Friday, February 2, 2007

The State Machine At Singur

The state machine moves inexorably. On the one hand is the armed police, the Rapid Action Force, the Combat Force- names galore for a well armed army, who are paid for by the tax payers of Singur and all other citizens of the country. They are being paid to protect the interests of a company (the Tatas). They protect the building up of one corporate’s property at the expense of many rural workers and farmers. On the other hand are farmers, rural workers and their families in Singur, who are fighting an unequal battle with the might of the state and the Tatas.

Since the 10th of January, the people of Singur have tried burning down the fence on five separate occasions at separate spots. They have met with an immediate rush by the police to the fence and a dousing of flames. The Tatas were prevented from entering the area by groups of militant women on 15th January. There was a procession by about 3000 people on 26th January. In reply to the Tatas’ Bhumi Puja (land consecration ceremony), the people performed the Shradha or death ceremony of the Tatas. Today, on the 31st, the people of Singur have asked their children and women to organise a protest. There have been cases filed against 4-6 people in the last 2 weeks and a couple were taken into custody on the 28th. One of them is still in jail. Two local youth clubs were raided on the 25th of January by the police on the pretext that they were harbouring weapons . Nothing was found.

Section 144 was lifted in Singur finally on the 28th night, but no let up has been there in the police presence. The CPI(M) immediately took out a procession of about 300-400 people on the 29th . A concrete wall is being quickly put into place, with police protection. Benoy Konar has said that if Mamta Banerjee or Medha Patkar enter areas where land is being acquired the CPI(M)’s women wing will greet them with a show of their buttocks! Tarit Topdar has threatened to stop the entry of agitators into the area with the formation of a wall of CPI(M) cadres.

The people of Singur are frustrated and fed up. After the Nandigram experience many now feel it was a mistake to have been peaceful in their agitation. So far, not one injury of any consequence has been caused to anyone in the police or amongst those supporting the Tatas. There have on the other hand been three deaths/murders amongst those opposing them - Rajkumar Bhul, Tapasi Malik and Tapasi Malik’s uncle.

The question that all of us would like to ask the CPI(M) and the Tatas – is it more bloodshed that they want before they stop? Will a civil war like Nandigram have to start? Will one or more of the people who are opposing the project have to die in their attempts to resist before the concrete fence stops?

As citizens of a democratic country we demand from both Tatas and the CPI(M) – you must speak to the agitating people and address their grievances . Please stop behaving like machines that have no hearts or minds.

We also appeal to all of you to put pressure in all ways possible on the Tatas, the CPI(M) and the other Left partners (Forward Bloc, RSP and CPI). Please insist that a dialogue must be take place with the agitating people.
Paschim Banga Khet Majur Samity

This blog doubts whether we are citizens of a democratic country in true sense.

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