Thursday, January 31, 2008

Reading the Nandigram massacre

Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Reading the Nandigram massacre

The Nandigram crisis in India’s West Bengal state highlights many of the absurdities of today’s world economy and the continuing divide between Stalinists and the new left.

The residents of Nandigram, a village in the south, forced the state police out of their village lest it be sold-off to the Suharto family-owned chemical giant Salim, with subsequent dislocation in March 2007.

Later on in October-November 2007, armed goons of the CPM (Communist Party India), the ruling partner in a Left Front government, killed at least eight people and drove thousands of villagers out of their homes, with many raped and robbed.

West Bengal’s Chief Minister Buddahadeb Bhattacharjee tried to pin the trouble on the work of local Maoist guerrillas and the inaction of the state police, blaming the villagers for creating a crisis where none existed by opposing “progress”.

The Transnational Institute though rejects this assertion in an article that also reveals a connivance between the police and the goon squads, as revealed by the report submitted to the Calcutta High Court recently.

There is plenty of context to consider in judging the motives and reasons behind Nandigram - involving food riots, a growing revolt amongst the intelligentsia over human rights issues, a connivance of the part of the CPM with the George Bush-Congress Party nuclear deal, and of course the links between Battacharjee and the corporate world.

For many years large numbers of poverty-stricken Indians have been forced from their homes and given often poorer farming lands. The rise in nationalism and the large vote for the “New India” BJP, are perhaps examples of the desperation of the masses with the imposition of these “investor-friendly” policies. The “New India” is but a reincarnation of the pre-Ghandi India, where money is more important than traditional Indian collectivism and even more money is spent on defence than during the British Raj, only the ruling class these days have a different coloured skin.

Observations by Matthew

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Buddhadeb a fundamentalist should resign: Mahasweta

Buddhadeb a greater fundamentalist: Mahasweta Devi

January 31, 2008 00:26 IST

Eminent writer Mahasweta Devi has accused West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee of being a 'greater fundamentalist' who 'had conspired to throw Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen [Images] out of the state' and demanded his resignation.

"Bhattacharjee has said his Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi [Images] is a fundamentalist, but what is he doing here? He hounded Taslima out of the city to get Muslim votes in the coming Panchayat polls in the state," the Magsaysay award winning writer told a press conference in Kolkata on Wednesday.

"The chief minister is a greater fundamentalist. He hatched a conspiracy to hound her (Taslima) out of the state. He should resign," she charged, demanding that Taslima be allowed to return to Kolkata.

She said she had spoken to Taslima, who is staying at undisclosed destination in Delhi, on Tuesday night.

"She is ill. Proper treatment was not given to her. As a writer, I demand that she be allowed to return to Kolkata," she said flanked by noted Hindi poet Kedar Nath Singh and Bengali poet Joy Goswami.

Virtually accusing Bhattacharjee of organising the violent protests by Muslims on November 21 demanding Taslima's ouster from the metropolis, Mahasweta Devi said the chief minister perhaps thought that all Muslims were fundamentalists, which was not true.

She wanted to know where Taslima was lodged and said writers in Delhi wanted to be by her side. She also asked Booker prize winner writer Arundhati Roy to talk to social activist Medha Patkar on the issue.

"We will take the issue to the international forum," she said, adding the Amnesty International had been informed.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Nandigram killings

Friday, November 30, 2007
India Shining Vs India Burning

Please note that this article - by far- is not the comprehensive exppression/ eruption. I fully understand and acknowledge that this article has certain lacunae. I am not taking this offline due to some readers who insist that some kind of preliminary information is required for them, and this article - however incomplete and unsatisfying it is for me - does that. I wish to state that this project is not complete. I request readers to explore more about the issue inquestion through more readings and analyses - whatever they can find in the media- and do let me know if I need to know something more. I shall be grateful.

- Akanksha Rajput

The Balance Sheet of India Inc looks impressive with the amount of FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) flowing in. India is country that is poised for growth. In the South Asian part of the globe, people look on India remains a visible dot now- Exotic and Entertaining. India sure is going places. But then there are some incidents that exude a threat of leaving permanent scars on the country. The idealism of running a country may transcends to practical realities, and "side effects", but then, these malapropos events offer scenes of human tragedy. One such scar is Nandigram.

Nandigram has shocked people all over the world. There are some people who can opine that it was not surprising, the event was “expected”. A casual shrug, in politics there is always a certain kind of a concession to be made Marxism yielded casualties. Maoism, Capitalism, Communism – all the prime “-isms” yielded casualties. There is always a price to pay, the defenders will be quick to say. Democracy, too measured the price in the quantum of lives- lives of men, women, and children, and I doubt if everyone who was killed had been aware of the price that their blood was paying.

The Nandigram Genocide episode will always be remembered in the annals of not just Indian Politics, but also the Commerce and Legal circles. This one incident is a comprehensive example that caused a major exposé of the entire machinery comprising of law, commerce and industry, and political ideology. It also earned the entire country embarrassment – none of the machinery was in place, and the basic clash of polities and ideologies claimed lives of hundreds of people in a rampage that spanned more than a year. The last time this happened was in Godhra, 2004. The embarrassment was not because of the perception of the United Nations or any other international humanitarian organization. The shame was directed firstly, towards the Centre and the State government for their lack of patriotism. Incidents like these exorcise the horror of vesting votes in the hands of a government that cannot protect its own people, cannot prevent the atrocities caused by its own arms against the people. People don’t count, but power does.

Last week when the news of the imposition of curfew in West Bengal reached the headlines, an entire nation wondered, “What are we fighting for in Nandigram?” This is one question that will continue to hound the parliament in India for a long time to come. The truth is that no one knows what the agenda was behind the inhuman killings. A chalking of the events that led to the staging of the bloodshed can be portrayed. But the reason cannot be found. For, the events that happened, defied reason.

The Base
Nandigram is not a recent happening. The base was set in early 2006, when news spread that India Inc., was looking to acquire some land for setting up industries under the Special Economic Zones (SEZs). Apart from other places like Singur, Nandigram, too, featured in the news for a proposed acquisition by the State Government for industrialization purpose. And here is when the first tug of war happened. India is shining, of course, and notwithstanding that shine, it still is an agricultural economy. May be the shine has not penetrated these rural areas and the villages, wherein farmers continue to chase money lenders, are still exploited, they commit suicide, and if they have the remaining energy they practice agriculture. Or may be the farmers are bored too, and all they want to do is to sell/ lease their lands off and then relocate to a city, and earn actual money. The government cannot make that happen, for, the amount of funds that is granted by the Center under the umbrella of agricultural development is too huge to be sidelined in the name of “development”. So, promises are made by the government about lending money fairly, and the farmers believe them, and keep growing crops and reaping more debts. This is not true of all the farmers, for, India has a large chunk of farmers and even they have their own hierarchy. Some farmers, for example, are very well to do and they can secure their own funds by way of burrowing and lending – like a typical zamindar- and they have their own ancestral lands. Some are overtly attached to their lands and believe in upholding their tradition means and source of income, some do not trust the government or the companies to fetch them a fair deal of price for their lands, or even the promised jobs, and other amenities.

If a certain state government may actually take a step in intervening the proper compliance and performance of a company in acquiring land in a village, and ensuring that the villagers, and farmers get their dues, and also put the state on a fast track economic development, the opposition party in the state would try and cause upheaval – reach the farmers and tell them tales of how the ruling government along with the green buck company is trying to con them. Thanks to the bliss of ignorance, farmers then stage a protest, and the opposition adds more fuel- bloodshed, violence, gang-rapes, etcetera- and asks for the resignation of the representatives of the ruling party. One simple formula. And sadly, it works.

The controversy surrounding Nandigram first saw the light of the day when in the first week of January 2007 a notice was issued by the Haldia Development Authority stating that about 35,000 acres of land was to be acquired in Nandigram for the purpose of setting up a chemical hub SEZ by a certain Indonesia based Salim Group of Companies. A series of ambitious projects were lined up- construction of an Eastern Link Expressway, and a four lane road bridge that would cover the Haldia River. The notification evoked a huge uproar in Nandigram area, in the form of mass protests as the land in question was good for cultivation of a large variety of crops, and it would affect over thousands of people. Whether this was the genuine cry of the farmers or an orchestration of the opposition is not yet known.

The Singur Dispute
Parallel to Nandigram, Singur too, faced a considerable interest in the light of land acquisition by the state government for TATA Motors. TATA intended to set up a factory for the manufacturing of its ground breaking Rupees 1 Lakh car (2500$). The “small car” was slated to be manufactured by 2008. The choice of Singur was made by the company among six sites offered by the state government. TATA Motors made brilliant promises to the farmers and land owners in Singur. The total investment planned is to the tune of Rs 1,000 crore.

Agriculturists claim that the TATA Motors site is the most fertile one in the whole of the Singur. A large chunk of local population depends on agriculture with approximately 15,000 making their livelihood directly from it- the fear of loosing their daily bread and butter seems legitimate. Environmentalists also feared degradation of the land. The project therefore, has garnered controversy in the legal circles, questioning the right of the State government to acquire fertile agricultural land for private enterprises.

The ruling party in the State had advocated an all-acquisition of the area that measures up to 997 acres of multi-crop land. The law – Land Acquisition Act, 1894 - has provisions for state taking over privately held land for public purposes but not for developing private businesses. The illegality of the acquisition has been substantially pursued in the Kolkata High Court. There is an interesting insight into the reaction that the Singur episode has generated. On one hand the chief protestors included the Opposition Party Chief, Ms. Mamata Banerjee, civil rights groups, and environmentalists, and on the other hand, noted Economist Amartya Sen maintained that the factory must be set up. He however, opposed a probable land grabbing scheme of the government that would render illegality to the entire deal.

TATA Motors ceremonially initiated the construction of the plant on 21 January 2007. In an official press release, the Director (Industries) of the West Bengal Government, Mr. M. V. Rao, overseeing the entire project, said although the Government was yet to hand over the land to TATA Motors officially, the company was permitted to start initial phases of construction work. In February 2007, the Kolkata High Court declared the acquisition as prima facie illegal. The High Court ordered the state government to submit correct figures following which an affidavit but was not satisfied with the result. In a fresh affidavit filed later in June 2007, the government admitted to 30% of the land acquired from farmers was without consent. The affidavit was silent on whether the lack of consent was based on insufficiency of the compensation or refusal to sell the land altogether. But the factory is still active. There is no better way to mock the legal machinery of the State.

Nandigram Killings
Since the State Government pulled off Singur despite the vehement opposition from Opposition, and the Court Orders, they perhaps thought Nandigram, too, could be pushed off: the administration moved ahead with the chemical project riding over the protests. It was in March 2007 that the area came under national media scanner, when state government attempted to break the Bhumi Ucched Protirodh [Anti Land Grabbing] Commitee's (BUPC) resistance at Nandigram. About 3,000 policemen along with cadre of the Marxist ruling party were present to carry the government’s orders. However, prior information of the impending action had leaked out to the BUPC who had amassed a crowd of roughly 2,000 villagers at the entry points into Nandigram with women and children forming the front ranks. In the resulting mayhem, at least 14 people were reported dead. However, the count is believed to be more than that.

The violence left the entire country stunned. The state government tried to use the same formula of taming the resistance but this time the plan backfired. The Opposition party, Trinamool Congress maintained that the death toll was more than 50. Naxalites blamed it on the Opposition Party.
Reports said that the bullets that have been recovered out of the victims’ bodies were not used by Police, but by the Underworld. In June 2007, a Parliamentary Committee was set up to fill up the lacunae in the Indian SEZ law scenario. The Committee suggested that the upper limit for acquiring land should not be more than 2,000 hectares if the land is cultivable. But an Empowered Group of Ministers (GoM) fixed the land ceiling at 5,000 hectares. Consequential to the stiff resistance from opposition parties, and the localities, the Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya on 3 September, 2007 announced that the chemical hub will be set up in the tiny island of Nayachar, about 30 kilometers from Haldia. People who were not in West Bengal thought that the violent chapter has been concluded. But unfortunately, there was a new beginning to the reign of terror in Nandigram.

On 7th November, 2007, the Prime Minister of India remembered to express his “concern” over Nandigram. In the same month, the villagers, ruling party supporters who were thrown out of Nandigram by the BUPC returned back to their homes. The BUPC had effectively continued to proclaim Nandigram as a "liberated zone" even after the SEZ was cancelled. This return of the villagers was marred by violence unleashed by the ruling party cadre over the resisting BUPC and the opposition party in Nandigram. Many people sought to perceive it as a "recapture" by the CPI (M) for land acquisition, the same tactic as employed in Singur. Evidence points to the operation being conducted entirely by the party keeping the state administration inactive. The ruling party denied any connection with the fresh violence, but the Chief Minister said that the bloodshed was a payback for the people in Nandigram as they had only destined themselves to this horror, by owing their allegiance to rival parties. He himself said that he made the statement as a party leader, and not as a Chief Minister.*

On November 12, 2007, the National Human Rights Commission has issued a notice to the West Bengal Government directing it to submit a factual report on the conditions prevailing in Nandigram. The Supreme Court of India on 19th November, 2007 dismissed a PIL [Public Interest Litigation] that sought direction to the Centre to take action against the West Bengal government for the Nandigram violence based on the report of Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi. The Supreme Court said that it cannot pass any such direction when the matter has already come under the scanner of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). The PIL was filed by Kedar Chand Yadav. The court also said that it was not inclined to entertain the petition which was based on newspaper reports. It also warned the petitioner that this kind of a court hearing would be an “abuse” of the court. The plea was not allowed by the Bench, which questioned petitioner for filing such type of writ petition. The Bench remained largely indifferent to the submissions of the lawyer referring to the Calcutta High Court's November 16 verdict indicting the West Bengal Government for the March 14 police firing in Nandigram which it said was "wholly unconstitutional and unjustified".

Even as the courts argued about the validation of the plea, Nandigram continued turning crimson. On 22nd November, 2007, a group by the name of All India Minority Forum turned violent in Kolkata. The police had to use batons and teargas to disperse the activists, who were protesting against the controversial Bangladeshi Author Taslima Nasreen. It was a classic case of opportunistic politics. This small group demanded that the author be asked to be thrown out of Kolkata thanks to her anti Islamic stand points. There was no direct thread of connectivity to Nandigram violence and Taslima’s stay, but the widespread unrest in the state fuelled by land acquisition issues made the situation so worse that the state government asked for the Army to be called in to restore peace in Kolkata. Taslima, meanwhile, was asked to leave Kolkata despite the intellectuals and theater personalities opposing the government’s move. A curfew was imposed, and the Army was successful in restoring normalcy in the city and the state. The issue of Nandigram is expected to rock the Parliament’s Winter Session.

On 26th November, 2007, the Calcutta (Kolkata) High Court decided to take up the hearing of a PIL seeking CBI probe into the violence in Nandigram on December 3. The court had on 16th November, 2007 directed that the CBI hold an inquiry into the March 14 police and asked the agency to submit a report within a month. Apart from that, CBI is also asked to submit an inquiry into the alleged rape, murder and large scale arson by the CPI-M cadres during the November violence in Nandigram. Compensation for the victims is also on the cards.

The turn of events is hallmark of a barbaric civilization- a blasphemy in itself. People always said and believed that political ideologies engaged some kind of a casualty. The casualty that people understood at that time was in terms of flesh and blood – of volunteers like the Extremists, and many a times, of the innocent victims. This kind of casualty is still sustainable. But what about a scar on a nation’s integrity, on the impact of the bloodshed on people who think that India is finally emerging out of the shell, with a promise of a Developing Economy? It is true that no country is perfect, but what about a country which is ruled by politicians and not leaders? What kind of destiny can that country expect whose politicians are more concerned about grabbing power and establishing their ideology rather than seeing the country move forward? Rather than monitoring the proposed deal with private companies and being a watch dog for the performance of the commitment promised by the private companies to the farmers, the government is involved in illegal land snatching, and the opposition is busy ploughing back opportunities. The blame game lives on. The courts sit tight. The parliament can debate. The ministries can pass the buck. People can continue being killed in the name of ideologies and resistance and allegiance to some -ism. Media can continue ignoring an issue till the time the rising death toll becomes alarming enough to garner highest TRPs and viewer-ship. And a nation’s pride can go for a sojourn.

It is hard to believe that India is shining. Well, for the recent incidents - it is burning.


Posted by Ray

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Centre must take action against fascist CPM and communist tomfoolery

February 03, 2008
The Moving Finger Writes

Centre must take action against CPM
By M.V. Kamath

The CPM has been and continues to be wedded to violence and anti-national behaviour. During the 1942 Quit India movement, it sided with the British. In 1962 when China invaded India, the CPM sided with China and betrayed Indian interests. The CPM is a party of traitors.

Here’s a question to Sonia Gandhi, Dr Manmohan Singh and Shivraj Patil: What on earth is happening in West Bengal? Is the government there not responsible to the Centre? Can the CPM-led Leftist government allow an independent—and armed—party cadre to enforce its aims on the people? Is that legal? Do our UPA (Congress) leaders understand the implications of such behaviour? The people of Nandigram protest against the State when it sets out to confiscate their land for the purpose of setting up a Special Economic Zone(SEZ). The land is their only source of income. Understandably they offer resistance to the government move.

The views of the people should have been respected. Instead cadres of the CPM—their appropriate designation would be ‘goondas’—over 300-strong, with the open connivance of the police go all out to suppress the democratic rights of the Nandigram residents. Such a thing has never happened before. As D.Bandopadhyaya, a former Executive Director of the Asian Development Bank has noted “thirty years of One-Party rule has resulted in the total subversion of impartiality of the bureaucracy and the police”. As Nitin Raut, an eminent lawyer, writing in Freedom First (November 2007) said, and quite rightly, “the CPM and its Left allies knew that its unconstitutional politburo dictate can be enforced brutally with impunity and without any fear of action by the Central Government”. Scores of villagers were killed by CPM goons to the point that the Governor of West Bengal, Gopalkrishna Gandhi, felt compelled to raise his voice of dissent.

But the UPA remains unmoved. The excuse is that law and order is constitutionally under the state government and the Centre cannot intervene. It is time the Constitution is revised. But the truth is that the Congress-led UPA government is scared that it will be thrown out of power if the CPM withdraws its support. This is the height of abject cowardice and the nation as a whole must protest against the UPA’s silence. To say that law and order is a state subject beyond the pale of the Union Government does not permit a state government to have an alternate and illegal armed force to enforce its dictat. If this is not understood, the time may come when in other states parties may raise their own armies to enforce their will, whether they are in power or not. This is inviting chaos and division of the country. This is not permissible.

The Central Government may be silent but the media—at least the intellectuals among the media—seems to have woken up to the situation. Writing in Mainstream(November 30, 2007) Neerja Chowdhury noted that in Nandigram “the CPM cadres led armed goons to recapture villages, kill innocent people, burn their houses and gang rape women”. The Government had withdrawn the police from the area on October 27 and by the time the CRPF arrived, the clean-up operation had been completed. The state colluded with the gangsters to teach “the other side” a lesson. The Chief Minister, Buddhadev Bhattacharya even openly defended the violence of the goons as ‘morally legal and justified”. Again, the excuse was that Maoists had taken Nandigram and it had become necessary to expel them.

It is open to question why the CRPF was not summoned earlier to do the job. Should it have been allotted to Marxist goons? If this action goes unchallenged, the consequences could be frightening. In the first place Maoism was originally a creation of the CPM itself. Let it be clearly understood: the CPM has been and continues to be wedded to violence and anti-national behaviour. During the 1942 Quit India movement, it sided with the British. In 1962 when China invaded India, the CPM sided with China and betrayed Indian interests. The CPM is a party of traitors. It was D.T. Ranadive who introduced violence in Telangana and it is the CPM which used terrorism to cow down landlords in West Bengal. Who, one might well ask, were the Naxalites? The Centre has to take action against the CPM and against the Basus and Karats. Being in power in West Bengal does not give its violence, administrative legitimacy. If the Centre remains quiescent, it would set up a bad precedent, with what consequences in the future, it is hard to predict.

Every political party might feel free to set up an independent army of its own—with the CPM cadres as model. If Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh do not understand this simple fact, they understand nothing. What has been sickening to watch is the absolute collapse of the constitutional machinery—and the deafening silence in Delhi. The government has not said a word to condemn the CPM-led brutality against innocent people. Stalin killed millions of agriculturists in the thirties; Nandigram is a repeat performance. Not a single Congress leader has dared to visit Nandigram as if it is not the UPA’s business to see that constitutional proprieties are honoured. It is pure and simple cowardice. If a state government takes recourse to non-governmental forces to maintain ‘law and order’ and is not condemned, it may prove to be the beginning of the collapse of the nation as a whole. This should be made into an election issue. The matter is too serious to be ignored. We cannot afford to have a chalet hai government at the Centre.

What happened in Nandigram can happen in other states as well, especially in states like Bihar, Orissa and Jharkhand. Private armes will inevitably come into existence and the nation will slip into the pre-1857 era with the country breaking into pieces. The time to take action is now. And the BJP must make this into a major election issue just as Bofors once become a major issue leading to the collapse of the Congress. A collapse of a party is not of any major importance. The collapse of the country is, a matter that must be sharply brought to the attention of Sonia Gandhi and company. With a non-politician and inoffensive bureaucrat as Prime Minister, the nation can expect nothing. And that is a major trady in itself.

The CPM follows a fossilised ideology, fascist in every way (see Mainstream, December 22, 2007) which is leading India to disaster. The party has to be banned as inimical to the interests of the nation. If that is not done, the Congress must be shown the door without the slightest hesitation. The only thing relevant is the unity and empowerment of the nation, not of its constituent elements anywhere whether in West Bengal or Kerala. What that means is that the significance of Nandigram must be brought to the full attention of the voter so that a party, or even a coalition of respectable parties is restored to power, as once the NDA was, which will put the CPM in its place, which is the dustbin of history. The nation had enough of socialist and communist tomfoolery.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Kalboishekhi in Poush: aftermath of Nandigram

Saturday, 26 January, 2008
Kalboishekhi in Poush: The Aftermath of Nandigram

By Garga Chatterjee, Sanhati.

The events in Nandigram have possibly changed the trajectory of contemporary political discourse for good. West Bengal’s “leftist” government started a policy of forcibly acquiring land from peasants, dependents on soil and other communities that live off the soil. Incident after incident followed where discontented locals spontaneously organized, into Krishi Jami Raksha Committee, Bhumi Uchhed Protirodh Committee, Uchhed Birodhi Committee, and more.

They were posing a direct challenge to the logic of “development” that West Bengal’s CPI(M) [Communist Party of India (Marxist)] government was trying to push. And what a push it was — urban centers were soon filled up with huge banners trumpeting the governing party’s rhetoric — “Krishi amader bhitti, shilpo amader bhobishyot” (Agriculture is our foundation, industrialisation our future). It lined up sections of the media crying hoarse for development, with the upwardly mobile urban classes joining in. It’s not an accident that those who never bear the brunt of displacement and loss of livelihood due to “development” schemes are the shrillest supporters of it.

The first wave of mutiny

Just when all this was looking inevitable, mutinies started — in Mahishadal, in Singur, in Haripur, in… Nandigram. What we witnessed is something rare in South Asian politics: A decentralized and uncoordinated people’s movement, fighting for fundamental rights like life and livelihood, pushed the government’s offensive to the backfoot, made the opposition pick up its slogans, split the intelligentsia and in fact served as an example that other such movements sought to emulate. All this in a year: perhaps the strength of most political status-quos in the world is overrated.

Nandigram, an erstwhile center of Tebhaga and Quit-India movement, shot to the headlines. Threatened by the CPI(M) government’s initiative for acquiring lands for a chemical hub for the infamous Salim group (an ally of the brutal General Suharto of Indonesia), the largely left-wing area, mostly CPI(M) supporters rose up in open rebellion against the party’s Stalinist diktat, for their land and livelihood, and indeed for their identity as humans — not displaceable, expendable numbers in a macabre play called Development.

Government agents massacred at least 14 people in Nandigram on March 14th, 2007. There were rapes and house burnings. But the locals were resilient. After being hooted out and brutalized they marched back to their homes and dug in. A long war of attrition started with the government-backed party encircling Nandigram for more than six months, hurling bombs, killing activists. Though thoroughly outgunned, the locals continued to resist.

Threat of a rainbow

Opportunist fly-by-night parties like the Trinamool Congress by now had lent their support to the BUPC. Other left-wing outfits joined, as did Jamiat-e-Ullemah-e-Hind. It was a rainbow coalition of sorts, the bulk being formed by former CPI(M) supporters.

CPI(M), one of the most ruthless perpetrators of extra-state violence, was facing a huge challenge. If this rainbow coalition could successfully resist corporate and state-backed hoodlums of the CPI(M) at Nandigram, the party apparatchik feared a “domino effect” — many areas would want to get out of its stranglehold of fear, and its plans of evicting people and communities for “greater common good” by making private factories could be derailed.

What happened after that is party-sponsored violence of a type that only few armed groups can undertake. There had been talk of reconciliation started by veteran Forward Bloc leader Ashok Ghose only to be torpedoed by the CPI(M). And when the idea of putting central forces was floated (the state armed police being thoroughly discredited by the massacre it had committed and assisted in), the CPI(M) knew that it was time to finish off the resistance for time was running out. CPI(M) goons massacred common folk, raped, shot at peaceful gatherings, stopped the Central Paramilitary forces from entering, and closed off the whole area to the media and the outside world. Nandigram was converted to a ghost-area.

The bloodied hands of CPI(M)

Top CPI(M) leaders like Brinda Karat egged on cadres to give the opposition “Dumdum dawai.” After the killings ended, CPI(M) Chief Minister stated that the resistance in Nandigram “has been paid back in their own coin.” Incidentally, he is also the home minister which makes him responsible for police forces and law and order. On being asked pointed questions in Kolkata by the media, he commented that it is only because of his government that a certain media house can still exist - a veiled threat to it to behave itself. Throttling of the media was compounded by destroying cameras as well as attacks on activists, including Medha Patkar of Narmada Bachao Andolan fame, noted artist Shaoli Mitra, and singer Suman Chattopadhyay. The leader of the opposition in West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee tried to visit Nandigram - her car was shot at and she was physically prevented from entering.

In the immediate aftermath of this, the Kolkata High Court ruled that the earlier March 14th massacre by police and others was both avoidable and unwarranted. This destroyed all the stories the CPI(M) government had spun about Maoist extremists being behind the incitement of violence.The Maoists are a similarly violent group like the CPI(M) and hence are easily usable as a punching bag in the absence of proof - but the Kolkata high court ruling exposed the government lies.

Enough is enough

The intelligentsia of West Bengal and students, 100,000-strong, came together in a historic rally in Kolkata against the second Nandigram massacre. Somewhere , the pride of Bengalis who prized human rights in their state had been slighted. Somewhere, the citizenry had stopped believing government lies. Intellectuals, writers, painters, actors were on the street, including Mahashweta Debi, Nabarun Bhattacharyya, Aparna Sen, Suman Chattopadhyay, Kousik Sen, Suman Mukhopadhyay, Shubhaprashanna, Bibhash Chakrabarti, Joy Goswami and even Bengali rock bands like Fossils.

Buddhijibis (intellectuals) separated from Buddhojibis (intellectual sycophants of Budhhadeb Mukherjee, the Chief Minister). The citizenry boycotted the Kolkata International Film Festival; the festival had the deserted look of a mourning. But the state came down hard. Students and intellectuals in their peaceful processions were detained by the police. A dark cloud of fear and intimidation was produced all over the state.

The immediate fallout of this was seen in student union elections all over India. In the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University, the student group of the CPI(M) called the SFI, lost all top four positions. All over Bengal, the SFI was routed, at some places for the first time, like Jadavpur University. In Calcutta Medical College, Medical College Democratic Student Association (MCDSA) led the struggle for solidarity with Nandigram. But the stirrings were to be wider.

Even discredited opposition forces like Trinamool Congress regained credibility. Left parties like the Revolutionary Socialist Party and the Forward Bloc , which are part of the government, squarely put the blame on CPI(M)’s murderous politics. RSP had launched scathing attacks against the CPI(M) and the Forward Bloc has decided to fight the coming Panchayat elections against the CPI(M). This points to a possible future re-alignment between left democratic forces in West Bengal. Calls for an alternative left front has been made. In municipality election in Panskura, CPI(M) lost. In Haldia, its votes were slashed. In Balagarh, in the heart of Bengal, in Hooghly district, CPI(M) has started to bleed as by-election results showed.

Displacing development

Nandigram has opened up a whole debate on the premise, scope and cost of development. It has torn off the aura of inevitability of suffering and sacrifice of peasants and other displaced people in the name of development. Also, it has become an example where concerted people’s resistance succeeded in stopping a seemingly invincible bulldozer of the urban industrial vision. Anti-Special Economic Zone movements all over India have started drawing inspiration from Nandigram. Anti-Dow Chemical activists, fighting for the rights of people poisoned by Union Carbide (subsidiary of Dow Chemicals) in Bhopal have shown solidarity. Nandigram has grown beyond is geographical limit to become a symbol of resistance against unethical corporate practices supported by the government.

Right now, the strange peace of a cremation ground hangs over Nandigram. People whose houses have been burned down by CPI(M) are holding up CPI(M) flags in their broken homes and saying “I didn’t see anything.” The cost of inciting such fear in Bengal will be unsustainable, as the British had experienced. The alienation of the intelligentsia from the government is complete. But for the time being, West Bengal’s sad fate is that no opposition party exists that can harness this discontent into a constructive agenda. Still, Nandigram will go down as a watershed event in contemporary South Asia, a source of great inspiration to this part of the world, where civil liberties are under constant assault.

This article was also published in The Progressive Bangladesh

Posted by ushmi

Peoples' Economic Zone (PEZ) for Nandigram

PEZ (Peoples’ Economic Zone)

Here is a good example of the provision of urban facilities in rural areas, in Avasari Khurd village on 1500 acres.

If such initiatives can be replicated in over 6 lakh villages (or, 1 lakh janapadas consisting of about 6 villages per janapada), a veritable revolution can be unleashed to provide for new hope, amenities and new livelihood opportunities for the bed-rock of Bharatiya economy: villagers. Why can't such a PEZ be realized by and for the people of Nandigram?

Namaskaram. Kalyanaraman

A Lesson For Nandigram

In a first, farmers of Avasari village set up their own SEZ, aided by a local visionary

Smruti Koppikar (Outlook, Feb. 4, 2008)

Socialist SEZ

The first SEZ to be set up and run by farmers is unique in many ways:

The venture at Avasari Khurd village, 40 km off Pune, will have 1,500 farmers as its stakeholders

Locals have put up little resistance

A core team of farmers and professionals will manage operations
Villagers will have the first right to developed land should they wish to start an industry unit

The multi-product SEZ is spread over 3,557 acres. The project is expected to come up in three years.

