http://bharatam1.googlepages.com/Nandigrambhumiandsportingrifleswith.doc (with pictures)
Nandigram bhumi and sporting rifles with .315 cartridges
BS Raghavan who had served in the West Bengal Government bureaucracy wonders, in a typical process of delaying tactics to bury the gravest immorality committed in independent, swarajya Bharatam, ‘who did, what?’ http://www.rediff.com/news/2007/nov/14guest.htm
I have the privilege of presenting below an account by another serious bureaucrat, D. Bandhopadhyay. Read on…
Yes, Syed Ali Mujtaba (see article below). The people of Nandigram who suffered the atrocities of CPM goons had a faith. A faith in the punyabhumi which made their living worthwile. Hence the name, Bhumi Ucched Pratirodh.
No falsehoods paraded by Noam Chosmky’s of the world or Sitaram Yechury’s fraudulent pieces in Peoples’ Democracy can justify the immorality that is CPM.
What should be done? Ban the CPM, to start with and later, all the associates of this goon party in the so-called Left Front who are acquiescing in the mass-murders perpetrated by CPM.
Rifle with .315 in. caliber cartridges is said to be a sporting rifle and described as a product of the Indian Ordnance Factory. http://www.gunaccessory.com/IOF/315rifle.htm
The use of .315 cartridges is a proof that CPM hired goons created the killing fields of Nandigram.
That such rifles were used by the CPM hired goons is clear and emphatic. It is also emphatic that such rifles are NOT used by the police constabulary.
Who acquired and supplied these rifles to the goons who created the killing fields of Nandigram? CPM leadership has to answer this question and explain how they keep an ordnance depot to support the party activities. So much for the sham called peoples’ democracy. It is unfair to expect the West Bengal police to investigate the identity of the hired CPM goons or the sources of their guns and .315 cartridges. This is a job to be done by some agency to be established on the lines of the US FBI with full authority to investigate in any part of Bharatam and outside of Bharatam.
Hopefully, the establishment of such a trans-bharatiya investigating agency should be the first order of business of the next Central Government.
On Dec. 11, 2007 R.K. Sharma, CRPF 190 battalion commandant, said the shells do not belong to the police. 'The government has given permission for use of .315 bullets to those who have firearms license. It needs to be investigated how the ammunition came to Nandigram,' said Sharma, adding that normalcy has returned to Nandigram and people were returning to their homes.
A remarkable and factual account, since January 2007, of the killing fields of Nandigram is provided by D. Bandyopadhyay, an ex-Director of the Asian Development Bank, and ex-Finance Secretary (Revenue), Govt. of India (See article below). In scenes reminiscent of mediaeval barbarism, what happened in these killing fields is explained: “ ‘Revenge’ became the party’s buzz-word. The lost ground had to be regained at any cost. The government and the party fused into one. The bureaucracy and the police were brainwashed to treat the one for the other. Thirty years of one-party rule resulted in the total subversion of the neutrality and impartiality of the bureaucracy and the police. Instead of the “rule of law” they started believing in the “rule of the party”. Both became handy tools of the party bosses’ sinister game-plans to reconquer Nandigram in the same manner as the old zamindars used to fight to gain or regain territory… The State Government does not believe in the rule of law since such a regime of rule of law would go against the interests of the party members who are busy amassing illegal wealth and abusing power for their personal gain and for promoting group interest… deadly weapons like AK-47s and AK-56s, Ichhapore rifles, locally made shotguns and adequate ammunition were stored at vantage points. In this operation three Ministers and several MPs were involved. High explosive bombs started to be manufactured in a couple of places under the guidance of known “ustads” of the underworld. Incidentally, in one of the manufacturing units in Khejury, there was a nasty explosion which killed one of the “ustad” bomb-makers and two of his ‘chelas’ after which this story came out… deadly weapons like AK-47s and AK-56s, Ichhapore rifles, locally made shotguns and adequate ammunition were stored at vantage points. In this operation three Ministers and several MPs were involved. High explosive bombs started to be manufactured in a couple of places under the guidance of known “ustads” of the underworld. Incidentally, in one of the manufacturing units in Khejury, there was a nasty explosion which killed one of the “ustad” bomb-makers and two of his ‘chelas’ after which this story came out… Horrifying stories of gang rape were told by a few surviving victims in Tamluk hospital where they were undergoing treatment. Afroza Bibi, a rape victim stated that on November 11, 2007 when she had come back from the noon namaaz about 30 armed persons entered her house. They first started beating them up with butts of guns. Then Bachhu, Mir Ahshan, Kalu, S.K. Barik and Abdul Rauf raped her consecutively in presence of her second daughter (16) and youngest daughter (14). Other ruffians looked on. Then her two daughters were gangraped in her presence. Thereafter they kidnapped them. Afroza Bibi did not know where they had taken them. She further stated all of them were known persons. Equally horrifying was the experience of Krishna Pramanik (26). She was dragged away from the procession and gangraped publicly in a public field. She lost consciousness. All these stories were video recorded by volunteer medical personnel later on. (Biswaji Ghosh : Dainik Statesman, Kolkata, November 13, 2007, p. 3). I stop narrating any more story of bestiality and barbarity… AND what was the reaction of the Chief Minister Buddha Bhattacharjee ? After the “Reconquest of Nandigram” he held a formal press/media conference at the Writers’ Building. He said : “We paid them back in the same coin … Serves them right.” When a journalist asked him whether he was the Chief Minister of West Bengal or only of the CPI-M, the agitated CM shot back that the journal where the journalist worked had been writing provocative pieces for the last 11 months. In any other State such a paper would have been banned. But he did not do so because “I do not want to soil my hand by killing a stinking mole”. This paper is Bartaman, a well-reputed and well-respected Bengali newspaper with more than half-a-million circulation. Commenting on this outrageous observation of the Chief Minister, Ravindra Kumar, Editor of The Statesman, observed : “Unlike the protections granted to the judiciary and legislatures, the law—anticipating perhaps the quality of rulers we would give ourselves—does not characterise contempt of an administrator or of a Chief Minister as a crime. Mr Bhattacharjee’s comment is not only beneath contempt, but it is ominous.” (The Statesman, Kolkata, November 17, 2007).”
