Monday, March 19, 2007

Demand for resignation of Buddha and judicial enquiry

Protest is going on against the brutal carnage in Nandigram of March 14, 2007 in various forms. We have some reservation on certain forms of protest, but we think it is our duty to reflect what is going on.

We have received two documents, one online petition asking resignation of Buddha and a sample petition calling for judicial enquiry in Nandigram violence of March 14, 2007, which is requested to either fax or mail.

First, we are giving these two documents, then we will express our view upon them.

Demand Resignation of Buddhadev Bhattacharjee

To: The Governor, West Bengal


We are writing to express our strongest condemnation of the brutal and planned murder of peasants in Nandigram by the police on 14th March, 2007. From all available reports it is clear that an advance decision had been taken to shoot to kill, which alone can explain why so many people were shot well above the regulation below-the-knee height. From your press note and subsequent statements, from the statements of several non-CPI(M) member parties of the Left Front, as well as from news reports it is evident that the responsibility for this murderous action belongs primarily to Sri Buddhadev Bhattacharjee,. In this situation, we believe that the minimum that has to be done now is to compel Sri Bhattacharjee to resign. We therefore demand his resignation. There can be no democratic dialogue or any peaceful resolution of the current situation as long as he is at the helm of affairs.


Click here to sign petition

Sample petition calling for judicial enquiry

The Chairman
The National Human Rights Commission,
New Delhi
Tel.: +91 22 23384012
Fax: +91 22 23384863

National Commission for Women
New Delhi
Fax: +91-11-23236154
Complaints Cell: +91-11-23219750

National Commission for Minorities
New Delhi
Tel.: +91 22 24618349
Fax: +91 22 24693302/24642645/24698410

National Commission for Scheduled Castes
New Delhi
Fax: +91 22 24601213
Fax: +91 22 24625378/24634743/24615014

Sub: Violence and repression in Nandigram in West
Bengal causing large-scale loss of lives and


You must be aware of the fact that on the March 14 last a large posse of police force under the command of the West Bengal government had entered the Nandigram area in the East Midnapore district of West Bengal ostensibly to establish the "rule of law".

You may also recall that since early January the area is in turmoil. To be more precise, on January 2nd, the Haldia Development Authority (HAD) had issued a preliminary notice indicating a plan to acquire about 14,500 acres of land of 27 moujas of Nandigram-1 block and 2 moujas of Khejuri-2 block. It had also been announced that the land of Nandigram block would be acquired shortly since the Salim Group would build a mega Chemical Hub (10,000 acres) and another industrialist group of Pawan Ruia would set up a Shipbuilding and repairing unit (2500 acres) there. The rest of the land (2000 acres) would be used for disposal of alluvium dredged from the river bed of Haldia Port. The list of earmarked moujas was sent to the concerned Gram Panchayats. The notice mentioned the names of total 29 moujas at the Nandigram-1 and Khejuri-2 blocks that had primarily been shortlisted for the Salim-promoted chemical hub which included 5 Gram Panchayats in Nandigram -1 block namely 10 No. Sonachura, 9 No. Kalicharanpur, 3 No. Kendemari, 2 No. Muhammadpur and 1 No. Vekutia and Khejuri GP in Khejuri-2 Block.

This notice, to use a rather cliched ex-pression, set a cat among the pigeons. There was large scale disquiet amongst the local people. It set off a series of violent clashes since January 3 between the villagers and the State administration and also between sections of villagers. This culminated in bloody and murderous violence on January 7 between villagers determined not to part with their lands and the followers of the CPIM supporting the threatened move of the State government. While there are conflicting reports about the violence, the fact that human lives were lost is irrefutable. The active and personal involvement of Shri Lakshman Seth, the CPIM MP from Haldia, who is also the Chairman of the HDA, was also widely alleged. Be that as it may, as a consequence the State government issued a clarification subsequently that the said notice had been wrongly issued without proper authority and land acquisition for the chemical hub would be put on hold for the time being. But, as it appears the State government and its leaders enjoyed little credibility amongst the villagers. It'd be pertinent to recall that in the wake of the January 7 violence allegedly between the armed supporters of the CPIM coming from either outside or from the temporary camps, where they had shifted to and taken shelter since January 3 consequent upon earlier clashes, surrounding the area; a senior Polit Bureau member of the CPIM and also a Rajya Sabha MP from west Bengal categorically denied the very existence of the HAD notification and branded such report as mischievous rumour mongering. It is, however, quite another matter that the Chief Minster, belonging to his party, had to admit otherwise. Consequently the villagers cut all the roads connecting to the outside world off keeping provisions for only temporary and removable bridges in anticipation of large scale invasions from outside. All attempts by the State administration to convince the villagers of its pious intentions failed to cut any ice with them. It would also be pertinent to mention here that Nandigram is just not an isolated stand-alone case. A running battle between the State and the CPIM on the one hand and (at least some) villagers in Singur in neighbouring Hooghly district where land to the tune of a thousand acres has been acquired by the State, with active collaboration of the party apparatus, on behalf of the Tata Motors is very much on. There are also similar other proposals in the pipeline. All these taken together perhaps explain the complete lack of faith of the villagers in any assurance of the State government.

