People's Democracy

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


No. 51

December 23, 2007


Bengal CPI(M) MPs Find Normalcy

Returning Fast To Nandigram

B Prasant


Basudeb Acharya and colleagues listening to villagers in Nandigram


A team of CPI(M) members of parliament under the leadership of CPI(M) central committee member Basudeb Acharya of late visited Nandigram and moved around the areas where the opposition goons of Maoists and Trinamulis had tried and failed in the bid to create a permanent state of terror and anarchy. The team found normalcy returning fast in the entire Nandigram stretch comprising two blocks.  The CPI(M) MPs also found that some of the CRPF units were working in close collusion with local hoods of the Trinamul Congress.


The team started its visit by going around the Sonachura bazaar.  Villagers complained in unison against the twin sources of unease for them: the Trinamul Congress goons, and some units of the CRPF.  What was important for the people of the locality was that in many instances the two forces worked together to harass workers and supporters of the CPI(M). 


Villagers like Ujjwala Maity, Nilima Das, and Kalpana Mondal informed the delegation that the local Trinamul chief Sudhangsu Das has enlisted support of the CRPF as he goes around threatening families of the area who refuse to line up with Das and his outfit of goons, with dire consequences. The women also complained that they were afraid that having just starting to settle down after returning from refugee camps, they might be ejected again. 


Chhabi Mondal spoke with fear in her voice as she recounted the nightly visitations of the CRPF sepoys who kick on closed doors of her house and of her neighbours’ and threaten to ‘break the doors down, and come in.’  During the night, it is relevant to stress, the menfolk flee away from the households for fear of arrests, and the women and children have to fend for themselves on their own.


At Khejuri and adjoining areas, the villagers repeated what the villagers of Sonachura had told the MPs.  They said that the CRPF under guidance and occasionally companionship of the Trinamul Congress history-sheeters have been engaged in harassing villagers and indulging in behaviour of provocation including passing of lewd remarks on the rural womenfolk. 


When some earth was removed and heaped up while the work of a brick kiln (long-pending, one might add, thanks to Trinamuli-Maoist intransigence) was about to commence, ‘body politics’ came into play yet once again. CRPF units and Trinamuli chieftains forced the workers to quit and claimed that ‘bodies’ were interned in the earthen heap. Nothing was found but the work would not be allowed to re-commence.


The elderly Pushpa Kajali and young Asanullah (a school-going lad) broke down as they related the severe beating and confinement both have been subjected to by the CRPF sepoys for ‘crimes that we do not yet know we have committed.’  Both are CPI (M) supporters.  At Brindabanchak, one heard the poor villagers of a harijan neighbourhood tell the familiar tale of people unable even to venture out onto the fields full of crops and engage themselves in harvesting for fear of harassment and worse from CRPF.  The MPs also met and spoke with 90-year-old freedom fighter Brajalal Das (of Baratala village) who was beaten up by the CRPF recently.


The local Trinamul Congress subaltern and a criminal who is accused in murder cases and has warrant out in his name, Swapan Patra has been the guiding light of the CRPF who go about harassing the rural folk in the name of search operations.  Several CRPF sepoys are from Nandigram where they were workers of the Trinamul Congress.  They play an active role in chasing, arresting, and torturing CPI (M) workers.  Several CRPF sepoys have been put up at houses belonging to well-known Trinamulis. 


Later, speaking to the media, Basudeb Acharya came down heavily on the role of the CRPF and said that he would take the matter up suitably with the Prime Minister, the Home Minister, and with the CRPF authorities.  The CRPF, Basudeb Acharya had no doubt in his mind, ‘has crossed the limits, and were harassing villagers, going far out of their brief.’