[Marxism] CPI (ML) on Nandigram

CPI (ML) Intl Liaison Office cpiml_elo at yahoo.com
Wed Nov 14 14:52:04 MST 2007


ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  10   No. 46    13-19 NOV 2007

 

Nandigram: CPI(M) Bares its Fangs Yet Again

 

I

n an even more barbaric rerun of March 2007, the
CPI(M) has let loose a reign of terror in Nandigram.
As on the earlier occasion, the latest aggression was
planned at highest levels and executed in two phases.
First, in early November hordes of hoodlums armed with
rifles and automatic weapons and backed by the
administration recaptured the areas which had broken
free from the rulers’ rowdyism. The next step was
taken on 10 November. On that fateful day some 20,000
men, women and children took out two processions to go
back to their own villages, their own homes and
hearths. They were visibly unarmed and peaceful, not
even carrying many flags which could double up as
sticks. And yet they became targets of sniper fire.
Some died on the spot, many more fatally wounded,
while many of those who ran for their lives were
caught by the assailants. The latter also went on a
rampage looting and torching huts, raping women and
beating up men. 

 

During the entire course of “Operation Nandigrab” and
the follow-up dose of vindictive terror, three smart
measures were taken. The police was kept absolutely
immobilised to give the marauders a free hand. The
killer squads were instructed to mop up bodies of the
victims – dead or fatally wounded – so the number of
confirmed casualties remained on the lower side.
Third, mediapersons were not allowed into the action
zone to prevent live telecast of terror as during
earlier episodes of aggression on Nandigram and
Singur. The actual extent of violence thus remained
grossly underreported.

 

The renewed killing spree in Nandigram unmistakably
demonstrates the CPI(M)’s absolute contempt for the
great explosion of popular protest against violence in
Singur and Nandigram. The party also refused to learn
from the public outcry against the rationing scam and
the Rizwanur case. Or from the serious reverses
suffered by its students’ wing in JNU, which owed a
lot to the bloodbath in Nandigram. On the contrary, it
shamelessly requisitioned para-military forces from
the Centre to enforce peace in Nandigram, thus owning
up its lack of will and capacity to solve the problem
politically.

 

To what extent the CRPF will bring peace back to
battered Nandigram is anybody’s guess; more important
are the political implications of this move. At this
moment the fresh arrival of central forces betokens
only a deeper understanding between a cooperating
Centre and a friendly Left Front, where the former
agrees to extend full cooperation in subjugating
Nandigram and the latter flashes the green signal for
the government to proceed towards talks in the IAEA.
This is the most reprehensible part of the CPI(M) move
– trading Nandigram for backtracking on opposition to
the nuclear deal. However, one cannot forget how in
the past such dependence on the central forces to
contain popular movements had backfired on Left-led
governments earlier in West Bengal and Tripura.

 

As the LF government resorts to more and more
repressive measures – it even lathicharged and
arrested artists and intellectuals protesting against
the latest round of bloodbath – the camp of left and
democratic opposition is getting wider and stronger.
Recent rounds of protests by leading artists, literary
personalities and intellectuals were joined by many
who had hesitated to cross the rubicon earlier in the
year. The massacre was timed to coincide with the
Diwali festival and on 10 November an international
film festival also opened in Kolkata. The latter
naturally provided the occasion for noted film
personalities to raise their voice and this gave a
further boost to the already strong protest by civil
society. In another important development, the three
junior partners of the LF publicly condemned the
recent bloodletting in Nandigram and blamed it
exclusively on the Big Brother. Public demand for
resignation of the hated Chief Minister is also
growing again. A very successful Bengal bandh has
already been organised and a mahamichhil (huge
procession) of citizens is scheduled for 14 November.

 

West Bengal is up in arms against an increasingly
arrogant CPI(M) leadership; what is now urgently
needed is a new platform of broad left unity sans
CPI(M) to lead the resurgent mass movements and
preempt a rightist backlash. The CPI(ML) which has
always been in the forefront of the political movement
against the opportunist Left will extend all support
to any such move towards an alternative platform of
Left Unity in West Bengal.

 

 

CPI(ML)’s Initiatives on Nandigram in West Bengal

 

Apprehending an impending massacre at Nandigram, a
party delegation team of our party submitted a
memorandum to the SP and DM of East Midnapore on 6
November. On 7 November, held a Protest Demonstration
at Writers’ Building – in which 27 comrades were
arrested.