It will have residential complexes and malls. Will house automobile, engineering, IT, biotech and agri units.

Avasari Khurd, a typical nondescript Maharashtrian village, may well rewrite the unhappy script that the SEZ (special economic zone) story has followed so far. Nestled in the plains of Ambegaon, 40 km from Pune, Avasari's farmers have designed an SEZ that will be owned, largely constructed, and managed by themselves. "The Avasari farmer," says 72-year-old Sopanrao Bhor, prime mover of the project, "will play the role of Tata and Ambani but will keep in mind the villagers' interests. You could call it a socialist SEZ."

Bhor, along with a core team of professionals from Avasari working in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai, is in the thick of finalising documents required to register their company, Avasari Khurd Industrial Development Pvt Ltd. The proposed entity will have most of the 1,500 farmers in the village as shareholders. It will promote and manage the 3,557-acre multi-product SEZ that should be ready three years from now. The Maharashtra government has given it the in-principle nod. And things began to move last month after a series of meetings between the core team, government officials and the Union ministry of commerce which has to sanction the SEZ. The state has promised all help. Says chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh: "There's no reason why we shouldn't give it a push."

On paper, the Avasari Khurd SEZ looks like the perfect middle-ground resolution to the angry face-off between agitated farmers, corporates and state governments. The key issue in the SEZ debate has been about millions of farmers across the country having no option but to sell land—their only capital—to promoters, often without adequate compensation. In most cases, the state government has been seen as acting on behalf of the promoters. In the Avasari SEZ project, farmers do not have to give up their right to their land, let alone sell it and move away. There's virtually no displacement, only a relocation of some farms and a few hundred families within the village to allow for a contiguous SEZ.

The government's role will be limited to playing the facilitator and releasing the 40 per cent subsidy it provides for all SEZs. Industry and service sectors will get developed plots on long lease, farmers can continue to live in the village and, in fact, hope to benefit from the SEZ itself. A section of the land is reserved for native villagers with professional expertise and skills to set up shop. "This is not just about locals getting reservations in jobs in other SEZs," says Bhor. "We have enough Avasari people who'll set up industry, cargo terminals, spare-part manufacturing units. They have the first right on the developed land." Adds Bajirao Shinde, deputy sarpanch: "We will all be stakeholders. Everyone here will be a farmer-industrialist."

Avasari has a total land outlay of 6,252 acres, of which 40 per cent is under cultivation and living/grazing area.

The rest, largely vacant, would have tempted any SEZ developer. Instead of living in anxiety about an outsider buying their land, Bhor asked villagers if they could re-use it to set up an SEZ of their own. Of the 18,000 villagers, only a fraction still believes the SEZ is not a great idea; the large majority fully supports it.

Initially, Bhor and his team faced opposition to the idea. But the comprehensive nature of the plan and Bhor's impeccable track record as a farmer, an industrialist—he owns Bhor Rubber Products—and a politician eventually convinced the villagers. An associate of socialist leaders Jayaprakash Narayan and S.M.

Joshi, Bhor has been affiliated to the Congress for decades. As his SEZ idea led to a political divide in the village, Bhor worked around it and told villagers that if they wouldn't join, he and his siblings would create an IT-based SEZ on the 15 acres they own. In June last year, the Avasari

Khurd gram sabha gave the consent and the gram panchayat adopted a resolution to set up the SEZ. It had to be annulled last week because the law does not allow a gram panchayat to undertake such activities. Then, the process of launching and registering a company began. Bhor had valued the land last April at Rs 1.25 lakh per acre. Within months, as the SEZ plan took shape and promoters began to show interest, prices shot up to Rs 9 lakh an acre. The plan now: land will be valued at Rs 25 lakh an acre, the Avasari Khurd Industrial Development Pvt Ltd will take over the land, farmers will be issued share certificates according to the acreage they hand over to the company which will then develop it, and the 150-odd landless villagers will be given shares for a nominal cash capital. Post-development, the land price is expected to touch Rs 2 crore an acre.

"There is clear profit in setting up an SEZ, that's why the biggest industrialists are doing it. Why shouldn't farmers take the profit themselves?" asks Bhor. The total outlay of the project is Rs 18,000 crore, a sum that many farmers don't even comprehend. But Bhor and his team have a plan in place. If you factor in the land, the company assets will be in the region of Rs 1,000 crore. "With this, we can easily raise bank loans for initial development, then lease out parts of the SEZ and raise more money. There's government subsidy as well," says Bhor.

Of the 3,557 acres, about a thousand will be set aside for residential complexes, roads, markets/malls, gardens and so on. About 2,500 acres will have automobile, engineering, electronic and IT, pharmaceutical, chemical, biotech, horticulture and agro-based units, as well as warehouses and transport hubs. The detailed layout has been readied.

"The Avasari Khurd proposal looks promising, we await the papers," a Union commerce ministry official told Outlook. Economists from the Pune University believe this is a pathbreaking concept that could impact the very concept of SEZs in the country. Already, enthused by the Avasari progress, villagers of Navale, also near Pune, have decided to set up a meat export SEZ. Villagers of Akrole in Nashik district are looking to replicate Avasari for an export-oriented wine SEZ. "My understanding is that India is already yoked to the world economy. Indian and foreign companies have swallowed the small-scale sector, and SEZs threaten farmers," says Bhor. "It follows that farmers stand to gain if they become real stakeholders and shareholders in SEZs. Ultimately, as a farmer, I don't want to give up ancestral land but I can put it to modern, perhaps more beneficial, use." A contagion all would welcome.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

FB ashamed of exponents of capitalism: Buddha, Jyoti

FB rues Buddha, Jyoti metamorphosis

KOLKATA, Jan. 22: The Forward Bloc finds Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee's advocacy of capitalism “shameful” and his “metamorphosis” into an exponent of capitalism “something that defies understanding”.

The Left Front junior partner doesn't approve of Mr Jyoti Basu's vindication of the chief minister's stand that capitalism alone can make the state's industrialisation feasible. A special issue of its mouthpiece Lokmat brought out to mark Netaji's birth anniversary tomorrow said the Left Front has been in power for 30 years not to facilitate the sale of the Rs 1-lakh car but to propagate an ideology. Nearly 30 per cent of the people don't get two square meals a day, while the people in the rural areas don't dream of buying the small car, it stated.

“Once the ideology is diluted, elimination of socialism without bloodshed becomes possible as was the case in the erstwhile USSR. This is the USA's new policy. So, it becoming difficult to recognise Jyotibabu and Buddhababu, the Forward Bloc publication said. “We feel ashamed when the chief minister wonders whether we should ask investors to wait till we usher in socialism,” the Forward Bloc party organ stated, adding that ideology was more powerful than the barrel of the gun as it could mobilise millions of people and inspire them to face the gun.SNS

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Finding a discarded statue of Marx and kissing it

Finding a discarded statue of Marx and kissing it
21 Jan. 2008 When the Left gets it wrong by Derek Wall

We all the know the story. A government sets up a blandly named ‘Export Processing Zone’ within it trade union rights and other forms of worker protection are suspended. Workers often young women are paid a few cents an hour for trainers or clothes that retail for big dollars. Multinationals are tempted in by near zero labour costs and jobs sucked out from countries and regions that treat workers like human beings instead of little more than slaves.

Along with appalling working conditions and high levels of pollution, come land seizures, the world over peasants are turfed off their plots in corrupt land deals and pushed into destitution.

It makes you want, in a world where capitalism rules, to find a discarded statue of Karl Marx and kiss it. However in West Bengal the ruling Marxists in a post-Maoist guise, are selling out the peasants and welcoming in the multinationals. When the left act just like the right, the political choice becomes seemingly impossible. In Nandigram in West Bengal, the Communist Party(M), originally a pro Mao splinter, which has been in power for decades, has seized land from peasants to make way for an Indonesian chemical works. The peasants have resisted and have been attacked and even killed by ruling party militants.

‘This month, communist party cadres broke that resistance by forcing their way in and shooting at villagers, locals said. Opposition parties said innocent villagers who fought communist cadres had been killed and their bodies carried away.
This week in a further embarrassment for the communists, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee admitted that Nandigram had been a “political and administrative failure.”

Leftist intellectuals like Noam Chomsky and Tariq Ali have supported the government, claiming that it is wrong given the dominance of Bush to divide a socialist party that oppose the Iraq War. Even the West Bengal feminists are divided despite allegations of rape at Nandigram, part of the process of softening up the peasants to push down protest.
It doesn’t stop with the violence at Nandigram. The Indian peoples car the Nano Tata, which have heard so much about, is also built in a factory in West Bengal, guess what local peasants say their land has been taken illegally to build it. So if you have been intrigued to see Indian protesters burning effigies of the Nano, you now know that they are not local members of West Bengal Greenpeace. The Times of India report that protesters in New Delhi had t-shirt with the slogan “The ($2,500) car has Singur people’s blood on it.”

When the left gets if wrong, it is vital that those of us on the left make our voices heard, politics involves difficult choices and the temptation is to remain silent in a world where the left is weak globally. But not to speak out is simply wrong, I support the peasants whose land has been seized and have even died for speaking out.

Monday, January 21, 2008

But for communists, India would have been a superpower

But for Communists India would have been a superpower
Dinanath Mishra (Pioneer, jJn. 21, 2008)

Had there been no Communist party in India, the country may have been a developed country, though not like France, Britain or the US but quite close.

The Communists are fundamentalists like Islamic jihadis in the economic sense of the word. By propaganda they create illusory truth, utopian reality and manufactured consent, thereby bringing a state of apathy in general public. Even Jawaharlal Nehru was carried away by their ideology, and adopted a part of it.

The slogan 'socialism' halted constructive thinking for 45 years. The Marxist variety of scientific socialism destroyed the natural course of economic development of the country for 50 years and of West Bengal for 30 years. Seventy to 80 per cent of the Communist movement history published by the CPM is either in praise of scientific socialism or against capitalism.

One can hardly forget that they destroyed the fourth industrially developed State resulting in migration of industries to other States. Obviously, they destroyed employment opportunities for Bengalis who went searching for jobs wherever these were available.

Up to the late 80s and even now, the slogan-shouting comrades ranting Tata-Birla murdabad while conducting gate meetings of factory employees and abusing owner and managers of the factories, was a regular feature. They instigate employees for work to rule, where work to rule was not prevalent. A friend of mine posted in West Bengal, often complained that the blue collar Bengali hardly ever do their duties and leave work incomplete which has to be done by managers. When the edifice of socialism crumbled and reforms came into being, generally our economy improved, more so during the BJP led NDA regime.

In West Bengal, two of its stalwarts have started praising capitalism in superlative terms. Recently, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said, "Socialism is not possible now. You want capital both from foreign and domestic. After all, we are working in the capitalist system. Socialism is our political agenda and was mentioned in our party documents. But capitalism would continue to be compulsion for the future."

Basu's comments in praise of capitalism are even more surprising. "We welcomed private capital for industrialisation. Socialism is a far cry. It will continue to be compulsion for future. We have learnt from the failure of socialism, we have learnt from the miracle of China. The same Basus and Bhattacharjees have used the word 'miracle of Soviet Union' in the past. Miracle of China, too, is a mixed bag. Western China suffers from abject poverty. Only the eastern coast can be described as a miracle, that, too with the help of Chinese from abroad and the US.

Hardcore fundamentalist Communist leadership of India has apparently become permissive capitalist. If only they could have woken up half a century earlier. But the Communist rhetoric had a tendency to live in the past. Take for example their negative attitude to disinvestments. It is a well known fact that if best public sector companies are allowed to disinvest without loosing control over the company, they could have gathered Rs 8 lakh crore, enough to take care of all infrastructure requirements, lack of which has a decelerative impact on our economy today. They want India to follow the same old confusing path. But for West Bengal, they are ready to welcome total capitalism leaving Marx behind. Not that this wisdom was not available to the first generation politicians; Chakravorty Rajgopalachari, Minoo Masani, Piloo Mody were ardent pleaders for doing away with quota, permit and licence-raj and confused concept of mixed economy.

The ideological dilemma of CPM and the Left is far more deep rooted than what meets the eye. In West Bengal the Forward Bloc and RSP have raised some fundamental questions towards the changed altitude of CPM stalwarts. Kerala Chief Minister VS Achyutanandan has diagonally opposed views on these issues openly. It is also a well known fact that the CITU continues to stick to ideological dogma as they are violently opposed to the red-carpet welcome to Tatas and other Indian companies.

The inhumanity has been perpetuated by party leaders in Nandigram and Singur with the help Government constabulary. Still the whole truth is yet to come out. Every now and then corpses are unearthered. There is no count as to how many persons lost their lives to this barbarism. Only an year back Bhattacharjee was at the peak of popularity. Today is he at the bottom. Notwithstanding continuous propaganda engineered against Narendra Modi the number of journalists from West Bengal praised the multifarious development of one term of Modi Government and hinted at its comparison to six-term rule of Communist Government in West Bengal.

Karat and team of outdated intellectuals of CPM

Karat and team of outdated intellectuals of CPM

The BJP strongly condemns the draft political document released by the CPM at its 19 th party congress yesterday. The entire document smacks of political arrogance at its worst despite the fact that the Left Front parties have been conclusively pushed to the margins of the country, and their political relevance is confined only to West Bengal , Kerala and Tripura. It was indeed astonishing that the CPM has the audacity to call the BJP as its enemy number one, failing to realise that the BJP is today one of the two principal political fronts of the world’s largest and truly functioning democracy, and is in power in six states on its own and in another three states in coalition. The BJP totally refutes this entire concept of terming political opponents as enemies and would like to remind Mr Karat and his bandwagon of “leftovers” that this mindset is patently anti-democratic, irrelevant and undesirable in the interests of healthy democratic traditions.
It is indeed worth pointing out that since independence, even the political forefathers of Mr Karat have indulged in this sort of verbal assault against the nationalist and democratic forces of the country. At various points of time, the Left Front leadership has used similar autocratic and stalinist expressions against the Congress party and also described Loknayak Jai Prakash Narain in the 1970s as a rank fascist. Infact, for 45 years, the Left Front leadership did not even spare the legendary Subhash Chandra Bose from their verbal assaults. But the inbuilt democratic genes of India ’s masses always conclusively rejected such despicable and anti-democratic abuses during elections. Yet the Left Front leadership has remained rooted in the past and failed to evolve in sync with the will of the people. This explains the reality of their total marginalization in Indian politics where the Left Front cannot ever emerge beyond the confines of three states and where their total vote share at the national scene is nowhere close to double digits.
Over the last six decades since independence, Indian politics has increasingly become bi-polar, a reality the CPM and Left Front parties have failed to either note or appreciate. The BJP and the Congress are today the two divergent poles of Indian politics. The chimera of the so called Third Front is solely to frustrate the growth of the BJP and prevent it from coming to power. This ill-conceived political gameplan is destined to fail.
The people of India deserve better than an attempt to subvert the will of the masses through the formation of a Third Front. A hoisted political enterprise conceived in haste to subvert the true will of the people will never succeed. History has numerous lessons to teach. Neither the Gujral nor Deve Gowda Third Front experiments at the centre could ever last or provide a viable political alternative to the country. The only difference between then and now, is at that point the grand old man of antiquated political thought, Mr Harkishan Singh Surjeet, was the force behind these disastrous political experiments, and today it is Mr Prakash Karat and his team of outdated intellectuals. However, the people of India will never let their collective will be subverted by backroom political machinations of rootless outdated and so called political thinkers. Ultimately, post the era of third front politics, the people elected Shri Atal Bihari Vajpyee to lead a magnificent coalition of stability that laid the foundations of a resurgent India in its six years tenure.
The BJP feels that the lust to share the trappings of power without due responsibility or accountability exposes the rank duplicity of the Left Front’s mindset and their true commitment towards the country. After enjoying power without responsibility for four years, now that elections are approaching, the Left Front is once again openly propagating the idea of a Third Front without even having the political integrity of first withdrawing support from the UPA government. Is this political duplicity the benchmark of their so called high standards of integrity?
Moreover, alongwith the Congress Party, the Left Front is the principal factor behind this patent and rank anti-people government that goes in the name of the UPA and wears the facade of an Aam Aadmi’s dispensation. In addition to the Congress Party, how can the Left Front ever walk away from their own responsibility for supporting a government that they themselves concede is a total failure? The BJP considers this attitude of shirking responsibility as political hypocrisy and deceit at its worst.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Nandigram: Lull before another storm? Photo-feature on Nandigram Nandigram timeline Nandigram complete coverage (From 20 March 2007 to 20 Jan. 2008)

Nandigram — Lull before another storm?

Sunday, 20 January , 2008, 15:57

Nandigram (West Bengal): Blood-red banners naming "martyrs" and proclaiming "shame on Buddha", walls painted with war cries, trees tied with black and red flags, burnt houses and a broken pathway lead to Nandigram, an ordinary village that turned into an unlikely battleground between communists and local residents protecting their land and livelihood.

Almost three kilometres before entering the main Nandigram area, which lies about 170 km from State capital Kolkata, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers flank both sides of the road, which then meanders through a busy market that sells everything from shoes to shampoos.

Even though things appear to be in an absolute state of peace, it is hard to get over the eerie feeling that engulfs anyone who crosses over into the vast tracts of land dotted with camouflaged graves.

"People think the guns have fallen silent here, everything looks normal, people going to work, a busy marketplace opening and shutting every day — but all this is apparent," said a visibly shaken 70-year-old Narmada Sheeth, who runs a small tea stall in the market.

"This is the kind of silence that is followed by a storm. People here know that they can be killed, shot, harassed, women molested anytime, yet we are not ready to give up the land," said Sheeth.

She is one of the elderly members of the Bhumi Uchched Pratirodh Committee (BUPC), a group of protestors who are against the acquisition of land here for a proposed special economic zone (SEZ) and chemical hub in eastern India, told IANS.

While narrating the incidents that occurred last year when the CPM allegedly wanted to "recapture the land", Sheeth suddenly stands up and starts beating her chest, wailing the names of those who have died and shouting, "Buddhadeb is a killer! Kill us! Come kill us! Kill me! But we will not give you an inch of our land!"

There are thousands like Sheeth all across Nandigram who put the blame it on the CPM government in West Bengal and its Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee while denying the involvement of any Maoist element in the protests.

"I don't know who did what? But what I know and what the BUPC members tell me is that this was by the 'harmat bahini' (as locals call the CPM cadres)," said a sobbing Rinku Mondol, 24, who is a mother of three and the widow of slain Bharat Mondol.

Bharat Mondol, a BUPC supporter and resident of Sonachura in Nandigram, was shot January 7, 2008. His younger brother Pushpendu Mondol was also shot in March but the family has got a compensation of Rs.500,000 from the government only for the latter.

"The government has given us compensation only for Pushpendu and not for Bharat. In any case, I don't want money, I want my family to earn benefits from the land," said their father Pulin Behari Mondol, a farmer and weaver by profession.

Nandigram, a constellation of villages in West Bengal's east Midnapore district, first saw unrest in January 2007 when the residents protested against selling their land for the chemical hub, which resulted in a massive eruption of violence in the region.

Lives were lost, mostly in the months of January, March and October 2007.

Even though the situation has been slightly better ever since the deployment of the CRPF, Nandigram continues to simmer. The villagers fear every moment that troop withdrawal may again lead to severe unrest.

"And this time it's going to be worse. This time we will also not keep quiet," Amirun, a young BUPC supporter, said standing near a citadel like area, which is now regarded as 'Shahid Mor', a cross-section that has been dedicated to the slain villagers.

The BUPC wants the CRPF to stay there till the panchayat elections, which is scheduled to happen in May 2008. The CRPF, which was deployed there on November 12, 2007, is to be stationed there till February 15, 2008.

"The troopers are a gift of god to me. It's because of them that my family can sleep at night, my children can play now. If they go, I will lose everything, I know those people (CPM men) will come and kill us and burn down my house again," said the mother of 11-year-old Bulu Mir who was injured in October 2007.

The bullet hit the child while he was playing with his friends. Even though Bulu survived he is suffering from serious trauma.

According to official figures, the death toll in Nandigram is 35 but as per BUPC's data, it is about 150, including those who are missing.

After major unrest engulfed Nandigram, Chief Minister Bhattacharjee assured people that there would be no chemical hub and no forceful acquisition of land.

"Who says there will be no chemical hub here? I don't believe in what the government says. Ask them to give it to us in writing and if that does not happen, our protest will continue," averred BUPC president Sheikh Sufiyan.

The West Bengal government, which is the world's longest serving democratically elected communist rule, and the Indonesian conglomerate, Salem Group had agreed upon establishing a hub in Nandigram on July 31, 2006.

Hundreds of women were raped in Nandigram: Medha Patkar

January 19, 2008
Nandigram : 'Hundreds of women were raped'-- Medha Patkar
Do not use force against people's struggles: Medha Patkar

Thiruvananthapuram (PTI): Governments should not use force against "struggles by ordinary people" like those witnessed in Narmada and Nandigram, environmental activist Medha Patkar on Friday said.

Speaking after receiving the first Cyril Mar Baselios Award from Kerala Governor R L Bhatia, she said neither Naxalites nor Maoists were behind the movement in Nandigram.

"It was a movement of tribals and common people who were being deprived of the land which was in their possession for years," she said.

"The government was hunting down people to help monopoly interests in Nandigram. Hundreds of women were raped and several others driven out of their homes," she alleged, adding special economic zones have become centres of exploitation.

Friday, January 18, 2008

CPM red terror captured Nandigram in Nov. 2007

How CPM recaptured Nandigram
12 Nov 2007, 0108 hrs IST,TNN

MIDNAPORE/KOLKATA: The plan to recapture Nandigram was drawn two weeks back in a meeting between two top CPM leaders from East and West Midnapore. An MP from East Midnapore and a state minister from West Midnapore were also present at the meet. The main point of discussion was how to bring back Nandigram, out of bounds for CPM supporters for the last 11 months. Armed men were used from at least three districts — West Midnapore, Bankura and North 24 Parganas — for ‘Operation Nandigram’ to flush out the opposition.

The first attempt to re-enter the villages and oust Bhumi Uchchhed Pratirodh Committee supporters, who had held fort since early 2007, was made on March 14. The operation was conducted mainly by state police and did not bring the desired result. CPM had to go on the backfoot following widespread protests after the March 14 massacre. Since then no CPM leader has been able to set foot in Nandigram.

The party’s East Midnapore district unit was under pressure from its supporters in Nandigram who were forced to flee to Khejuri. Despite the talks of peace and aborted attempts to make the refugees return to the villages in small number, the guns along the Nandigram-Khejuri border were hardly ever silent. Leaders from both the districts had to set aside their differences to sort out the problem. CPM could not afford to let Nandigram remain out of its control till next year’s panchayat polls.

Also, the West Midnapore district unit has the experience of leading such an operation — Keshpur — in 2000. On November 4, local DYFI unit held a meeting at Heria (close to Khejuri) where it pledged to send back its homeless supporters to their villages. Two days before that, the process of withdrawing police from the troubles spot had already started.

Cadres — local criminals mostly involved in dacoity cases — for the operation were drawn from Chandrakona and Garbeta zonal committees. Also, cadres were sent from Narayangarh and Keshiary areas. Another group of around 250 armed CPM supporters and criminals came from the villages of Punishol at Onda and Rajpur, Taldangra in Bankura.

Sources said criminals were given money in advance and given a free-hand to bring whatever they could from the empty homes once the operation is complete. Sources said one such group that has returned to Onda came with motorcycles.
The Bankura group reached Nandigram after travelling by train and then road. The group boarded trains and allegedly got off at Balichak, four stations after Kharagpur, and then headed towards Nandigram via Khejuri in the guise of daily wage earners. They take the same disguise when they go to Bihar and Jharkhand to collect arms, sources said.

Most of these people are suspected to be running arms smuggling rackets. The arms used in the recapture operation are believed to have been supplied from these suppliers.

Another cache of arms came from Purulia where party workers had received arms to combat Maoists. It is also suspected that the arms gone missing after the Purulia arms drop are with CPM supporters and were smuggled to Nandigram.

The coal mafia from Burdwan is also believed to have played a key role in the operation. The money from the mafia is believed to have supplied funds for the operation, helped in procuring ammunition and hire vehicles that carried the armed men to the interior areas as the attack progressed.

CPM Gangster nexus

Kolkata, Telegraph.Issue Date: Monday, March 19, 2007
Stockpile squad trail heads towards party
- Phone records spill Nandigram secret

Squad leader Naru Maity. Picture by Pradip Sanyal

Contai (East Midnapore), March 18: Ten men arrested with arms outside Nandigram have confessed they were on a CPM mission, and their cellphone records show the gang was in touch with key party leaders from East Midnapore while holed up in the brick kiln where the CBI found them yesterday.

The Telegraph got access to a copy of their statements recorded by Khejuri police and submitted in the Contai fast-track court of the judicial magistrate, which today remanded them in police custody till March 22.

“We were brought a few days ago by the leaders of a political party to attack the villagers and occupy areas in Nandigram. The leaders provided us arms and ammunition and arranged for our stay in three rooms inside the brick kiln at Sher Khan Chowk,” said the statement of Manoranjan Maity alias Badal, 38, one of the 10 arrested yesterday.

While the statements do not name the “political party”, the inspector-general of police (western range), Arun Gupta, said: “They have told us they are CPM activists.”

Along with arms and ammunition, CPM flags and helmets of the kind worn by police were seized from the hideout, triggering suspicion that the men had donned uniforms and joined security forces on the day of the firing. Cellphones found on them showed they were in touch with senior CPM leaders, sources said.

A CBI official who was part of the raid team said: “Other than the numbers that we have with us, Naru Maity, the team leader, has also told us that he was in touch with these leaders whose names we cannot reveal for the moment.”

The men, who said they are members of a Red Brigade, were produced in court as police struggled to keep a leash on Trinamul Congress protesters outside. “Shabai ke phansi din (hang the culprits),” the crowd chanted.

“Considering the gravity and enormity of the case and the seizure from them, the accused persons are being remanded in police custody till March 22,” the court said.

The preliminary investigation report the police submitted in court says: “They were preparing for a political fight against opposing political party. The leaders supplied them arms and ammunition.”

Action squads set up by the CPM are popularly known as Red Brigades. During bloody clashes with Trinamul supporters in the late 1990s up to the 2001 Assembly elections, the CPM had set up several such squads to take on the Opposition party.

The arrested men have told police more such gangs had arrived in and around Nandigram before Wednesday’s firing on villagers opposed to land acquisition that killed at least 14. “They will help in identifying political leaders instrumental in bringing them here,” an investigating officer of Khejuri police station said.

Traffic snarl feared today

Traffic in central Calcutta will be hit tomorrow, with the Jamait Ulema-i-Hind planning a march to Writers’ Buildings from opposite Metro cinema at 2 pm.

CPM red terror in Nandigram

Red Terror was significant as the first of numerous Communist terror campaigns which followed in Russia and many other countres. [19]. It also unleashed Russian Civil War according to historian Richard Pipes [16]. Menshevik Julius Martov wrote about Red Terror:

"The beast has licked hot human blood. The man-killing machine is brought into motion... But blood breeds blood... We witness the growth of the bitterness of the civil war, the growing bestiality of men engaged in it." [20].
The term Red Terror came to refer to other campaigns of violence carried out by communist or communist-affiliated groups. Often, such acts were carried out in response to (and/or followed by) similar measures taken by the anti-communist side in the conflict. See White Terror.

Examples of the usage of the term "Red Terrors" include

Red Terror (Hungary) The executions of 590 people accused of involvement in the counterrevolutionary coup against the Hungarian Soviet Republic on June 24, 1919.
Red Terror (Spain) during the Spanish Civil War.
Red Terror (Ethiopia) during Mengistu Haile Mariam's rule.
In China, Mao Zedong wrote: "Red terror ought to be our reply to these counter-revolutionaries. We must, especially in the war zones and in the border areas, deal immediately, swiftly with every kind of counter-revolutionary activity" - Mao [21]
The Nandigram violence in Nandigram, West Bengal in November 2007 was called "Red Terror" by critics of the actions by the local administration alluding at the Communist Party of India ruling in West Bengal.[22] The situation was described as one of "Red Terror" by media.[23]

19.^ Andrew, Christopher; Vasili Mitrokhin (2005). The World Was Going Our Way: The KGB and the Battle for the Third World. Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-00311-7.
20.^ The Black book of Communism, page 736
21.^ Denis Twitchett, John K. Fairbank The Cambridge history of China,ISBN 0521243386 p. 177
22.^ BBC Article
23.^ Red terror continues Nandigram's bylanes.

The Nandigram SEZ controversy started when the government of West Bengal decided that the Salim Group of Indonesia[1][2][3] would set up a chemical hub under the SEZ policy at Nandigram, a rural area in the district of Purba Medinipur. The villagers took over the administration of the area and all the roads to the villages were cut off. A front-page story in the Kolkata newspaper, The Telegraph, on 4 January 2007 was headlined, "False alarm sparks clash". According to the newspaper that village council meeting at which the alleged land seizure was to be announced was actually a meeting to declare Nandigram a "clean village," that is, a village in which all the households had access to toilet facilities. However, later events indicate that the government had infact decided to setup the chemical hub and the villagers' concerns were genuine. The administration was directed to break the Bhumi Uchhed Pratirodh Committee's (BUPC) resistance at Nandigram and a massive operation with at least 3,000 policemen along with cadre of the Marxist ruling party was launched on March 14, 2007. However, prior information of the impending action had leaked out to the BUPC who amassed a crowd of roughly 2,000 villagers at the entry points into Nandigram with women and children forming the front ranks. In the resulting mayhem, at least 14 people were killed.

The Nandigram SEZ controversy started when the government of West Bengal decided that the Salim Group of Indonesia[1][2][3] would set up a chemical hub under the SEZ policy at Nandigram, a rural area in the district of Purba Medinipur. The villagers took over the administration of the area and all the roads to the villages were cut off. A front-page story in the Kolkata newspaper, The Telegraph, on 4 January 2007 was headlined, "False alarm sparks clash". According to the newspaper that village council meeting at which the alleged land seizure was to be announced was actually a meeting to declare Nandigram a "clean village," that is, a village in which all the households had access to toilet facilities. However, later events indicate that the government had infact decided to setup the chemical hub and the villagers' concerns were genuine. The administration was directed to break the Bhumi Uchhed Pratirodh Committee's (BUPC) resistance at Nandigram and a massive operation with at least 3,000 policemen along with cadre of the Marxist ruling party was launched on March 14, 2007. However, prior information of the impending action had leaked out to the BUPC who amassed a crowd of roughly 2,000 villagers at the entry points into Nandigram with women and children forming the front ranks. In the resulting mayhem, at least 14 people were killed.

