[CPM cadres have made it virtually impossible for any independent report to come out of Nandigram. They have not allowed even the media and political leaders to enter the area while their propaganda machinery has begun working overtime, presenting a completely false picture of the situation and the events. Meanwhile, all we have regarding the actual loss of lives is a series of speculative assessments, some of which put the death toll at an astounding 125. Given that even some Left Front partners believe that the figure could be far more than what the government is prepared to concede, this may not be an entirely unbelievable figure. At any rate, the more greviously injured included, the toll seems really high. Some of the scenes on television yesterday showed how two women trying to remove a body were attacked by the police brutally and the body snatched from them. How can they allow the bodies to accumulate and be counted? We present below the latest update on the situation by NAPM activist Sanjay Sangvai. – AN]
AN APPEAL FROM NANDIGRAM AND KOLKATA/ March 15, 2007
POLICE & CADRES KILL 125 IN NANDIGRAM
As the death count of March 14 carnage in Nandigram by the W.Bengal Police and CPM cadres has reached 125, the people, organizations and activists of Nandigram and Kolkata called upon all the people, who value the democracy, human rights and equality of freedom to come to Nandigram and be with the
Though the cadres of the ruling Communist Party (Marxist) are blocking the way, the High Court Order on March 15, asks the government to facilitate the people to visit the area for enquiry of help. “The people must show their resolve against the Fascist ways of the so called progressive government and
party” said Samar Das, a senior activist from National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), W. Bengal.
The ruling CPM through its cadres has imposed an undeclared censorship on the media and people. It is indulging in double crime first by beating the Nandigram people to pulp and killing them. But it does not wish the nation or people to see what is happening. “Its like Stalinist days, when you arenot allowed to say that there is injustice nor others are allowed to hear or film it”, says Mr.Das.
And the great ‘Red-wash’ effort is on. Their cadres and their septuagenarian elite are afraid to own up the responsibility of this police action. The CPM bosses are making the same statements which a Narendra Modi or Sunderlal Patwa or Sharad Pawar make. Same ‘outsider hand’,. same ‘Naxalites’ and very same Opposition people ‘who do not want to see W. Bengal to progress’.
While the power holders in CPM have themselves ordered the large police contingent with a planned strategy of carnage on such a large scale, they are now finding everyone else to blame. If only repairs and ‘restoring the civil society’ had been their objective, did it need 3000 police force with AK-47 rifles? So they have devised the new excuse of ‘people exploding bombs on police’. They are in power and that power is like a totalitarian state. No one in W. Bengal can go to a Government hospital or school and college, if he or she is not in good books of the CPM bosses in that area. And people making the bombs do not undertake protest actions.
There was statewide denunciation of the CPM act. Its own allies in state government, Revolutionary Socialist Party and Forward Bloc called for ‘bandh’, while the Communist Party of India (CPI) severely criticized the carnage and the decision to send such large posse of police. The intellectuals, artists, social and political workers of all hues have rapped the state government action. The Governor, Mr. Gopal Gandhi, called the killing as ” horror” and wanted the state government to restrain itself.
It is Bloodbath, War on People
About 125-130 men, women and children were killed by the police and the cadres of the ruling Communist Party of India (CPM). Many dead bodies were thrown by police into the nearby river. The dead bodies of children were thrown onto the trenches dug by the villagers to stop any encroachment, and they were filled with soil to make roads much like carnage in Gujarat. According to the people the cadres and police have devastated the Sonachura village; they killed the people, drove them out, looted the houses and raped scores of women. People are seething with anger against the CPM cadres. It is bloodbath; it’s a war on people ” said Sumit Chowdhury, renowned writer and journalist.
In fact all the villages are ransacked, devastated by the cadres and police. They have blocked entry to journalists and other organizations and one journalist was kidnapped and intimidated to keep quiet. Armed CPI(M) cadres are mixed with the police, fired upon villagers and then attempted to enter the villages. Another group of party activists cordoned off the entire area checked all vehicles to prevent journalists from entering the scene of violence. Several scribes were beaten up. “We wont allow the media to enter the village. So far you were running the show. Now it is our turn,” East Midnapur CPM chief and M.P. Lakshman Seth said bluntly.
On March 14, over a 2000-strong police force armed with AK 47 rifles attempted to enter Nandigram, which has been cut off from the rest of the state for over two months now by villagers resisting land acquisition for setting up an SEZ. The first barricade was put up by women and children who resisted the police from entering the villages. The police fired tear gas
shells and then rubber bullets and finally live cartridges.
The sudden raid came as a surprise for the villagers as they started running here and there to maintain a safe distance. It was a horrific sight as armed policemen were seen dragging villagers out of their houses and beating them.
“It is like a war. I don’t know where my family members are. I never expected such an attack from the policemen,” Saber, one of the villagers of Gorchakraberia said. Around 10 am the entire area turned into a battlefield. “I can see every were bodies are scattered all over paddy field smeared with blood. Those who were injured are screaming for help but instead of
providing any aid policemen were seen kicking them with their boots,” Ehsan one of the local villagers told a journalist over telephone.
Nandigram, Tamluk hospitals were ill-equipped to treat this barrage of injured people. Most of the victims are women and children (in school uniform too). Many contacts in Nandigram are putting the number of injured above 200. All these people were brought to the hospitals by the relatives and neighbors. Police on the spot have not helped even a single victim to avail medical help. There are many more injured lying in the interior villages, unable to move out for want of any means of transport and also for apprehension of getting killed if found by the marauders.
The plan to push in police into the trouble-torn and tense area was chalked out by the CPI(M) top brass last Saturday. They were under pressure from the East Midnapur unit of the party led by MP Lakshman Seth who felt that the CPI(M) would permanently lose ground in the area unless barricades were
removed and ‘normalcy’ was restored in Nandigram. A large section of the CPI(M) secretariat was also of the same view and felt that the manner villagers were keeping the administration paralyzed for over two months was creating a bad precedent.
According to the strategy, the police was asked to remove resistance, enter the villages and ‘restore law of the land’. They were to be followed by CPI(M) activists, who would “reinstall civil society” in Nandigram. According to Samar Das, unprecedented police force – more than 3000, came on
the periphery of Nandigram, ” Police were drawn from all districts in Bengal. They have what they wanted to do. Now, we must be here, to be with the Nandigram people – from all over India. ”
“No one is ‘outsier’ here. All are Indians and human beings. It is mischievous on part of Buddhadeb, Biman Basu and Sitaram Yechury to label all others as outsiders. A true Marxist would never call anyone like that. Ask Sitaram Yechury, an M.P. from Bengal, where he is from? The CPM is becoming offensive out of its guilt complex” said Manav Kamnble, a prominent Dalit social activist in Pune, while addressing a meeting held on on March 15 to condemn the Nandigram carnage and announce Action 2007 of NAPM.
Similarly. large numbers of activists and organizations protested at CPM office in Mumbai. The Sarovidaya activists protested in many district places in Maharashtra. These protests would go on increasing, till the CPM comes to
senses and talks with the people.