 

On 10 November CPI(ML) held a protest march from
Subodh Mullick Square to Esplanade. The march, led by
Party General Secretary Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya,
and WB State Secretary Comrade Kartick Pal, blocked
the road at Esplanade, where Comrade Dipankar and
Kartick Pal addressed the gathering. The blockade
continued for an hour, and after that the activists
went to express solidarity and support to the nearby
spot where Medha Patkar was holding her fast.
Addressing the gathering at that spot, Comrade
Dipankar Bhattacharya gave a call to observe Bengal
Bandh on 12 November. The same evening at 7.30 pm, 10
students were arrested from near the Nandan complex –
for no reason at all. These students included four
AISA activists as well as a senior research scholar
and former student of JNU. The arrested students were
eventually released past midnight. 

 

Renowned intellectuals, film artists, poets, writers,
like Aparna Sen and Rituparna Ghosh boycotted the
Kolkata Film Festival and organized a protest march.
Students of AISA as well as activists of the Gana
Sanskritik Parishad including Manas Ghosh, a lecturer
at the Jadavpur University Film Studies Department and
also a delegate to the film festival, also
participated in that march. When the march reached
near Nandan, the venue of the Film Festival and the
cultural hub of the city, police lathicharged and
arrested them. This unprecedented high handedness of
the administration was condemned and protested widely,
and the entire civil society expressed their anger in
strongest terms. Artists and students, including
activists of AISA gathered at the gates of Lal Bazaar
Police Station and protested for four hours until the
detained people were released.

Barring the left front partners, all the political
parties in West Bengal gave a call for Bangla Bandh on
12 November. Our party cadres organized rallies at
many places – including Jadavpur and Behala in
Kolkata. In Nadia, CPI(M) goons attacked our
procession and one of our women comrades, Comrade Apu,
suffered a serious head injury and is still in
hospital. WB witnessed an unprecedented Bandh having
strong public support.

 

On November 13, the platform of student organizations
– the Chhatra Chhatri Sanhati Mancha held a torchlight
procession from the Jadavpur University campus to Gole
Park at 6 pm. En route they blockaded the road for
some time at Madhusudan Mancha – one of the venues of
the Film Festival. AISA participated in this protest
action. 

The entire state continues to fight in protest. The
intellectuals have decided to hold a massive rally on
14th Nov and invited all to participate sans political
leanings. Activists of our party and mass
organisations will participate in that rally.

 

Protest Against the Assault on Cultural Figures in
West Bengal   

 

In protest against the severe assault on the cultural
figures, filmmakers, writers and artists who protested
on the Nandigram issue, Jan Sanskriti Manch took the
initiative of mobilizing writers, artists and cultural
activists to sign a statement of protest addressed to
the President of India. Signatories to this protest
statement include Prof. Manager Pande (President JSM);
Viren Dangwal (Poet); Ravikiran Jain, President PUCL
U.P.; Prof Lal Bahadur Verma, historian and editor of
Itihasbodh; Prof. Anita Gopesh, Botany Deptt.
Allahabad University; Prof Rajendra Kr, Critic and
State President Jan Sanskriti Manch UP; Ajay Singh,
senior journalist and ex General Secretary JSM; Dr.
Brijbihari, General Secretary PUHR UP; Pranay Krishna,
General Secretary JSM; Yash Malviya (poet); Anshu
Malviya (poet); Suryanarayan Singh, Assistant Prof.
Hindi Deptt AU; Vivek Kumar Tiwari, Asst Prof, Physics
Deptt, AU; Manoj Mishra, sub editor, Amar Ujala,
Allahabad; and Manoj Kr. Singh, President, PUHR, UP.

 

Protest in Delhi against Events in Nandigram

 

 Students, academicians, journalists, lawyers, artists
and other intellectuals came together in Delhi’s
Connaught Place area on 12 November 2007, in a protest
called by Forum for Democratic Initiatives, to protest
against the attack by the CPI(M) in Nandigram.

 

The protest held outside the Bengal Government’s
office in New Delhi, called for an immediate end to
the forcible take-over of people’s land in Nandigram
and ending the terror unleashed on the people of
Nandigram in the “recapture” of land by antisocial
elements and CPI(M) cadres under police patronage.
Demands were made for immediately opening the
Nandigram area to media, journalists and fact-finding
teams, a high level-impartial inquiry into the events
in Nandigram and fixing responsibility on the culprits
behind the killings and criminal assaults, suspension
of the DM and SP of the area while the inquiry is
being conducted and framing of murder charges against
the police men, anti socials and CPI(M) cadre named by
the people during the inquiry.