The Nandigram SEZ controversy started when the government of West Bengal decided that the Salim Group of Indonesia[1][2][3] would set up a chemical hub under the SEZ policy at Nandigram, a rural area in the district of Purba Medinipur. The villagers took over the administration of the area and all the roads to the villages were cut off. A front-page story in the Kolkata newspaper, The Telegraph, on 4 January 2007 was headlined, "False alarm sparks clash". According to the newspaper that village council meeting at which the alleged land seizure was to be announced was actually a meeting to declare Nandigram a "clean village," that is, a village in which all the households had access to toilet facilities. However, later events indicate that the government had infact decided to setup the chemical hub and the villagers' concerns were genuine. The administration was directed to break the Bhumi Uchhed Pratirodh Committee's (BUPC) resistance at Nandigram and a massive operation with at least 3,000 policemen along with cadre of the Marxist ruling party was launched on March 14, 2007. However, prior information of the impending action had leaked out to the BUPC who amassed a crowd of roughly 2,000 villagers at the entry points into Nandigram with women and children forming the front ranks. In the resulting mayhem, at least 14 people were killed.

1 Background
2 The events of March 14 2007
3 Reactions
4 Location shift
5 November 2007 violence
6 External links
7 References
8 See also

The Salim Group was founded by Sudono Salim closely associated with Indonesian ex-president Suharto.

The chemical hub would require the acquisition of over 14,000 acres (57 km²) of land. The special economic zone would be spread over 29 mouzas (villages) of which 27 are in Nandigram.[4]Probodh Panda, a CPI MP from the district has said that most of the land to be acquired is multi crop and would affect over 40,000 people.[5]Expectedly, the prospect of losing land and thereby livelihood raised concerns among the predominantly agricultural populace.[6] The villagers, which included supporters of the party in power, CPI(M), joined hands with other opposition supporters, organized a resistance movement under the banner of the newly formed Bhumi Uchhed Pratirodh Committee or BUPC (literally, Committee for the Resistance to Eviction from Land)[7].

Partners in the ruling Left Front and even sections of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) party including the Minister for Land and Land Reform, have expressed reservations on the project.[8]

In defence of the project, the state government states that it was won by competing with 9 other Indian states[9]. Being in the vicinity of Haldia Petrochemicals & IOC refinery, which, the CPI(M) claimed, had earlier led to 100,000 jobs being created through downstream projects, the party argued that this is the best place to build a hub from the point of view of supply-chain integration.[10]

The Salim Group sought around 35,000 acres (140 km²) of land for a series of ambitious projects.[11] Apart from the special economic zone (which is a 50:50 joint venture with the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation) it has been assigned the construction of the 100 km long 100 m wide Eastern Link Expressway and construction of a four-lane road bridge over the Haldi River, from Haldia to Nandigram, has also been planned. The proposed bridge would provide a link between Haldia and the proposed chemicals SEZ in Nandigram.[12] The Barasat-Raichak expressway and the Raichak-Kukrahati bridge, will connect Haldia to National Highway 34.

The decision to award of the expressway to the Salim group has however courted controversy[13] since the preliminary work for the same, including a feasibility study[14]was contracted out earlier to the renowned JICA[15]. The Agency was kept in the dark about the change in plan until it was announced publicly by the chief minister[16].

The land acquisition notice was put up on January 3, 2007 by the Haldia Development Authority whose chairman is the local CPI(M) MP. Although the chief minister later verbally[17] dissociated himself from the notice, it was never annulled by another government notification. According the the CPI(M) newspaper, People's Democracy, 18 November 2007, the West Bengal chief minister pointed out that the chemical hub was not to be placed in Nandigram, but at a desolate sandhead at the mouth of the River Ganges called Nayachar. The resulting mobilisation against the proposed hub saw violent takeover by villagers opposed to the project and fearful of loss of owned land. Villagers dug up roads, cut off communication cables and declared Nandigram as a liberated zone from government interference, fearful of land acquisition by the government. [18]

[edit] The events of March 14 2007
The administration was directed to break the BUPC's resistance at Nandigram and a massive operation with at least 3,000 policemen was launched on March 14, 2007. A group of armed and trained CPI(M) cadres wore police uniforms and joined the forces[19]. However, prior information of the impending action had leaked out to the BUPC who amassed a crowd of roughly 2,000 villagers at the entry points into Nandigram with women and children forming the front ranks. In the police firing, at least 14 people were killed.[20]

Immediately following the March 14 killings, voluntary teams of doctors visited the Nandigram health centre, the district hospital at Tamluk and later, the SSKM hospital and compiled a comprehensive report[21]

Few journalists were able to access the area, with their access being restricted by 'checkposts' manned by Communist Party of India (Marxist) party cadres[22]; two belonging to a news channel were briefly abducted[23].

The scale of the action left the state stunned. Trinamool Congress estimates put the toll at 50. The PWD Minister of the Government of West Bengal, Mr. Kshiti Goswami of the RSP, a Left Front constituent, said 50 bodies were taken to hospital, but it was impossible to ascertain how many were actually dead.[24] In response to this, people singled out as CPI(M) members and supporters and their families were driven out of the area and ther houses burnt. A week after the March 14 clashes, The Hindu estimated that around 3500 persons had been displaced into relief camps as a result of threats from BUPC.[25]

The CPI(M) has accused the Jami Raksha Committee - a coalition of activists from various parties who oppose land acquisition - of armed attacks on relief camps which led to three deaths as well as a series of murders and a gangrape.[26]

Fresh violence erupted in Nandigram on 29 April caused the West Bengal Human Rights Commission to step in.[27]. A team of intellectuals and theatre personalities from Calcutta was attacked by CPM cadre on their return trip after disbursing relief material collected from the people in various parts of the state.[28]

The deaths in Nandigram have led to a great deal of controversy on the left in India. [29] The federal police say they have recovered many bullets of a type not used by police but in widespread use in the underworld.[30]

[edit] Reactions
Gopal Krishna Gandhi, the present governor of West Bengal and grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, criticised the state government over its handling of the Nandigram incident, speaking of his "cold horror" in a press statement. His statement was taken suo moto cognisance of by the Kolkata High Court following which an enquiry by the CBI has been ordered.[31] However, there have even been accusations of the CBI's failure to ensure a thorough investigation.[32]

Ramsey Clark, the former Attorney General of United States visited Nandigram in November 2007 and expressed his solidarity to the poor peasants of the area who were tortured by the CPI(M).Ramsey Clark, former Attorney General of the United States, described the events in Nandigram as "barbaric and unacceptable". In his statement he compared the CPI(M) led left front government of West Bengal with that of the US administration led by President George Bush [33]. He visited the area along with the leaders of Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI) and called upon all well meaning people to stand up against imperialism in Nandigram and else where [34].

Dr. Ashok Mitra, long time Finance Minister of the Government of West Bengal [and a veteran CPI(M) leader] critised the government and his party stating that till death he will remain guilty to his conscience if he keeps mum on the happenings in Nandigram. He states that the CPI(M) leadership is blind of hubris and the party has turned into a wide open field of flatterers and court jesters dominated by ‘anti-socials’ [35].

An editorial in the The Indian Express said that the party machinery has become the "sword arm of an industrialisation policy that involves settling complicated property rights issues."[36]

Renowned novelist Sunil Gangopadhyay, a friend of the Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya also felt that the industry is necessary but state violence was barbaric. [37] Social activist Medha Patkar had visited Nandigram on 7 December 2006 to protest against land acquisition.[38] Other renowned persons who joined protests against the project and the actions carried out on 14 March 2007 to implement it include Magsaysay and Jnanpeeth Award-winning author Mahasweta Devi, Booker Prize-winner Arundhati Roy, film director and actress Aparna Sen, theatre personalities Shaonli Mitra and Bibhas Chakraborty, painter Suvaprasanna, songwriter and singer Kabir Suman and many others.

The CPI(M) has currently adopted the public position that land acquisition will not be made without the consent of the people of Nandigram. The proposed SEZ has ostensibly been shelved following the March 14 police action.[39] The local, district and State administration have however maintained that the Chemical Hub will take place at Nandigram itself. The PWD Minister of the Government of West Bengal, Mr. Kshiti Goswami has also come out against the CPI (M) stating that the CPI (M) is determined to set up the chemical hub at Nandigram, despite all the protests[40].

The latest drubbing that the Buddhadeb Bhattacharya government's March 14 action received was from the High Court at Kolkata, when, on 16.11.2007, a two judge bench consisting of the The Hon’ble Chief Justice S. S. Nijjar, and the Hon’ble Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose,declared that "The action of the police department to open fire at Nandigram on 14.03.2007 was wholly unconstitutional and cannot be justified under any provision of the law" and further that "The action of the police cannot be protected or justified on the ground of sovereign immunity." and also that "The action of the police cannot be justified even under the provisions of Criminal Procedure Code; The Police Act, 1861 for The Police Regulations, 1943". The Hon'ble judges also ordered that "we direct the State of West Bengal to pay to the victims of the deceased as a result of the indiscriminating police firing on 14th of March, 2007 immediate compensation in the sum of Rs.5 (five) lakhs each" and further that "We further direct the State Government to pay immediate compensation to the persons who were injured and whose particulars have been given the pleadings sum of Rs. not less than 1 (one) lakh each" and also "We further direct the State Government to pay compensation to the victims of rape who have been duly identified in the pleadings a sum of Rs.2 (two) lakhs each".

[edit] Location shift
After the bloodshed at Nandigram, and the stiff resistance from opposition parties such as Trinamool Congress and Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI) and Left Front partners such as RSP and CPI over land acquisition, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on 3 September expressed the government's preference for the sparsely populated island of Nayachar, 30 kilometres from Haldia, to set up the much talked-about chemical hub.[41].

[edit] November 2007 violence
A fresh round of violence came up in November 2007 as the villagers who were thrown out of Nandigram by the BUPC returned back home. The BUPC had effectively continued to maintain Nandigram as a "liberated zone" even after the SEZ was cancelled. The return of the villagers was marred by violence unleashed by the ruling party cadres over the resisting BUPC cadre in Nandigram. The media termed this return as a "recapture" by the CPI(M)[42]. Evidence points to the operation being conducted entirely by the party keeping the state administration inactive. The party eulogized the operation with its state chairman describing it as `a new dawn' and the chief minister as `paying them back in their own coin'[43]. The last comment was directed presumably primarily at the Maoist activists who, the CPI(M) claims, were active at Nandigram. The government has however officially contradicted the claim[44]. The situation was described as one of "Red Terror".[45]. Social activist Medha Patkar in a message to National Human Rights Commission of India said that war like situation prevailed in Nandigram due to presence of thousands of CPM cadres. Police officers were present in the area, but supported their programme to attack Nandigram.[46]

Nationwide protests have resulted from the new offensive[47]. On November 12, 2007, the National Human Rights Commission has issued a notice to the West Bengal Government directing it to submit a factual report on the conditions prevailing in Nandigram.[48] Film director Aparna Sen and Rituporno Ghosh decided to boycot the film festival in Kolkata in protest.[49] Aparna Sen said, "Nandigram has become a slaughter house with blood being shed every day. CPM might be at the helm of affairs but the state still belongs to us."[49]

The Parliament of India decided to discuss Nandigram with urgency, suspending the regular question hour sessions, on 21st November 2007 after two days of complete suspension of the proceedings owing to the heated debates between CPI(M) and opposition party members in both the houses. CPI(M) was alienated in the issue by all the other ruling UPA allies considering the fierce nation wide sentiments against the massacre [50]

External links
Most comprehensive database on "Nandigarm" at Sanhati
"Nandigram" photos, links to videos, reports - a comprehensive archive at Counterviews
Nandigram links, photos, videos and regular updates from Sacred Media Cow
Nandigram Information - facts, details, accounts - updated regularly
Nandigram Documentary by Medical Service Centre
Lessons from Nandigram : What Next
Arundhathi Roy says CM used Taslima to shift focus from Nandigram
Sara Flounders member of the Workers World Party secretariat speaks of her experience after visiting Nandigram

^ For more information on the Salim Group please see Sudono Salim
^ Asia Week
^ Far Easter Economic Review October 1998
^ The Telegraph, 4 January 2007
^ The Telegraph, 4 January 2007
^ The Statesman, 15 November 2006
^ The Statesman, 7 January 2007 Nandigram forms anti-landgrab front
^, August 26 2006
^ The Statesman
^ CPI (M) org
^ One India 16 June 2006
^ The Hindu Business Line, 1 August 2006
^ The Telegraph, 03 August 2006 Double-deal bridge ache
^ JICA For more information on JICA visit the JICA website
^ The Indian Express, 09 September 2006
^ The Hindu January 10, 2007
^ [ The Hindu February 08, 2007]
^ The Telegraph
^ "Red-hand Buddha: 14 killed in Nandigram re-entry bid", The Telegraph, 15 March 2007. Retrieved on 2007-03-15.
^ Medical Team Report from Nandigram with names, locations, and injuries - April 5.
^ The Times of India 15 March 2007 Nandigram: Mediapersons roughed up by CPM activists
^ Tara TV
^ Nandigram turns Blood Red
^ [1]
^ Zee News
^ Sify
^ "Nandigram and the deformations of the Indian left", International Socialism, 2 July 2007.
^ The Statesman
^ The Statesman
^ Ramsey Clark on Nandigram
^ Ramsey Clark's visit to Nandigram
^ Dr. Ashok Mitra (Former Left Front Finance Minister) on Nandigram
^ Indian Express
^ Daily India
^ India 7 December 2006
^ The Statesman
^ WB PWD Minister against CPI(M)
^ | title = Nandigram Chemical hub shifted
^ [2]
^ NDTV November 14, 2007
^ November 13, 2007
^ Red terror continues Nandigram's bylanes.
^ NHRC sends notice to Chief Secretary, West Bengal, on Nandigram incidents: investigation team of the Commission to visit the area.
^ [3]
^ National Human Rights Commission
^ a b CPM cadres kill 3 in Nandigram.
^ | title = Lok Sabha to discuss Nandigram today

Rapist CPM cadres in Nandigram: shame on you.

Rapist CPM cadres: shame on you.

Rapist CPM cadres, shame on you for what you did in Singur and Nandigram. There is no prayasc'ittam for you in this janmam. Go and drown in Gangasagar.

The full report of Amnesty Interntional which follows, should be read by every citizen of the world. Every member of the CPM cadre should introspect and resign their card-holding membership and stop supporting the party. The ruling CPM party should be disbanded. The ruling junta should be thrown out.

This report is a report of shame on the CPM and its goons egged on by the junta who have forfeited their right to rule sonar Bangla. What type of cadres are these that assault women and children? What type of adharma leaders are these?

So long as that raped child weeps, CPM has no reason to exist. A disgusting lot, the ideologically-bereft leadership has betrayed the people of the world, the entire civil society. Intellectuals who have supported the CPM and constituted the vanguard should disown the party and tell the people to throw CPM out of the country, out of Bangla. This will be their prayas'cittam.

Let the leaders of CPM go and get their tutorials in Shanghai or Beijing. Better still, let them do penance on the Himalayas and learn about sanatana dharma.


Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times

Email Author

New Delhi, January 16, 2008

First Published: 01:53 IST(16/1/2008)

Last Updated: 01:58 IST(16/1/2008)

CPM targeted women in Nandigram: Amnesty
Women leading the agitation against land acquisition in Nandigram were singled out and targeted by CPM supporters, a report by the India chapter of the Amnesty International said on Tuesday.

Several women left behind after the men fled were raped, assaulted, threatened and harassed. Many were forced to attend CPM meetings, the report said. While cases of sexual violence against women were registered — in some the victims also named the perpetrators — the suspects are yet to be arrested.

The report also alleged that the violence in November took place against the backdrop of the Bengal government's inaction along with tacit acceptance of the tactics adopted by CPM cadres.

The report titled 'Urgent Need to Address Large Scale Human Rights Abuse During Nandigram "Recapture"' was released on Tuesday. It has been compiled by a four-member Amnesty delegation, which, led by Justice (retired) S.N. Bhargava, visited the villages in Nandigram in the last week of November.

"The women were targeted because they were active in the agitation. All the women who we interviewed categorically told us that they were targeted. In fact, they are still being threatened with violence in the future if they reveal what happened," delegation member, advocate Vrinda Grover said.

The report said: "Also, the delegation was informed by local residents that many women had refused to file police reports as they were still afraid of the consequences and were also unwilling to risk social censure associated with rape."

Grover said an independent judicial enquiry was urgently needed to look into the cases of human rights abuse. "The Central Bureau of Investigation is looking into the violence of March while the state Criminal Investigative Department is looking into the incidents of November. Local residents were decidedly less enthusiastic about the CID probe."

Grover said the judicial enquiry should look into the role of different officials, including senior police officers, in the violence. "They need to come under the scanner. There should be a broad accountability and the findings of the time-bound enquiry should be made public."

India: Urgent Inquiry Needed Into Nandigram Violence
(New York, January 15, 2008) – The West Bengal state government in India should immediately create an independent and impartial inquiry into serious acts of violence in Nandigram since early 2007, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International India said today.

The state government should prosecute those responsible for human rights abuses and examine both the social-political origins of the violence and the failure of state authorities to provide effective protection to the community.

A fact-finding team – comprised of Justice (Retd) S.N. Bhargava, former Chief Justice, High Court of Sikkim; Vrinda Grover, advocate; Meenakshi Ganguly, senior South Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch; and Mukul Sharma, director of Amnesty International India – visited Nandigram and Kolkata from November 28 to 30, 2007. The team travelled to affected villages and relief camps, and met with the victims of the violence in Nandigram, as well as government officials and rights activists.

"It was obvious during our visit to Nandigram that state authorities had not acted in an impartial manner," said Meenakshi Ganguly, senior South Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch. "The political nature of this violence, involving the ruling party of West Bengal, means there must be an independent inquiry to prevent impunity for the perpetrators."

Throughout 2007, tensions over control of land in Nandigram led to a series of violent incidents between supporters of the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and farmers belonging to the Bhumi Ucched Pratirodh Committee (BUPC). Protesting villagers blockaded the Nandigram area to oppose a government plan to acquire land for industry. Instead of responding appropriately to violations of the law by protesters, the authorities appeared to treat the protest as a challenge to the CPI-M and used excessive force against the protesters. BUPC members were also responsible for acts of violence. At least 30 people were killed, hundreds injured, and thousands displaced from their homes.

In November, CPI-M supporters and armed thugs forcibly ended the blockade. In retribution for the protest, they attacked villagers supporting the BUPC, burned down their homes, threatened further violence if villagers went to the authorities, and humiliated them by compelling them to join CPI-M rallies. The state administration removed police posts before CPI-M supporters advanced into the area, strongly suggesting governmental complicity in the abuses.

Villagers in affected areas reported to the fact-finding team that CPI-M supporters frequently subjected women to violent attacks, including rape and beatings, as well as to threats and harassment. There is no evidence that the police have sought to arrest those named in police complaints. Victims, particularly women who risk social censure by reporting rape, remained vulnerable to threats and further attacks from perpetrators who roam free.

"The tragedy of the reported rapes at Nandigram has been compounded by the failure of the police to seriously investigate these cases, keeping the victims at grave risk," said Ganguly.

Based on the team's findings, Amnesty International India has produced a report titled "Urgent need to address large scale human rights abuses during Nandigram 'recapture.'" The report concludes that the inaction of the West Bengal state government, including tacit acceptance of the violent operations of the armed supporters of the CPI-M, resulted in serious human rights abuses, including unlawful killings, abductions, sexual assault of women and forced eviction and displacement of thousands of people in 2007.

It is disturbing that the West Bengal authorities failed to prevent the violence at Nandigram and failed to arrest the perpetrators," said Mukul Sharma, director of Amnesty International India. "Weeks after peace had supposedly been restored, we learned that the perpetrators were still roaming free, celebrating their victory by threatening and beating up local residents."

The impunity enjoyed by those perpetrating abuses in Nandigram since the violence began in early 2007 fueled the widespread abuses committed later in the year. The chief minister of West Bengal, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, contributed to the violence in November by saying that the protesters had been "paid back in the same coin," a comment which he retracted three weeks later, admitting the events were a "political and administrative failure."

Amnesty International India and Human Rights Watch said that access to justice for the victims of the violence went beyond the successful prosecution of those responsible. The West Bengal government has an obligation to protect the rights of all those displaced by ensuring they can safely return to their homes and places of habitual residence and providing restitution for all damage suffered. Women who suffered abuse must receive proper protection and an effective remedy.

"The authorities must show clear political will to end the climate of violence in Nandigram," Sharma said. "For lasting peace, all those responsible for the violence must be prosecuted and the victims must receive redress."
Report Content
AI Index: ASA 20/001/2008

15 January 2008

India : Urgent need to address large scale human rights abuses during Nandigram "recapture"

Amnesty International is concerned at reports that a range of serious human rights abuses, including unlawful killings, abductions, sexual assault of women and forced eviction and displacement of thousands of persons, have been carried out at Nandigram in East Medinipore District in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal. This report focuses on recent abuses, in the context of violence in late October and November 2007, which were reportedly carried out by armed supporters of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), which leads the ruling Left Front coalition in the state.

The organisation is also concerned that these abuses took place in the face of inaction by or acquiescence of the Government of West Bengal which to date has also failed to order an independent inquiry into the November 2007 violence.

1. Background

Throughout 2007, Nandigram has experienced violence as CPI-M supporters and farmers belonging to the Bhumi Uchched Pratirodh Committee (Anti-displacement front, BUPC) clashed with each other in attempting to gain control over parts of the area.

On 28 December 2006, authorities at the neighbouring port town of Haldia circulated a notice announcing plans to set up a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) at Nandigram under the Government of India's Petro-Chemical Petroleum Investment Region(PCPIR) scheme. 1The project, envisaged as a chemical hub, reportedly required at least 4,000 hectares of land for the proposed SEZ, which was to be jointly developed by the state-owned Industrial Development Corporation and the Indonesia-based Salim group of companies. The land is owned by local farmers.

The BUPC had been formed to protest against forced eviction and displacement of local inhabitants, mostly farmers, as a result of this project. It consisted of activists owing allegiance to several political parties including the Trinamool Congress (TMC), Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress(I) and former supporters of the CPI-M.

A range of abuses including unlawful killings, forced evictions, excessive use of force by police, widespread violence against women, as well as failure of the authorities to provide protection to the victims, denial of access and information to the media and human rights organisations, harassment of human rights defenders and the continuing denial of justice to the victims have been reported from Nandigram during the year. The scale of such abuses recently intensified when violence broke out towards the end of October between supporters of the ruling CPI-M, and supporters of the BUPC.

In January and March 2007, at least 25 people, mostly local residents, were killed and more than 100 injured and at least 20 women sexually assaulted by armed supporters of the ruling CPI-M, after 1,500 people, mostly CPI-M supporters, were forcibly displaced from their homes as the BUPC set up barricades to prevent access to some of the disputed land. On 14 March, 14 people were reportedly shot dead by police and over 150 injured in violent confrontations between police, supporters of the CPI-M and BUPC supporters protesting against their displacement due to the proposed industrial project. After this, the Government of West Bengal announced that the industrial project would be relocated. However the BUPC continued its blockade as it doubted that the Government of West Bengal would in fact relocate the project.

Protests continued in Nandigram with the demands for justice and compensation to the victims of the 14 March firing being added to the existing demands.

Various Indian activists and human rights organisations have reported that a wide range of human rights abuses occurred during this period. 2Amnesty International has repeatedly expressed its concerns about the excessive use of force by the police, called for full consultation with those living in the area about the proposed development and called for investigations into the abuses. 3

During the latest outbreak of violence in Nandigram beginning on 6 November 2007, at least 15 people were reportedly killed, 100 injured and hundreds of people were displaced as groups of armed supporters of the CPI-M commenced an operation to "recapture" the area. Media and human rights organisations reported large scale violence initiated by armed CPI-M supporters, and alleged inaction by the state's law enforcement agencies who, according to the reports, failed to take steps to protect local inhabitants.

Reports stated that armed CPI-M supporters rode their motorcycles into the area on 6 November, attacking local residents with guns and home-made bombs and fighting with BUPC supporters. On 12 November, two units of the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were deployed in some of the areas in which violence had occurred, reportedly only after CPI-M supporters had stopped blocking their route. Subsequently five more units of the CRPF were deployed. In the meantime, for over five days CPI-M supporters had reportedly established control of the area, forcibly evicting and displacing scores of people and attacking BUPC supporters and other local residents while looting and burning down houses and destroying property. During this period, the media and human rights organisations were excluded from the majority of these areas as CPI-M supporters blocked the main highways.

On 9 November, the Governor of the State, Gopalakrishna Gandhi, described the situation in Nandigram as a "civil war" and stated that the "armed recapture is unlawful and unacceptable." 4India's National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) sought a report from the Government of West Bengal on the violence and a six-member NHRC investigative team, which visited the area on 15-19 November, is expected to submit a report in the next few weeks. Meanwhile, the NHRC chairperson Justice Rajendra Babu has stated, in a reply to CPI-M members of the Indian parliament that it was incontrovertible that human rights abuses on a mass scale took place at Nandigram. 5

Reports from survivors, eyewitnesses, and relief workers alleged that months of discussions had taken place in the town of Khejuri between CPI-M supporters on their plans to "recapture" Nandigram. CPI-M supporters, armed with weapons, had reportedly been mobilized from other parts of West Bengal and neighbouring states of Jharkhand and Bihar. 6Both the state administration and the police reportedly took little action to protect the local communities during the violence, and in some cases were alleged to have participated in attacks. The reports also stated that CPI-M supporters were involved in searching villages, detaining and interrogating persons suspected to be close to the BUPC and seizing weapons.

Amnesty International also learnt that hundreds of residents including women and children who managed to flee the violence were housed in two camps at Nandigram. A week after the violence, media and human rights organisations, which had limited access to these camps, reported that the camps were largely self-managed with very limited official assistance, and those in the camps did not have secure access to even minimum essential levels of food, water, shelter, sanitation, and health services. Relief materials had been provided mainly by human rights and humanitarian organisations. Medical teams from non-governmental organisations were able to reach the camps only after four attempts were blocked by CPI-M supporters.

Following this, during 28-30 November 2007, Amnesty International India took part in a research visit to Nandigram and Kolkata, the delegation comprising also a former high court chief justice, a senior lawyer and a researcher from Human Rights Watch. The delegation travelled to interior villages and relief camps, and met with the victims of the violence, relevant officials and others. This report sets out Amnesty International's concerns arising out of the findings of the visit

2. Preliminary Findings

a. Failure to protect local communities:

At Bhoota Mar in Gorchakraberia in Nandigram, the delegation members were informed by relatives of CPI-M supporters that, on 28 October 2007, BUPC supporters had vandalized their residences. The police said they had little access to interior villages as blockades had been erected by the BUPC. However, the delegation was informed by officials that there were sufficiently early reports from intelligence officials and local police that armed supporters of the CPI-M were gathering around Nandigram. 7This was also admitted by the District Superintendent of Police Satya Prakash Panda who informed the delegation that the police had information that "arms and people were being mobilized in the region." 8The risk of confrontation between BUPC and CPI-M supporters intensified towards 30 October, but the only remaining police posted at Nandigram were withdrawn without any reasons being given. District Superintendent of Police Satya Prakash Panda told the delegation members that orders to withdraw the remaining police came from his superiors in Kolkata. 9However, it was not until 12 November 2007 that CRPF personnel were deployed to Nandigram.

The withdrawal of the state police and the delay before CPRF personnel were deployed left a period of two weeks in which the CPI-M and the BUPC engaged in armed confrontations attempting to assert control over the area. There appears to have been a controversy as to the reasons for the delay in deploying the CRPF. On 13 November, the state Chief Minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, alleged that it was the Union Government which had caused the delay. 10He said he had requested their deployment on 27 October but that several days later the Union Government informed him that the CRPF personnel could not be sent to Nandigram at that time as it was necessary to send them to other states where state assembly polls were to be held in December (Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh). On 5 November, the day before the armed CPI-M supporters arrived in Nandigram, the state Home Secretary P R Roy said he was not aware when the CRPF forces would be despatched there. 11However, the Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Sriprakash Jaiswal, said on 16 November that there was no delay in the deployment of CRPF in Nandigram. 12

The Government of West Bengal had already been excluded from several areas in Nandigram by BUPC barricades and armed CPI-M supporters, and the withdrawal of the state police meant that between the end of October and 11 November there was no significant official security presence in the area. Displaced persons in relief camps and eyewitnesses informed the delegation that during this period CPI-M supporters had closed in on several villages including Sonachura, Adhikaripara, Satengbari and Gokulnagar which had been barricaded by the BUPC. In these villages, residences of BUPC leaders were looted and burnt down by CPI-M supporters. By 11 November, the entire area had been "recaptured" by the CPI-M supporters, resulting in the forced eviction and displacement of hundreds of persons including women and children. During this period, the media (apart from one reporter from the daily Dainik Statesman who chose to stay with the local population) was prevented from entering the villages by CPI-M supporters. On 12 November, a team of social activists from Kolkata was able to start visiting some of the areas in Nandigram. Its report gives a graphic account of the difficulties encountered by that team and the media during the visits. 13

From the above accounts, it is clear that the recent violence in Nandigram took place against a backdrop of inaction by the Government of West Bengal, including tacit acceptance of the violent operations of the armed supporters of the CPI-M. The state has a responsibility to protect the human rights of everyone within its jurisdiction, and accordingly to uphold law and order. This would include, where necessary, measures by law enforcement agencies such as taking appropriate action to end the blockade by the BUPC. But the manner in which the state authorities have acted, and in particular their failure to take action to prevent abuses by armed supporters of the CPI-M, suggests that they were not acting in an impartial manner. No arrests were carried out prior to the violence despite the flow of intelligence information that arms were being mobilised in the region; no search operations were carried out. No arrests were carried out during the period of the violence, and West Bengal Director-General of Police, Anup Bhushan Vohra has stated that since the police only had access the nearby town of Khejuri, where it was likely that only CPI-M supporters would have been arrested, no arrests had been ordered as "it would have been seen as partisan. " 14

Many local residents were caught up in the violence and, in the absence of sufficient protection from state law enforcement agencies, had to flee their homes and take refuge with relatives or in relief camps. The delegation found evidence to demonstrate that both the state administration and the police appeared to have taken little action or responsibility to exercise due diligence in preventing, stopping and punishing human rights abuses and to protect the local communities during the violence.

b. Victims of violence:

The numbers as well as the identities of persons killed and missing from Nandigram during this period remain unknown. Officials gave the delegation a list of five persons who died during the violence, but local authorities stated to the delegation that at least 42 people were reported missing from the days of the November 2007 violence, many of whom were presumed to have been killed. BUPC activists informed the delegation that an unknown number of persons, including BUPC supporters, had gone missing; some of whom might have gone into hiding fearing attack by CPI-M supporters. The BUPC stated in addition that complaints made to the police about missing persons had not been properly registered.

