People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
March 25, 2007
Trinamul-Naxalite-SUCI Rampage In Nandigram Escalates
THE rampaging violence of the Trinamul-Naxalite-SUCI elements continued unabated and grew when BJP leaders L K Advani and Sushma Swaraj visited Nandigram under heavy police protection. The violence escalated after the self-styled ‘world famous’ activist Medha Patkar made an incendiary speech in the same area, telling the media that Nandigram was the death-bed for those wounded and the injured during the March 14 incidents.
In their speeches, the BJP leaders provoked the hundred odd people who had come to cheer them lustily with the gruesome lie that Nandigram was Jalianwalabagh writ large. They also said that Mamata Banerjee was the sole leader of the anti-Left and anti-CPI(M) movement — completely deflating the ego of the state BJP leaders present.
Even as the BJP leaders sprouted fire and brimstone, the armed lumpen elements started to quietly enter the Sonachura and Tekhali areas of Nandigram, threatening people and unceremoniously ousting them from their village residences. Most of the evictees just ran away desperately with the armed goons giving them a chase while firing at them indiscriminately. The abject terror that was written on the face of the fleeing villagers was palpable.
The Trinamul Congress-SUCI-Naxalite-Jamiat-e Ulama-e Hind combination ran riot flourishing arms in places like Gangra, Southkhali, and Garchakraberia for two hours. Roads were again dug up. Houses of the CPI(M) workers were looted. A fresh lot of 300 villagers have lost their home. The area belongs to a locality called Sonachura and the police managed to intervene and push the mob back out of Sonachura bazaar but not beyond Gangra.
Elsewhere, the CBI team, in Nandigram under orders from the court of law, moved around gathering evidence. Of the pieces of evidence they found were country-made guns and matching bullets. There was a prompt if hushed expression given vent to that the miscreants arrested belonged not to any opposition party or group. There was no substantiation of this dangerous accusation, but the media would start putting out its own campaign in much more garish way, putting the CPI(M) and the Left Front ‘on the dock.’
In the meanwhile, the villagers who had spent nearly three months in relief camps and had come back after the police action were again forced to go back to the camps leaving their hearth-and-home and livelihood. They were more than 1000 in number. The CBI sleuths would not really care about finding out about the miscreants who were continuing to hold guns pointed to the heads of the villagers, threatening them, extorting money from them, and moving around freely. They were apparently much more interested in trying to embarrass the democratically-elected Left Front government and the CPI(M) with ‘damning evidence.’
It is interesting to note that the much-tom-tom CBI inquiries into earlier incidents of violence in Bengal where the Trinamul Congress, the Naxalites and the SUCI were involved had not rally produced any such ‘damning evidence,’ the latest being the Singur case.
Lies and misinformation are heaped on one another as the media goes CPI(M)-hunting. Some instances need to be cited.
People Killed at Nandigram
Until now, the total number of dead at Nandigram stands at 14. Figures of 25, 50, and 100 are merrily bandied about in the media. The point to note is that the corporate media and a section of intellectuals and artistes do not consider 14 killed to be good enough for qualifying as unfortunate or sad. Added to the figures are garish lies of ‘rape, mutilation, and torture,’ exceeding all limits of decency.
Police and CPI(M)
It is also being loudly proclaimed that when the police entered Sonachura and Tekhali at Nandigram on March 14, ‘they were accompanied by armed CPI(M) workers.’ No footage is shown but the voice over drones on this concoction day-in and day-out. There is no mention of course of the atrocities perpetrated by the opposition outfits in Nandigram for the last two and half months and not allowing the writ of the elected state government to run there.
Use of firearms
It has been repeatedly shown on the television channels that women and children were forced to go to the forefront and confront the police while miscreants threw bombs and shot at the advancing police. A large number of non-standard ammunition shells have been found. A number of people of the villages forced to confront the police have been shot on the back, sometimes fatally. Of the 14 killed, several had such non-standard ammunition in their bodies.
The television channels and the largest bulk of the corporate press have repeatedly shown/run stories that members of the opposition outfits at Nandigram carried firearms, and both footage and stills were shown. Yet, the question is angled in a manner to put the CPI(M) on the dock about ‘who used the firearms.’ The media also blacked out the incidents of violence perpetrated by the opposition on the day of the bandh on March 16. They would also ignore speeches by the Trinamul Congress leadership that would threaten ‘bloody war,’ repeatedly.
Those who lost their hearth-and-home
For nearly three months, villagers who would not join the opposition’s rampages were systematically isolated, tortured, their hutments looted, their cattle killed, and crops set on fire — all at gunpoint. They were forced to leave the villages and seek shelters in relief camps. The reaction of the media has been that ‘recently, those who had come back to their villages could again be evicted,’ and there was an element of triumphalism in the copy that appeared in the front pages as headlines. The tone and tenor was nearly the same for all the corporate television channels except two.
The waves of distortion continue in the media, with a huge amount frustration evident at the way the Bengal Left Front has iterated its unity and solidarity in its latest meeting.
ROADS DUG UP AFRESH
The Trinamul Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee went ahead to force her way into the most sensitive spots of Nandigram and started to make incendiary speeches with appropriate gestures that are her trademark.
Encouraged, the Trinamul Congress-Naxalite-SUCI combination dug up roads afresh at Nandigram, and obstructed traffic through placing boulders and tree trunks on the main arterial road. The Tekhali-Nandigram road has been put under blockade.
The Trinamul Congress and Naxalite goons immediately went into a fresh round of rampage, setting fire to the CITU bus union office, and then the CPI(M) zonal office, threatening to ‘burn alive’ the 20-odd CPI(M) workers inside. Then they set the office on fire as the Party workers had the help of the neighbourhood to escape a fatal end. By this time, Mamata Banerjee had come to the fore of the miscreants and was virtually leading them and egging them on. The local Thana was put under gherao and stoned. The police resorted to teargas shells to disperse the mob.
BDO OFFICE RANSACKED, SET FIRE TO
The violent crowd then went to the office of the BDO, ransacked it completely, threatened the employees inside, and while throwing down the computers and printing equipment into a nearby pond, set fire to documents and then finally succeeded to putting to the torch a portion of the ground floor.
The Trinamul Congress leader accompanied by a few henchmen visited the Nandigram hospital, and then promptly ‘fell sick’, cried that she had been ‘hit on the chest,’ a familiar refrain of hers, swiftly lay down on a hospital bed, and was administered oxygen and saline drip as she continued to raise a hue-and-cry- about more severe chest pains. She recovered in a matter of minutes, but by then word has been spread around that she was being heckled and she had ‘fallen severely ill.’ More mayhem followed with shops being looted and people chased away from the streets.
Mamata Banerjee later expressed her desire to go back to Kolkata, which she did, in her own cavalcade of cars and jeeps, refusing the services of an ambulance.
In the meanwhile, the death toll from the cross-firing that took place during the day on March 13 between miscreants of the Trinamul Congress-Naxalites-SUCI and the police has increased to 14.
Elsewhere, Bengal Left Front chairman Biman Basu has called upon all democratic and patriotic people to ensure that life would go on normally and peace would be maintained, ignoring the opportunistic bandh call of the political outfits who oppose the Left Front.