People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
March 25, 2007
CPI(M) Favours Judicial Inquiry Into Nandigram Violence
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) favours a judicial inquiry to go into all the circumstances leading to the violence in Nandigram on March 14, which resulted in the deaths of 14 persons. It has also declared that there would be no land acquisition in Nandigram since the people there are opposing the chemical hub project.
Addressing a crowded press conference on March 19, 2007 at A K G Bhavan – a day after returning from Kolkata – CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat made these statements. At the outset he said the police firings and loss of lives is extremely regrettable and as communists it was most painful that a number of ordinary people died due to the police action.
Pointing out that the violence of March 14th must not be seen in isolation, Karat asserted that the situation prevailing in Nandigram for the last two and half months had to be taken into account. For this he said the CPI(M) wanted the West Bengal government to order a judicial inquiry so that these circumstances would come out. “We preferred judicial inquiry from the beginning but the Kolkata High Court in its wisdom ordered a CBI inquiry. That inquiry is on and even after its completion the Bengal government could order judicial probe to bring out all the facts”, he said. If any excesses have been committed by the police that must also be gone into by the probe, he felt.
Expressing surprise at the continued talk by many, including some well-meaning individuals, about land acquisition leading to the violence on March 14, Karat asserted that this is totally baseless. He told how the chief minister categorically announced on February 9 itself that no land will be acquired without the consent of people of Nandigram and how the Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) after its meeting on February 17-18 also made it clear about not acquiring land in Nandigram against the wishes of the people. Therefore to say that the police went to take land is absolutely false, asserted Karat.
The CPI(M) leader gave details of what has been happening in Nandigram since January 3, 2007. He said around 2500 CPI(M) members and supporters have been driven out of Nandigram Block I and one thousand of them are staying in relief camps in adjoining areas. He said there is a free-for-all situation in the block for the last two and half months with no police/administration being allowed in and that there is no rule of law in that block. Karat said there is a systematic attempt of cleansing the area of CPI(M) members and supporters. Bridges, culverts, roads have been broken by the Jami Rakkha Committee, floated by Trinamul and other forces. Armed men have attacked the relief camp in Khejuri area on January 6 and the next day a CPI(M) panchayat member Sankar Samanta was burnt alive in a hay stack. A tenth class girl student Sunita Mondal was brutally murdered on February 10. On March 3, a woman who is from a CPI(M) sympathiser’s family, was gang raped by miscreants led by a local Trinamul leader.
“There is this use of the word ‘CPI(M) cadre’. Are they not ordinary people who have every right to live, till their lands, send their kids to school?” asked an angry Prakash Karat. The people of the block have the right to reject the CPI(M) democratically. But this sort of cleansing cannot be allowed to go on, he asserted. He referred to the statements being made by Trinamul about recapturing the area and driving out all CPI(M) supporters as also the statement by CPI (Maoist) Bengal secretary that Maoists are in Nandigram and will remain there. He said that the Party is aware that the police firing on March 14 has not been approved by democratic-minded people across the country. However he said the Party is also sure that the democratic-minded people of Bengal and the nation would not condone this cleansing process in Nandigram.
Referring to BJP leader Advani’s visit to Nandigram and his statement that he has never seen such brutality, Karat reminded that as an MP representing Gandhi Nagar and as union minister Advani presided over the Gujarat carnage. He said the CPI(M) is not concerned about these self-serving demands made by such leaders.
Answering questions, Karat made it clear that the Singur project will go ahead as the situation in Singur and Nandigram are totally different. He said in Nandigram the people did not want the project. About the differences in Left Front, he said there were differing views among the constituents but the recent meeting in Kolkata discusses all matters and resolved the issues.