On 5 December, a grave with the remains of five half-burnt bodies was discovered at Bamanchok village near Khejuri. 15. Investigating agencies were trying to establish whether, as claimed by the CPI-M, the five persons were CPI-M supporters, including four from Gokulnagar near Nandigram and one from Belda, 50 km from Nandigram, who were killed in a bomb blast on 28 October. 16Conflicting information received from local residents by the Association for the Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR), however, alleged that they had been killed while making bombs at Sherkhan Chak 17.

On 8 December, human remains were recovered from the Talpati canal in Bhangabera near Nandigram. 18On 12 December, another body with two bullet holes was found in a field at Maheshpur. Shyamali Pramanick, a woman from the area, was reported to have claimed that the deceased was her husband, Harun Pramanik, a BUPC supporter who had been missing since 7 November. 19On 14 December, two more local women, Sumitra Mirda and Annapurna Mondol, arrived at the Tamluk hospital to lay claim to the body. They said their husbands had been missing since 7 November. 20

c. Violence against women

The delegation interviewed several women who had been subjected to violence including rape, beating, threats and harassment. In addition, testimony concerning numerous incidents of violence against women has been gathered by several fact-finding teams investigating events that occurred in March as well as November. Anuradha Talwar, an activist who was part of the first fact-finding team which reached Nandigram on 16 November, in a deposition submitted to the delegation, said in Satangabari village alone, local residents informed them that at least seven women had been raped. 21In one case, a woman said that she was beaten and her four-month-old son was snatched and flung on the floor. Another woman said that though she was pregnant, she was beaten until she bled. 22

The delegation questioned officials of the Government of West Bengal and the state police about their efforts to investigate and prosecute violence against women. They found that very few incidents had been reported to the police and there were contradictory accounts from the different police forces as to exactly how many complaints of rape had been filed.

CRPF Deputy Inspector-General (DIG) Alok Raj stated that five cases of rape were registered at Nandigram including three after the November violence. 23As against this, the Officer-in-Charge, Nandigram police station said only two complaints of rape had been filed in the area. 24

The Chief Secretary of West Bengal told the delegation that the authorities were taking the allegations of rape very seriously: "The accused generally belong to either political party. We have taken the cases of the women away from the local police. These cases are now being enquired by the Criminal Investigation Department of the State Police (CID)." 25

However, the delegation is concerned that these words have not so far been translated into action. In each of the cases given by the CRPF, some of the perpetrators were named. 26Yet, none of these names figured among the list of persons arrested so far. A number of local residents informed the delegation that the offenders were operating with impunity, taunting the people, forcing them to shout slogans in support of CPI-M, or attend CPI-M party meetings

Accounts of both officials and villagers relating to violence against women agreed that the victims were either relatives or sympathisers of BUPC, and named the perpetrators as groups of armed supporters of the CPI-M.

The delegation was told that at least seven women from Nandigram have been admitted to the Government Hospital at Tamluk.. Two of them had been shot at, four were beaten and one was raped. Several others were admitted to hospitals closer to Nandigram.

The delegation met two women 27who both said they had been raped by several persons during the violence in November. Among the rapists were men whom they knew and could recognize. Although they had named these men when they made their complaints, three weeks later, the police had not made any arrests. The women said they were too frightened to return home.

One of them, Akhreja Bibi, was still at the Tamluk hospital. She said that several men burst into her home in the middle of the night on 8 November. "I tried to run away but they caught me and beat me up. They raped my daughters in front of me and then they raped me." Akhreja Bibi's daughters, Ansura, 16, and Mansura, 14, are still among those missing from Nandigram. When the delegation asked about them at the Nandigram police station, the Officer-in-Charge said there was news that the girls had joined a circus at Howrah, Kolkata. 28

The delegation also met Niyoti Patra, a BUPC supporter, who said she was also raped by several persons; she said she could not return home. "I know those men. They came to my house and asked me to join a meeting," she said. "When I refused they came inside and abused me. Then they raped me. There were three men. They were my neighbours. I am frightened. I have named them in my police report. Now they will punish me again." She has since been staying at the Nandigram school relief camp.

Roshomoi Das Adhikari, a woman in her 80s and mother of a prominent BUPC leader, Swadesh Das Adhikari, was beaten with rifle butts by three persons she could recognise as "CPI-M people". She said she was alone at home on 7 November. Her son and most of the villagers had already fled from the area. Three men burst into her house and started throwing things around. "I ran out into the courtyard shouting for help. Two men with big guns were standing there. They started beating and kicking me. They tore at my sari, slapped me, pulled my hair and cursed me. Meanwhile, the others had set fire to my house. As they left they threatened me and told me that they would kill my son. I just lay there bleeding." 29She also was able to name the CPI-M supporters.

Another woman, wife of a prominent BUPC member, said her home had been looted and burnt. Living in a relief camp, she said that when she returned to harvest the paddy, CPI-M supporters shouted abuses and threatened sexual violence. She was still in Nandigram school relief camp when the delegation met her, terrified because the district administration wanted to shut the camp and send her home. "I cannot describe the language they used. They told me, 'The CRPF will leave. Then we will come find you. We will chop off your head and kill your husband'." 30

Several women who returned to their homes after the end of this period of violence, said that threats of sexual violence were made against them if they did not support the CPI-M. One woman said that she was forced to attend a party rally on 28 November because she was warned that she would otherwise be stripped in public and then raped along with her daughters. 31Mahamaya Das Adhikari said that she went back to her village on 26 November but had to return to the camp a day later because her parents were threatened by CPI-M supporters. They were told that either their daughter had to publicly pledge her support to the CPI-M or not bother to return. 32

Threats of violence have continued even after those who were displaced returned to their villages. CPI-M supporters are in "effective control" of most of the villages in Nandigram, and in some areas, particularly former BUPC strongholds like Satengbari, they have reportedly threatened women saying "We'll come back at night – light your lamps and wait for us with open doors. Send your men away, we'll come back to you at night." 33

From the above accounts, it appears that there has been a deliberate pattern of gender based violence directed against women residents of Nandigram who were left behind as local male residents fled the advancing CPI-M supporters. The violence was directed against those women who were at the forefront of the protest against forced eviction and were unwilling to give up their homes and lands. Also, the delegation was informed by local residents that many women had refused to file police reports as they were still afraid of the consequences if they filed complaints with the police and were also unwilling to risk social censure associated with rape.

3. Key areas of concern

a. Due diligence:

Immediately after the violence, the Government of West Bengal defended the violence by the armed supporters of the CPI-M, and blamed the BUPC for the blockade and the subsequent violence. In media briefings Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee claimed that the protesters had been "paid back in the same coin" and that his party was both "legally and morally correct" to "recapture" Nandigram, 34a comment which he apparently retracted three weeks later while admitting that the Nandigram events amounted to a "political and administrative failure." 35Later, on 26 December 2007, he visited Nandigram to express regret for the violence, according to reports. 36

East Medinipore District Magistrate Anoop Kumar Agrawal informed the delegation members that, after the written notification for withdrawal of the SEZ notice was issued to him on 19 March 2007, he had held meetings with the BUPC and the other parties to resolve the issue; however, by this time, the BUPC appeared to have lost confidence in the administration. 37As a BUPC activist, Sudhin Bijoli, put it "The Chief Minister may have said that he would not force us to leave, but he was saying so many things and there was nothing in writing. How could we trust him?" 38

West Bengal Chief Secretary Amit Kiran Deb told the delegation that "we could not create an atmosphere of confidence … We failed to persuade the people to allow the police to enter. They saw the police as partisan and against them." 39

Amnesty International is concerned by officials' apparent readiness to accept this lack of confidence in the police and by the failure of the state authorities to take proactive steps to rectify it. The manner in which the Government of West Bengal failed to take positive action to address the issue suggests that the government was acquiescent in the human rights abuses by the armed supporters of the CPI-M during the November violence.

Amnesty International opposes human rights abuses whoever commits them and regardless of the cause espoused by the perpetrators. States have a responsibility to respect the human rights of all individuals within their jurisdiction – that is, not to commit human rights violations or to permit their officials to do so. They also have a responsibility to exercise due diligence to protect all individuals within their jurisdiction against human rights abuses by non-state actors by ensuring the maintenance of public order and security by state law enforcement agents authorised to do so and acting in compliance with international human rights standards on law enforcement, and by preventing, stopping and punishing human rights abuses by non-state actors.

Amnesty International is concerned that in this instance the state authorities have not fulfilled their responsibility to exercise due diligence to protect human rights. The recent failure to ensure an effective police presence to maintain law and order permitted, or even encouraged organized groups of armed supporters of the ruling party to step in to quell the protests by the BUPC, instead of the state exercising its responsibility to deal with them lawfully by effective, impartial and proportionate law enforcement measures. Amnesty International is also concerned that that state has not taken adequate measures to ensure that the population whose livelihood will be affected by the development of the SEZ is protected against forced eviction, by being ensured their rights to information, adequate consultation, and just and adequate reparation including resettlement in adequate alternative accommodation.

b. Justice for the victims:

In Nandigram, there has been a general failure on the part of the authorities to ensure progress in investigations into earlier violence in January and March 2007. It is to be noted that no departmental or disciplinary action has been initiated against any administrative or police official for despite loss of life and property in the area. The Kolkata High Court, on response appeal filed by the APDR, the Paschimbanga Khet Mazdoor Samity (PBKMS) and other organisations, ordered an investigation by the CBI into the violent confrontations of 14 March when police used excessive force and fired on demonstrators. The CBI's preliminary report named at least ten CPI-M supporters – who were later released by the state police – as accused persons. The Government of West Bengal obtained a stay on this investigation. However investigations were finally re-instated on 16 November and the CBI commenced its investigations into the 14 March violence on the basis of its preliminary report of 24 March. The CBI, which submitted an interim report to the Kolkata High Court on 17 December, has been directed by the High Court to file its final report by 15 February 2008. 40As per interim report, the CBI is reported to have filed four new cases against several CPI-M supporters, including a case of sexual assault, bringing the total number of cases against the CPI-M supporters to seven. 41Even as the CBI was also inquiring into the allegation whether the state police was aware that the CPI-M supporters fired, along with them, on the protestors, the Government of West Bengal has successfully obtained a stay, from the Supreme Court of India, on the filing of charges against state police officials found responsible for the 14 March police firing. 42.

Chief Secretary Amit Kiran Deb informed the delegation that the Government of West Bengal had allocated funds for compensation of the victims of the 14 March violence as per the Kolkata high court order and that this was being distributed. However, the District Magistrate informed the delegation that he had received no formal notification nor had funds been released for disbursement. 43On 31 December 2007, the compensation amounts were finally paid to 13 of the 14 victims of the 14 March police firing, according to reports. 44

The Kolkata High Court, in a judgment delivered on 16 November described the police firing on demonstrators on 14 March as unconstitutional and illegal.

Amnesty International believes that the general impunity enjoyed by perpetrators of human rights abuses in Nandigram since January 2007 was a key contributing factor to the widespread abuses committed there since 6 November.

The CRPF was finally deployed on 12 November, and although this brought an end to overt violence, threats and intimidation continued, putting at risk the lives and safety of the local inhabitants. There has been very little sign of effort to arrest perpetrators, who have allegedly been threatening BUPC supporters against filing complaints, demanding their attendance at CPI-M party meetings and suggesting that they admit to looting and burning their own homes. 45

CRPF DIG Alok Raj expressed to the delegation his view that the state police force personnel did not appear to be interested in arresting the perpetrators and were interfering in the CRPF's operations. The CRPF was given a list of 180 people against whom there are registered cases of murder. But those arrested by the CRPF have all been released by the state police. Alok Raj said, on 21 November, he had sent an official notice to the Government of West Bengal, stating that a complete list of persons wanted in connection with offences in Nandigram was yet to be submitted by the state police and that if those arrested by the CRPF were subsequently released by the state police, it "will not allow normalcy to return in the area." 46

Amnesty International, while noting that the Government of West Bengal has ordered inquiries as a result of the unearthing of bodies at Nandigram this month, points out that the Government has not so far taken any steps to establish the whereabouts of all those who have been missing from Nandigram since 6 November.

The Constitution of India clearly provides, in Article 32, for constitutional remedies when fundamental rights appear to have been violated, as in the case of the abuses committed during the violence in Nandigram.

Under international human rights standards states have a responsibility to take apporopriate legislative, administrative and other measures to prevent violations and, where they occur, to investigate them effectively, promptly, thoroughly and impartially and where appropriate to take action against those alleged to be responsible. They should also ensure that victims have equal and effective access to justice, and provide them with effective remedies, including full and effective reparation. Reparation should include restitution, compensation for economically assessable damage, rehabilitation, satisfaction – including public acknowledgement of the facts and sanctions against those responsible – and guarantees of non-repetition. 47

In particular, the obligation of states to conduct prompt, thorough, effective and impartial investigations into killings and other human rights abuses is also provided in international human rights law, including Article 2(3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratified by India in 1979. In its General Comment on Article 2 the Human Rights Committee, the expert body charged with overseeing the implementation of this Covenant, has stated, among other things:

"There may be circumstances in which a failure to ensure Covenant rights as required by article 2 would give rise to violations by States Parties of those rights, as a result of States Parties' permitting or failing to take appropriate measures or to exercise due diligence to prevent, punish, investigate or redress the harm caused by such acts by private persons or entities. States are reminded of the interrelationship between the positive obligations imposed under article 2 and the need to provide effective remedies in the event of breach under article 2, paragraph 3 ." 48

Amnesty International urges the West Bengal authorities to ensure that the CBI investigations into the 14 March demonstration are not obstructed any further, and that all incidents of human rights abuses in the context of the violence since early 2007 are thoroughly investigated and the suspected perpetrators brought to justice.

In addition, Amnesty International urges the Government of West Bengal to urgently set up an independent and impartial inquiry into the violence at Nandigram since early 2007 including the violence since 6 November. Such an inquiry should examine broader issues than criminal responsibility, such as systemic factors, procedural deficiences, contextual factors leading to the violence, and accountability of the state authorities for failures to provide effective protection.

Such an inquiry should in particular include an investigation into disappearances of persons, illegal possession of weapons by all non-state actors at Nandigram and an assessment of the impact and extent of violence against women at Nandigram. 49In view of the fact that the Government of West Bengal and different state agencies have been implicated in responsibility for the abuses due to the manner in which they dealt or failed to deal with the violence at Nandigram, there is a need for the inquiry to be carried out by an independent and impartial body . The activities of law enforcement agencies during the violence should also be one of the objects of the inquiry. If the inquiry obtains information indicating that identified individuals or officials may have been responsible for committing, ordering, encouraging or permitting human rights abuses, that information should be passed to the relevant criminal investigation or prosecution bodies. Provisions of immunity should not be allowed to shield those named as responsible for such acts of omission and commission.