On march 14, a police campaign of huge proportions was carried out to occupy and re-take Nandigram. The official figure of casualties hovers around 15. Other sources estimate over hundred. Given the demographic pattern, most of the victims are understandably either Dalits or Muslims.

There are also widespread allegations that the police in collaboration have dumped a large number of dead bodies in water bodies with the CPIM cadres. There are also allegations of gang rapes and beastly sexual assaults. TV footages reportedly exist showing bodies being fished out of water apart from some police actions though entry of the journalists had reportedly been by and large blocked during the campaign and also thereafter till the Honourable High Court intervened. That such an operation is going to be carried out had already been predicted by a section of the media. It has also been reported that an intelligence report apprehending broad-based vigorous resistance and consequent large-scale bloodshed was deliberately ignored. There also reports that maximum violence has been resorted to in preference over other routine alternatives.

Under the circumstances, even the Honourable Calcutta High Court had to adversely comment on the ferocious operations carried out by the State against its own people and has ordered a CBI probe. While the CBI probe has played and would play a useful role in crying an immediate halt to any large-scale ongoing violence against the local people, it is simply inadequate given the seriousness of the situation.

We would therefore earnestly request you to immediately send a team of your own to make an on-the-spot survey and also take up the issue with appropriate quarters, not excluding the Supreme Court of India, to immediately institute a judicial enquiry conducted by a serving judge or judges, nominated either by the Chief Justice of the India or the High Court of Kolkata. Any enquiry by a retired judge nominated by the State government, if at all, would largely defeat the purpose for very obvious reasons. You are also urged to ensure that the culprits – the perpetrators of violence, are brought to book in the shortest possible time, and the affected people are provided immediate relief and also reparation. Not only those directly engaged, the planners and conspirators must be identified and be made pay for their sins.
This is the most minimum that has got to be done so that the common people keep faith in the system and are not encouraged to take law in their own hands in their own desperate, and maybe mindless, ways.

Sincerely yours

Sukla Sen
EKTA (Committee for Communal Amity)

The view of this blog over these forms of protest

First of all, we would like to point out that we do respect the concern of people reflected in different forms of protest, although we might have some differences on some aspects.

We feel that the responsibility of the brutality against the people of Nandigram on march 14, 2007 should go to the state machinery whose sole orientation is to serve the interest of imperialism-comprador capitalism and semi-feudalism. To secure the maximum profit of MNCs and big companies, different governments, as political representatives of them have been implementing the policy of SEZ and land acquisition.

If we like to fight against land acquisition, which we believe, people all over the India do, we should try our level best to point out the enemy. Failure in identification of enemy will mislead the direction of the struggle and essentially helps the enemy.

No doubt, Buddha, as a trusted dog of these companies played a major role in this carnage. But, resignation of Buddha won’t help us if they don’t cancel the policy of SEZ. We should not forget that Buddha has his successors---Nirupam, Binoy etc. Therefore, resignation of Buddha won’t hurt his masters if the policy continues. And, after the killings in Nandigram, the central commerce minister, Kamal Nath said that SEZ policy would not be canceled.

Under the circumstances, we do believe, to make sure that Nandigram will not happen again, we have to demand first, the nation-wide cancellation of SEZ and then the resignation issue should come.

And, this blog doubts whether it would be possible to expose the truth by any government sponsored agency. But, we should demand the enquiry and at the same time bring the reports of independent enquiries just to show how reluctant state machineries are to find out the truth (in reality how dedicated they are to hide the truth).

No comments: