People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 44

November 04, 2007

Peace Must Be Restored At Nandigram: Biman, Buddhadeb


BENGAL Left Front chairman Biman Basu and Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee both called for a political process to be put in place for the restoration of peace at Nandigram. They also underlined the importance of commencement of developmental work that had virtually come to a standstill for the past eight months now.


The Trinamul Congress and its running mates in the ranks of the Maoists, Naxalites, and SUCI would not allow the writ of the Left Front government to run in large parts of the two blocks that make up Nandigram. The move started with an ostensible opposition to the setting up of an industrial cluster at Nandigram. The violence continued unabated even when the LF government made it quite clear that the industrial hub would be set elsewhere, at a strip of sand bar called Nayachar near the mouth of the river Ganges.




In the armed assaults that the Trinamul Congress and its lackeys organised at Nandigram, thousands of villagers have had to take the shelter of relief camps merely for the reason of their opposition to the Trinamul-Maoist-Naxalite run save agriculture committee, an outfit that is overwhelmingly dominated by hardened criminals, including infamous murderers like Ranjit Pal accused in the killing of Sunil Mahato, MP. Other gangs of armed criminals have Subhendu Ghosh and Qurban Khan as their leaders. Both are history-sheeters.


A large number of armed Maoists and Jharkhandis have recently gone inside Nandigram and they have been put at the houses of local Trinamul Congress leaders like Sheikh Sufiyan, Nishikanta Mondal, and Abu Taher Quazehar Sheikh et al. The gangs come out after sundown and terrorise the villagers who have chosen either bravely to cling to their hutments or have been bold enough to come back to their places of residence.


Villagers have been terrorised, killed, and their women raped by these criminals over the past eight months or so. Very recently over the past week, the semblance of resistance by the villagers have made the criminal gangs and their political mentors desperate enough to step up the wanton violence at and around Nandigram, and the clear aim is to provoke the security personnel to resort to firing, thus giving the elements of vested interests at Nandigram, their political masters, and certain sections of the media to point accusing fingers at the Left Front government.




Briefing the media, Biman Basu said that peace needed to be restored at Nandigram early. The gratuitous violence unleashed by the criminals in the pay of the Trinamul Congress and it running mates must stop. The opposition must respond to the call of the Left Front and the Left Front government to start a political process right from the block level to put an end to the imbroglio overwhelming the locality and its surrounding stretches of town and villages. Biman Basu also rejected any justification for the counter-development bandhs called on succeeding days by the SUCI (that has already proven an emphatic flop) and the Trinamul Congress.


In his recent lengthy interaction with the media at the Writers’ Buildings, Buddhadeb was emphatic when he pointed out that the present state-of-affairs at Nandigram — where the writ of the Bengal Left Front government would not be allowed to be effective — could not continue any longer. The rural bodies cannot work, and more than one-and-a-half thousand of people have been rendered homeless. Armed criminal gangs roam the area, looting, stealing, setting fire to houses, and killing everyone opposed to their anarchic regime. Who but the mass of the people stand to lose from all this, was Buddhadeb’s rhetoric question.


Squarely accusing the pro-Naxalite Association for the Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR) of helping an additional 100-odd armed Naxalites to recently infiltrate Nandigram, Buddhadeb said that no political party other than the outfits ‘at work’ in Nandigram were allowed inside the localities. Calling for an early commencement of a political process, Buddhadeb stated that peace and normalcy would not be restored at the point of guns.




Noting that the agenda of the opposition for Nandigram was hard to understand, the Bengal chief minister nonetheless exhorted them to come to the table for a thorough discussion of whatever problems and issues they would like to raise. Pointing out to the media that Left Front government had not dismissed out of hand any of the demands of the opposition including fixation and payment of compensation to victims, withdrawal of court cases (except those involving murder and rape), commencement of development work early, and even the separation of Nandigram from the Haldia Development Authority, Buddhadeb said that there was no alternative to a political process being set in motion and that this the opposition ought to understand and appreciate.


However, the opposition, mainly the Trinamul Congress, Buddhadeb regretted, would not respond to any of the initiatives of the state LF government. On the other hand, they would do everything within their power and capacity to unleash fresh violence on the hapless villagers of Nandigram. ‘Can this be allowed to continue for ever?’ asked Buddhadeb who also said that he had called upon the union government for additional central reserve forces, specifically eight companies of the CRPF. Buddhadeb dismissed the allegation of a ‘bullet attack’ on Mamata Banerjee as ‘baseless’ (Biman Basu called the supposed attack ‘a tall tale.’) (B P)