The findings of the inquiry should be promptly made public.

c. Reparation and protection of the rights of all internally displaced people (IDPs):

West Bengal Chief Secretary, Amit Kiran Deb, informed the delegation that humanitarian assistance, including the provision of rice, cash payments and medical care was being provided by the authorities. In addition, Rs. 7 million, as compensation to the victims of the 6 November violence, has been released from the Chief Minister's Relief Fund 50in order to compensate for the loss of homes and other property in the violence.

At least two relief camps were functioning at Nandigram for those displaced since violence began in January 2007. However, neither of these camps were run by the state nor has the state carried out a survey to establish the extent of damage to property.

One relief camp (shivir) is located at the Brij Mohan Tiwari Siksha Niketan in Nandigram Block-I town, and at its height housed around 3,000 to 4,000 persons. Following the violence since 6 November, a fresh influx of local residents had arrived in the camp. However, by 29 November the number of persons housed in the camp had dwindled to around 250, the reason being that a large number of displaced persons had left the camp to stay with relatives and friends. 51

The delegation found that the camp was being run on limited resources by the Nandigram Bazaar Committee, Bharat Sevashram, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), and a few other NGOs which had supplied rice, other essential food items and blankets. TMC leaders also contributed relief materials to the camp. Medical services are confined to the voluntary services of local doctors.

The second camp was located at a high school at Khejuri and was run by CPI-M party workers who provide some essential services. Most of the villagers, reportedly numbering 1,500, who supported CPI-M had taken refuge in this camp in the wake of the BUPC blockade in January 2007. Towards the end of December, the camp was reported to be hosting around 750 people. The delegation was able to interview several local residents who returned home from this camp after the November 2007 violence. 52

Amnesty International is concerned that the Government of West Bengal has not taken the necessary concrete steps to ensure that all persons under its jurisdiction are protected from forced eviction and displacement, and that all those forcibly displaced during the violence are ensured at the very least minimum essential levels of food, shelter, water and sanitation, health care and education, as well as their right to voluntary return or resettlement, and reintegration.

Amnesty International is concerned that not all those displaced have access to essential services such as adequate food, water, shelter, and medical services.

There is a similar need to ensure access to justice and adequate reparations without discrimination for all of those who were forcibly displaced as well as those who suffered other human rights abuses.

The Government of West Bengal is responsible to ensure the protection of all internally displaced persons within its jurisdiction. This duty arises inter alia from India's Constitution, which guarantees to everyone in India the right to the protection of life and personal liberty (Article 21) (which Indian courts have consistently interpreted to include the right to access the minimum essential levels of food, shelter, and other requirements to live with dignity) and the equality of all persons before the law (Article 14).

The duty of the state to protect the rights of all IDPs is reflected in the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement (the Guiding Principles) 53 which clearly affirm, in Principle 3(1), that "national authorities have the primary duty and responsibility to provide protection and humanitarian assistance to internally displaced persons within their jurisdiction." The state also has a duty under its international human rights obligations, including under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to provide essential services to all IDPs without discrimination. This is reflected in article 18(2) of the Guiding Principles, which state that:

"At the minimum, regardless of the circumstances, and without discrimination, competent authorities shall provide internally displaced persons with and ensure safe access to:

(a) Essential food and potable water;

(b) Basic shelter and housing;

(c) Appropriate clothing; and

(d) Essential medical services and sanitation."

Amnesty International emphasises the right of all IDPs to voluntary return to their homes or places of habitual residence or resettlement, and reintegration and restitution of their homes and other property, and calls upon the Government of West Bengal to ensure a safe and dignified environment for their return. The organization believes that this will not be achieved unless there is a clear political will on the part of the authorities to put an end to the atmosphere of violence in Nandigram. Amnesty International is concerned that displaced persons who wish to return to their homes will be unable or unwilling to return if those responsible for human rights abuses against them during the violence remain at large, sometimes in positions of authority.

Amnesty International urges the Government of West Bengal that all those responsible for human rights abuses are brought promptly to justice, and to ensure full reparations for victims including adequate compensation delivered promptly and on a non-discriminatory basis.

Amnesty International also urges the Government of West Bengal and the Government of India to ensure that those returning home at Nandigram, irrespective of their political affiliation, are able to return to their homes or places of habitual residence or resettlement, voluntarily and in safety and dignity. They should also be guaranteed their right to reintegration and restitution of their homes and other property, and where this is not possible to adequate compensation, In order for this to happen, there should be the continued and effective deployment of adequate CRPF personnel. 54

4. Recommendations:

Amnesty International urges the Government of West Bengal to:

· Ensure that all incidents of human rights abuses in the context of the violence since early 2007 are thoroughly investigated and that the suspected perpetrators, whether or not they are officials and regardless of their political affiliation, are brought promptly to justice:

· Establish an independent and impartial inquiry into all the violent incidents at Nandigram this year including the violence since 6 November. Such an inquiry should include an investigation into disappearances of persons, illegal possession of weapons by all non-state actors at Nandigram and an assessment of the impact and extent of violence against women at Nandigram. The findings of the inquiry should be made public.:

· Ensure that all those displaced have access, without discrimination, to essential services such as adequate food, water, shelter, and medical assistance:

· Put in place a policy of adequate reparation, including restitution, compensation and guarantees of non-repetition.

Amnesty International urges the Government of West Bengal and the Government of India to:

· Ensure that those returning to their homes or places of habitual residence in Nandigram, irrespective of their political affiliation, are able to return to their homes or places of habitual residence, voluntarily and in safety and dignity. They should also be guaranteed their right to reintegration and restitution of their homes and other property, and where this is not possible to adequate compensation and resettlement. In order for this to happen, there should be a continued and effective deployment of adequate CRPF personnel:

· Ensure that unlawful methods are not used, or allowed to be used, to quell protests against forced eviction or displacement and ensure that the human rights of all those protesting against forced eviction or displacement are fully protected;

· Protect the rights of the affected communities to information, consultation, participation, and freedom from forced eviction (which requires ensuring their rights to information, adequate consultation, and just and adequate reparation, including resettlement in adequate alternative accommodation.

1 Since 2005, India has been promoting SEZs across the country. The policy of acquiring land for such industrial projects in several states has sparked protests from local communities fearing forced displacement and threats to their sustainable livelihood.

2 Paschimbanga Khet Majoor Samity Report (PBKMS), People's Uprising against Forced Land Acquisition: All disquiet on the Nandigram front, 22-24 January 2007; Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR), PBKMS and Manabidhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), Report of Investigation Into Nandigram Mass Killings, 23 March 2007; Sramajibi Swastha Udyog, People's Health and Janaswastha Swadikar Mancha, Report of the Medical Team from Nandigram, 5 April 2007; Report of All India Independent Fact-finding Team on Nandigram Massacre , 10 April 2007; All India Citizens' Initiative, Report of the People's Tribunal on Nandigram, 26-28 May 2007.

3 Amnesty International public statements: India: Deaths in West Bengal during protest against new industrial project, AI Index: ASA 20/004/2007, 11 January 2007; India: Deaths in West Bengal due to police firing during protests against new industrial project , AI Index: ASA 20/008/2007, 15 March 2007; Amnesty International public statement: India: Need for effective investigations and prosecutions as political violence continues in West Bengal, AI Index: ASA 20/020/2007, 9 November 2007. .

4 Press release of West Bengal Governor, Kolkata, 9 November 2007, cited in Time of India, 10 November 2007.

5 NHRC Chairperson's r eply to Members of the Parliament on Nandigram, 21 November 2007.

6 Profile of a hooded hunter, The Telegraph, 18 November 2007.

7 Interview with East Medinipore District Magistrate Anoop Kumar Agrawal, Tamluk, 29 November 2007; Interview with Officer-in-Charge, Nandigram police station, Sub-Inspector Champak Chowdhary, 29 November 2007.

8 Interview with East Medinipore District Superintendent of Police Satya Prakash Panda, Nandigram, 29 November 2007.

9 Interview with East Medinipore District Superintendent of Police Satya Prakash Panda, Nandigram, 29 November 2007.

10 Buddhadeb accuses Centre of delaying CRPF deployment, Times of India, 13 November 2007.

11 Prime Minister concerned over violence in Nandigram, Daily News and Analysis, 5 November 2007.

12 Centre did not delay deployment of CRPF in Nandigram,, 16 November, 2007.

13 Report on Nandigram Events, Based on visit by social activists and intellectuals, 8-15 November 2007, p. 2-4.

14 Interview with West Bengal Director-General of Police Anup Bhushan Vohra, Kolkata, 30 November 2007.

15 Five half-burnt bodies found near Nandigram, Times of India, 5 December 2007.

16 CID to probe Nandigram graves, Times of India, 7 December 2007.

17 Communication received from APDR, Kolkata, 8 November 2007.

18 More bones found in Nandigram, Daily News and Analysis, 8 December 2007.

19 Body with bullet holes dug out: Wife of BUPC supporter says shirt belonged to her husband, The Telegraph, 13 December 2007.

20 More claimants to the body from grave, The Telegraph, 14 December 2007.

21 Report on Nandigram events based on visit by social activists and intellectuals, 8-15 November 2007, p. 12.

22 Report on Nandigram Events, Based on visit by social activists and intellectuals, 8-15 November 2007, p. 12.

23 Interview with CRPF DIG Alok Raj, 29 November 2007.

24 Interview with Officer-in-Charge, Nandigram police station, Sub-Inspector Champak Chowdhary, 29 November 2007. Of the two victims, one is at the Government Hospital at the District headquarters, Tamluk, while the other is at a relief camp.

25 Interview with West Bengal Chief Secretary Amit Kiran Deb, 30 November 2007.

26 The names of perpetrators in the five rape cases given by CRPF DIG Alok Raj:

A. Case No 316/07 dated 22 November 2007 under sections 448/363/361/380/325/354/506

1. Mir Aahsaan s/o Mir Masi Mir

2. Mir Barik s/o Abu Bakar

3. Mir Ilyass s/o Mir Kadir

4. Mir Kalu s/o Mir Akram

5. Mir Bachhu s/o Mir Akram

6. Maha Aditya Das s/o Sadanand Jha

7. Babun Dass s/o Nishikanta

8. Arubindo Mandal s/o Rishiesh

B. Case No 192/07/dated 11 November 2007 under IPC 376

1. Kallu s/o Ahsaan

2. Barrick s/o Abdul Rafe

3. Bachhu

C. Case No. 30/07 dated 4 March 2007 under sections 448/376 (2)

1. Sri Hari Samantra s/o Vijay Kalicharan

D. Case No 260/07 dated 17 November 2007 under sections 376 (2)/506

1. Kalipara Ganadass s/o Sudarshan

2. Sagar Das s/o Lal Mohan

E. Case No 47/07/19 March 2007 under sections 147, 148, 149, 448, 323, 326, 376, 511 IPC

1. Badal Gara Das s/o Netri

2. Sunil Das s/o Kalachand

3. Sudarshan Gora Das s/o Netai

4. Gopal Garu Das s/o Sudarshan

5. Khorna Rai Das wife of Badal

6. Chargan Shil s/o of Srini Dash

27 Except in two cases which were registered by the police and whose names have been widely reported in the Indian media, this report is withholding the identity of rape victims.

28 Interview with Officer-in-Charge, Nandigram police station, Sub-Inspector Champak Chowdhary, 29 November 2007.

29 Interview with Roshomoi Das Adhikary of Adhikaripara, Gokulnagar, 29 November 2007.

30 Interview with a victim in Nandigram, name withheld, 28 November 2007.

31 Interview with a victim in Nandigram relief camp, name withheld, 28 November 2007.

32 Interview with Mahamaya Das Adhikary of Adhikaripara, Gokulnagar, at Nandigram relief camp, 28 November 2007.

33 Interview with a victim at the Government Hospital, Tamluk, 28 November 2007.

34 Buddhadeb accuses Centre of delaying CRPF deployment, Times of India, 13 November 2007.

35 "I regret saying rivals paid back on the same coin": Buddhadeb, Hindustan Times, 4 December 2007.

36 This time Buddha goes to Nandigram to say sorry, Indian Express, 27 December 2007. Later, according to reports, the Chief Minister announced that the Government of West Bengal has sent a fresh proposal to relocate the project at Nayachar island, also near Haldia and the BUPC has once again opposed it. See: Bengal government sends proposal on PCPIR to Centre, The Hindu, 4 January 2008 & BUPC to oppose chemical hub at Nayachar, Economic Times, 7 January 2008.

37 Interview with East Medinipore District Magistrate Anoop Kumar Agrawal, Tamluk, 29 November 2007.

38 Interview with Sudhin Bijoli, Nandigram, 28 November 2007.

39 Interview with West Bengal Chief Secretary Amit Kiran Deb, Kolkata, 30 November 2007.

40 Nandigram: court directs CBI to file report by 15 February, The Hindu, 17 December 2007.

41 Nandigram: CBI files four new cases, Times of India, 19 December 2007.

42 Nandigram: CBI restrained from filing cases against police, The Hindu, 14 December 2007.

43 Interview with West Bengal Chief Secretary Amit Kiran Deb, Kolkata, 30 November 2007; Interview with East Medinipore District Magistrate, Anoop Kumar Agrawal, Tamluk, 29 November 2007.

44 Compensation paid to Nandigram victims, Hindustan Times, 31 December 2007.

45 Interview with villagers, Adhikari pada, 29 November 2007.

46 Interview with CRPF DIG Alok Raj, Khejuri, 29 November 2007.

47 These principles are set out in numerous human rights instruments as well as the Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law , adopted by UN General Assembly Resolution 60/147 of 16 December 2005.

48 Human Rights Committee, General Comment No. 31 on Article 2 of the Covenant: The Nature of the General Legal Obligation Imposed on States Parties to the Covenant, UN Doc. CCPR/C/74/CRP.4/Rev.6, 21 April 2004, para. 8.

49 Amnesty International is aware that a consultation paper regarding the protection of the rights of witnesses was drafted in 2004 by India's Law Commission and subsequently submitted to the Government of India. Despite this initiative, the Government of India is yet to introduce a witness protection scheme. Amnesty International fears that in absence of a witness protection scheme and against a context in which police are feared to have colluded with CPI -M supporters in attacks against women in Nandigram and where a fear of security and safety remain, that victims and witnesses may refrain from registering First Information Reports or from pursuing cases through the criminal justice system.

50 This contradicts what the East Medinipore District Magistrate informed the delegation when it met him on 28 November. He had said that no money has been released; only an announcement for it has been made to the media by the Chief Secretary.

51 Delegation's visit to Brij Mohan Tiwari Siksha Niketan relief camp in Nandigram, 28 November 2007.

52 According to reports, West Bengal Home Secretary P. R. Roy has stated that the camps at Nandigram were empty and all the inmates had left them while admitting that some of the inmates might have gone to stay with their relatives. See All Inmates in Nandigram relief camps have left: WB government, Times of India, 3 January 2008.

53 UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, UN Document E/CN.4/1998/53/Add.2, 11 February 1998.

54 After the delegation's visit, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee was reported to have informed the state assembly that the Government of West Bengal was looking into complaints received from some CPI-M supporters in Nandigram that they were harassed by the CRPF. See: WB Government looking into CRPF excesses: Buddhadeb, Times of India, 13 December 2007. Earlier, state Home Secretary P. R. Roy stated that the CRPF would remain in Nandigram till 12 February 2008. See: CRPF to stay in Nandigram till February 12: Buddhadeb government, Times of India, 12 December 2007.