 

Professors Arun Kumar, Sumit Sarkar, Amit Bhaduri,
Manoranjan Mohanty, Uma Chakravarti, Shubendhu Ghosh,
Journalists Sumit Chakravarty, Praful Bidwai, Harsh
Sethi, Political Scientist Yogendra Yadav,  film maker
Sanjay Kak, artist Ashok Bhaumik, Supreme Court lawyer
Prashant Bhushan, scores of well-known democratic and
social activists, Jansanskriti Manch  activists and
teachers from Delhi University and Jamia Millia
Islamia, AISA National Gen Secy. Ravi Rai , JNUSU
President Sandeep Singh and office bearers Shefalika
and Mobeen and AISA members from the three
universities in Delhi, demanded that the West Bengal
Chief Minister, Buddhadev Bhattacharya,  must tender a
resignation. They stated that the Chief Minister
should take moral responsibility for nearly 11 months
of terror faced by people in Nandigram, as a result of
his government’s policies of land acquisition for
Special Economic Zones and other multinational hubs. 

The meeting was conducted by Forum for Democratic
Initiatives, Convenor, Radhika Menon and a memorandum
was submitted to the Resident Commissioner.

 

Democratic Voices on Nandigram

 

West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi: Large
numbers of armed persons from outside the district
have, it is undeniable, forced themselves onto
villages in Nandigram Block I and II for territorial
assertion. Thousands of villagers have consequently
been intimidated into leaving their homes
 several
huts are ablaze. Large numbers of villagers have taken
refuge in the local high school in Nandigram, bereft
of food and personal security
. the manner in which
the “recapture” of Nandigram villages is being
attempted is totally unlawful and unacceptable.

 

I find it equally unacceptable that while Nandigram
has been ingressed with ease by armed people on the
one hand, political and non-political persons trying
to reach it have been violently obstructed. Some of
them were bearing relief articles for the homeless.
The treatment meted to Smt Medha Patkar and other
associates for hers last evening was against all norms
of civilized political behaviour
. Let me conclude by
saying: Enough is enough. Peace and security should be
restored, without any delay, from where they have been
evicted from Nandigram.

 

CPI(M)’s Own Ally, Kshiti Goswami, RSP leader and
Minister in the WB Government, expressing a desire to
resign, “This is definitely an expedition of killing,
plunder and destruction
. We have been deceived by the
CPM. One thing is being said, another thing is being
done.”

 

Bijoy Chowdhury, an award-winning photojournalist, who
managed to evade the CPI(M) blockades to enter
Nandigram gave this eyewitness account: “The situation
is grave and the CPI-M is plundering village after
village. You have to see to believe it. There are
bullets flying everywhere and blood is splattered all
over the place. Police are mute spectators
.The CPI-M
is saying that the Maoists are entrenched in
Nandigram. But where are they? It is all CPI-M men
mounting an onslaught on their rivals.”

Noted filmmakers Aparna Sen: “The Left Front may be
running the state government, but the state belongs to
us
. ‘this bloodied slaughterhouse is not my
country’
.For our democratic rights, we must fight.”

 

CPI(M)’s Voices of Terror and Misinformation

 

Dum Dum Dawai

They (the opposition at Nandigram) should be given the
‘Dum Dum dawai’ treatment (a sound thrashing – this
was a phrase in popular use against hoarders during
the food movement of 1966; now turned against the
people by CPI(M)) – CPI(M) MP and Politburo member
Brinda Karat at an AIDWA Rally in Dum Dum, Kolkata on
November 4.    

 

CM’s Open Defence of Terror  

“What I am simply saying is that they (the Bhumi
Ucched supporters) were paid back in their own coin.”
– West Bengal CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharya  

‘Paying back in the same coin’ – can this be the voice
of a head of a state? Does it not sound uncomfortably
like a certain other CM who defended genocide through
Newton’s Law?

 

Myth of Maoists

Prakash Karat and Buddhadeb alike have claimed a
‘Trinamool-Maoist’ link up in Nandigram – and have
justified the CPI(M) siege as necessary to making
Nandigram ‘terror-free’, claiming a Maoists attempt to
turn Nandigram into a ‘liberated zone’. Sections of
the media have lapped up this theory. Is it true? Not
according to the State’s own Home Secretary Prasad
Ranjan Roy who has declared that the West Bengal
government has no information about the Maoists
infiltration into Nandigram. 

