West Bengal governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi, has termed the ‘recapture’ mission launched by the CPM to regain its hold over areas of Nandigram which had slipped out of its control after March 14, 2007, ‘unlawful and unacceptable’ . The ardour of Deepavali has been dampened in the whole state by the events in Nandigram. Several villages in Nandigram are oscillating from the deepest gloom to panic, Gandhi said on the evening of 9 October. He said that he had been receiving phone calls from responsible people in Nandigram telling him that several huts were ablaze and people were forced to flee their home and take shelter elsewhere.. He said that the most appropriate description of the situation in Nandigram came from the Home Secretary who called Nandigram a WAR ZONE. The Governor said that no government or society can allow such war zones to exist without ‘immediate and effective action’. Gopal Kirshna Gandhi made it clear that he did not trust the political leadership of the state when he directly asked the administration to remove ‘new unauthorized man made blocks’at the four entry points in Nandigram. The governor also expressed his displeasure over the manner in which Medha Patkar and her colleagues were prevented from entering Nandigram when the CPM activists pulled and pushed her, tried to drag her out of her car by punching her on her face.. He said,’The treatment meted to Smt Medha Patkar and other associates of hers last evening was against all norms of civilised political behavior’.
Newspapers have reported the governor carefully listing all the 13 villages which have now been recaptured by the CPM. It has been reported that the statement came hours after the request by a team of the CPM members of the parliament to see that his sympathy and concern are meant for ‘sufferers on both sides’. The CPM state secretariat member Benoy Konar promptly condemned the governor for being partial . He said that he had insulted his post. ‘When our supporters were out of their homes during Durga Puja, his festive spirit was not dampened. He has insulted his post’, Konar added.
To counter the allegation by Konar one only needs to read the statement issued by Gandhi carefully in which he says, ‘I am fully aware of the fact that, earlier in the year, many villagers in Nandigram who were perceived as sympathisers of the ruling establishment had been obliged to leave the villages and seek shelter in Khejuri’. Those who had to flee to Khejuri must come back with full confidence and dignity.’
He further said , ‘I am also aware of the apprehension that some Maoists, their numbers being unverified, are believed to have entered the area. No quarter should be given to the cult of violence associated with Maoists.’
One can see that the Governor is pained and is also aware that he is making an appeal which would be rejected immediately by the arrogant party which is hell bent on making sure that the November assault does not go waste. On the Deepawali evening one had seen on the television screen the masked gunmen of the CPM encircling Nandigram from all sides, burning down huts and driving the opponents out of their areas. It must be said that media is not being allowed in Nandigram nor are independent human right activists permitted to enter the areas under attack.
The attack continues after the statement of the CPM patriarch issued early in the day that he was satisfied by the talks between the Trinmul Congress, Bhumi Ucched Pratirodh Samiti members and the CPM and was confident that ‘our people and their people’ would now be able to live in peace in the villages of Nandigram. He said that people should be allowed to pursue their political ideologies. One had not realized that to his own party men pursuing ideology means enforcing power through the barrels of the guns. The RSP has alleged that t he CPM is trying to impose peace on the people of Nandigram at gun point.
Observers watching Bengal have said that it is almost a replay of the Keshpur offensive by the CPM where scores of people had been killed to secure Keshpur for the CPM. State secretariat member Benoy Konar said that now we have spoken the language they( the opposition )understand. Another member of the secretariat Shyamal Chakraborty claimed that they were not forcing the supporters of the BUPS to join them. While insisting that it was not the party but the people who had been forced to live away from their place after march 14 this year who had taken up guns, he had to admit that in the process of enforcing normalcy the CPM torched the houses of their opponents. Benoy Konar has again criticized the Left Front allies for supporting the cause of the Trinmul Congress.
Is it surprising that the Chief Minister is not speaking, the Chairman of the ruling Left Front is criticizing the Home Secretary for spreading misinformation, the Patriarch doing a Bhishma Pitamah and junior leaders have been permitted to do the dirty job of winning back Nandigram by all means, which has meant death and destruction for the people of Nandigram?
Reclaiming Nandigram has become an existential necessity for the CPM, which is not only the Bengal CPM but whole of the CPM. We have heard the national Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat calling on her party women to go for violence.The national leadership is watching in silent glee the killing spree which’ it hopes, would result in a victory for the party. It is a Janus faced party much akin to the BJP which has different people to speak in different voices which makes it impossible for you to figure out the real one. Meanwhile all the honourable gentlemen and women who are known as intellectuals are maintaining a dignified, nonpartisan silence. Some of them had issued a statement after the March 14 mayhem in Nandigram which was a pathetic attempt to give fig leaf to the Bengal CPM’s criminal acts.It needs to mentioned here that Aparna Sen has refused to inaugurate the State Film festival in protest against the state backed terror in Nandigram. Authors and artists like Mahasweta Devi have been protesting the CPM violence right from the beginning and for this act of defiance she was put in the category of Maoists by the state police in its website..
The Statesman had published a report four days back in which it was shown that the latest assault on Nadigram was very meticulously designed and deftly executed. It was a blow by blow account of the preparation party has done. The home work was perfect . The long festival was chosen as the best time when people would be busy in celebrations and there would be little space for this news in the national telecasts. It has not been disputed by the Bengal CPM. Newspapers have CPM leaders of different levels on record who have said in very clear terms that violence is a legitimate way of making a way into Nandigram.
Nandigram was important for the CP not only because of the impending Panchayat elections but also to send an unambiguous message across Bengal which is witnessing independent people’s assertion for quite some time that it would be a very short lived freedom they were dreaming of. They would not be allowed a single peaceful day if they refused to fall in line. Their livelihood would be destroyed, lives crippled and if they do not mend ‘their ways’ ultimately they will be killed. It is also telling its political opponents that it retains the gun power and they cannot match it. It is also a warning to the Maoists that they should not think that they are operating in Jharkhand or Andhra Pradesh, they are in the deep waters of Bengal.
West Bengal and CPM have given a death blow to the democratic fabric of the Indian State. Now you have a Central Government living on the support of a party which has flouted all Constitutional norms and is unrepentant about it. It bodes ill for the future of India as now nobody is in a position to tell VHP and other outfits who indulge in violence to further their political ends that they are committing crime.
Enough is Enough, we repeat the words of Gopal Krishan Gandhi, peace and security should be restored without any delay. We also want to appeal to all civil society groups , the anti communal groups, the anti- nuclear bomb networks, the womens right groups, the right to food network, the popular science movements, universities and research organizations to tell the representatives of the CPM that they are not welcome if they do not condemn the violent politics of their party. Our tactical silence might save some unscrupulous elements as friends for us for the time being, but we are in grave danger of losing our souls for ever. It is for us to make the choice.