation. Bhaglu is an absconding criminal charged with three murders in Diamond Harbour sub division of South 24 Parganas. He was also charged with rape cases. All these cases are there before he became a leader in Nandigram. He is now a Trinamul Congress activist.
Some of the “agitators” were hired. A team of almost 35 criminals were brought from adjoining Kanthi and even from Pingla, Keshpur. Two known criminals of Jharkhand Party – Irfan and Suven Ghosh – were brought from Belpahari and Binpur along with some people of those areas. Both these leaders are charged with more than one murder case in their respective areas. They were close associates of Maoists and were trained by them. They killed several CPI(M) leaders and activists in West Midnapore district. It was mainly through them that the Maoists joined in the armed action in Nandigram.
Yes, these are the “leaders” whom we see in media accompanying Medha Patkar to L K Advani.