People's Democracy

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


No. 16

April 27, 2008



B Prasant

A completely frustrated Trinamul Congress descends late one evening onto Nandigram, Mamata Banerjee leading, with the usual complement of a long queue of SUVs carrying toughs of every description trailing behind. The first thing that the goons do is to get out of the vehicles near a village ground where CPI(M) leader Laxman Seth is to later address a rally deep inside the once-Maoist stronghold of Sonachura. Egged on by the local Trinamul MLA, they proceed to tear down a couple of Red flags. The rest is recorded as part of history by the TV crews who tag along.

A bevy of angry women supporters of the CPI(M) come rushing out, flourishing nothing but inordinately long broomsticks – of the variety with which fallen leaves are swept up from the bottom of the trees in the rural stretches – and irately chase the goons away. The MLA is the first to flee – but only after he looses his bearings, his poise, his anger and angst, as well as one of a pair of the expensive chappals he wears. Didi also does the disappearing act fast and well enough -- all the while sending phone calls to her Kolkata-based brigands that ‘I am attacked: spread the word along.’ The bandh that is later called for the next day, the SUCI joins as a partner, is a flop and is withdrawn by the time it is a little before quarter to two in the afternoon.

Nevertheless, the Trinamul Congress goons come back during the night-time, infiltrate the nearby Satengabari area, burst deadly bombs loaded with large splinters, and goes into the village shooting from country-made guns all the way. They are led by the pistol-toting criminal Quazehar Sheikh. They choose the hutments of the women activists of the CPI(M) and of the Kisan Sabha.

In the mêlée, that follows the hand-to-hand grapple, four women are left seriously injured with broken legs and hands. The fierce and spirited resistance that they and the CPI(M) workers put up again prevented the goons from using the firearms at close quarters – the outsiders are after all heavily outnumbered – and made the goons run away. The injured women are Rashida Biwi, Mansura Biwi, Mahfuja Biwi, and Sahena Biwi.

Will the Trinamul Congress – maybe sans the Maoists this time -- be able to again start the mayhem that Nandigram and its surrounds had to suffer from for a year during 2007? The answer is an emphatic no if one looks closely enough at the glittering eyes of the injured women who suffer the pain silently and are ready for any eventualities to prevent any form of repetition of that dark episode of fear, displacement, mayhem, arson, rape, and murder. Are the local Trinamul Congress goons listening in?