Asked about this by the press, Buddhadeb was unfazed –
he replied that there had indeed been Maoists there –
but he does not know where they have gotten to now!  

 

 

CPI(M)’s Efforts for ‘Peace’

In an editorial, the Hindu has defended the CPI(M)
claiming that since the WB Government had long back
withdrawn all attempts to acquire land for an SEZ
chemical Hub, and had in fact done all it could to
restore peace – the only raison d’etre of a ‘Campaign
against Land grab’ was a politically motivated attempt
by the Opposition to foment violence.   

 

The truth?

For the past 11 months, CPI(M) cadre have launched an
unrelenting campaign of terror against the people of
Nandigram who dared to defy and defeat its plans for
the SEZ for Salem. Even after the Khammam firing,
elder statesman Jyoti Basu declared that firing was
justified at Nandigram though not at Khammam. And
Benoy Konar, CPI(M) CCM, declared that “The CPI(M) is
not at all ashamed of the Nandigram incident and the
question of giving compensation to families of those
killed in police firing on 14 March or taking action
against police officials doesn’t arise
 At the best we
can offer some pity.” (Statesman July 31)

When the firing was never regretted but rather
defended; when the minimum question of compensation
for the victims was not even entertained but
derisively dismissed; when the question of acting
against police officials guilty for March 14 never
arose – how can it be believed that the WB Government
wanted ‘peace’? Could the people of Nandigram believe
that those who encircled and besieged and brutalized
them would let them live in peace and would leave
their land alone? With seniormost leaders prescribing
doses of ‘dum dum dawai’, could they believe they
would escape retaliation? 

 

CPI(ML) Memo to The President

(sent on 7 November)

 

 

Hon’ble Shrimati Pratibha Patil

President of India

Rashtrapati Bhawan

New Delhi

 

Sub: Seeking urgent intervention to restore peace in
Nandigram

 

Dear Madam,

 

I am writing this to express our grave concern over
the ongoing developments in Nandigram in East
Medinipur district of West Bengal. You must be aware
that instead of trying to restore a sense of public
confidence in the people of Nandigram, the
administration has been kept willfully paralysed in
the area and armed miscreants backed by the CPI(M)
have been given a free hand to terrorise the people
who had resisted the bid to set up an SEZ in
Nandigram. Not less than fifteen people are feared to
have been killed over the last few days while
thousands of people have had to flee their homes and
villages. The statement made by the Home Secretary of
the State clearly indicates that the local CPI(M) has
triggered the present round of violence.

 

We had submitted a memorandum to the DM and SP of East
Medinipur district on 6 November demanding immediate
arrest of armed miscreants backed by the CPI(M) who
are responsible for attacking the people. We also
demanded action against CPI(M) leaders and people’s
representatives who are systematically whipping up
tension  by issuing provocative statements. A most
recent example has been CPI(M) Rajya Sabha MP Brinda
Karat’s public speech advocating “Dumdum Dawai”
(direct physical action) to silence the voice of
dissent in Nandigram.

 

The district and state administration however turned a
deaf ear to our plea for effective administrative
intervention in the interest of peace and justice and
the people of Nandigram have been subjected to a
state-sponsored campaign of planned and systematic
assault and intimidation. Leaders and activists trying
to visit the area are also being attacked and stopped
by the armed goons with the active patronage of the
ruling party while the administration remains a mute
spectator.

 

We would therefore seek immediate intervention on your
part to stop this campaign of violence and restore
peace and order in the area. Exemplary action must be
initiated against the culprits and the state
government too must be censured for its utter
dereliction of responsibility. Nandigram has been
bleeding since January 2007 and despite powerful
protests by the civil society in West Bengal and in
the entire country, the state government and the
ruling party continue to ridicule the voice of peace
and justice. Yesterday’s official announcement of
payment of Rs.200,000 as compensation to the victims
of the March 14 massacre even as the killers and
attackers were going on scot-free with their violent
campaign could only be seen as a cynical move by a
government that has no concern for the lives of
innocent citizens and wants to complete its duty only
by making belated token announcements of compensation.

We would request you to pay a personal visit to the
area and initiate urgent and appropriate measures to
restore peace and order in Nandigram and bring all the
guilty to justice.

 

Yours truly,

(Dipankar Bhattacharya)                               
                                   (Kartik Pal)

General Secretary,            CPI(ML)                 
                                  Secretary, CPI(ML)
West Bengal State Committee

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