Mainstream, Vol XLV, No 50
Buddha’s Killing Fields of Nandigram !
lundi 3 décembre 2007, par D. Bandyopadhyay
It was a well-planned and equally well-executed bloody operation conducted by the armed marauders of the Communist Party of India- Marxist which started on and around November 5 and is still continuing with lesser intensity. The objective was simple and straightforward. It was to reoccupy several villages whose inhabitants were originally party loyalists who turned hostile to the party after the Haldia Development Authority published the notice regarding acquisition of land in 34 villages in Nandigram for establishing a “chemical hub”. That was on January 3, 2007. When anxious villagers went to a local Gram Panchayat Office to find out whether their homestead and agricultural lands were within the proposed area, the CPI-M Pradhan of the Gram Panchayat called the police to disperse the crowd. The police came. They lathicharged the crowd who refused to budge till they received a cogent reply. Then the police opened fire and retreated. In their panic and haste the police jeep hit a telegraph pole while driving at high speed. It overturned and caught fire. Villagers rescued the policemen from the overturned burning vehicle and allowed them to return to the police station safely. The CPI-M and the government falsely alleged that the violent crowed set fire to the jeep. If the crowd had any evil intention none of the policemen could have escaped serious injury or even death. Nothing happened to them excepting some minor injury due to the accident.
On January 7, 2007, the CPI-M goons attacked several villages in a pincer movement from land and river/canal. One Samanta family whose members owed allegiance to the CPI-M and through whose munificence they amassed huge wealth and among whom there was also an influential CPI-M local leader took the lead. From this CPI-M leader’s house shots were fired killing several innocent villagers who were caught unawares. In their rage villagers surrounded the house, killed the owner and set fire to the building. The loss of an ardent armed gang leader of the party was too hard an insult to swallow for the local party satrap, Lakshman Seth, of Haldia.
After Samanta’s death several families who were active office-bearers of the party and Panchayat left Nandigram out of fear to seek shelter in the neighbouring Khejury area which was and still now remains a CPI-M stronghold. The party and the government initially gave out a false figure of 15 thousand CPI-M active supporters having been driven out of Nandigram. The fact is that no one was driven out at that time. They left out of fright because of their closeness to active CPI-M operators who had been terrorising, intimidating, extorting the local people for their own private gain. There was an open outburst of suppressed public hatred and rage against them. It was expressed verbally without any physical violence. Altogether roughly 250 families fled away, many of them came back at the request of the local leaders and started living unmolested.
At first the Chief Minister denied that there was any notification by the government. Technically he was correct because the advance notice was given by the Haldia Development Authority (HDA) and not by the Land and Land Reforms Department. But that was mere semantics. He blamed the Opposition for creating trouble by spreading false rumours about acquisition. A newspaper published the photocopy of the notification the next day. Then the Chief Minister shifted his ground and stated that the HDA had no authority to publish such a notification. Again he committed an error because it was an advance notice and not a regular notification under the Land Acquisition Act. When he found that all his false statements were getting contradicted by document, he raved and roared saying “tear off that notice”, as if tearing off a copy of the notice would mean a change in the government’s decision to acquire 34,000 acres of land for the chemical hub to be set up by the Salem Group of Indonesia. After a few more farcical motions he announced that the project would be kept on hold for a while. He thought that that would pacify the angry peasants. They saw through the sinister game and got more angry. They organised themselves under the banner of the “Bhumi Uchhched Pratirodh Committee” (Committee for Resistance Against Forcible Eviction—BUPC). Thus began the battle for Nandigram.
Incidentally, Nandigram had been a red bastion for several decades. Way back in the late forties of the last century there was the tebhaga movement for the protection of the rights of sharecroppers. Bhupal Panda of the then united CPI led the movement. He was a legendary leader of the deprived and oppressed cultivators and agricultural labourers. The Left leanings of the inhabitants are more than six decades old. There was no “Opposition” party before the events of January 7, 2007. The CPI-M leadership cried “wolf” where there was none.
The CPI-M leadership started smarting sharply from the utter political humiliation they suffered in Nandigram. “Revenge” became the party’s buzz-word. The lost ground had to be regained at any cost. The government and the party fused into one. The bureaucracy and the police were brainwashed to treat the one for the other. Thirty years of one-party rule resulted in the total subversion of the neutrality and impartiality of the bureaucracy and the police. Instead of the “rule of law” they started believing in the “rule of the party”. Both became handy tools of the party bosses’ sinister game-plans to reconquer Nandigram in the same manner as the old zamindars used to fight to gain or regain territory.
AFTER two months of preparation the party and the government decided to strike back. Under the direction of the Police Minister, who was also the Chief Minister, about five battalions of armed policemen were mobilised. In addition, the CPI-M’s own armed cadres and roughs and goondas hired for the purpose were also deployed. The blueprint of the attack was prepared, as reported in the press, in the guest house of the Kolaghat Thermal Power Plant where the IG of Police, DIG of Police and the SP of East Midnapore along with the party bosses were present. The attack was planned on March 13. Reports of impending invasion were reaching a wide circle of public outside Nandigarm. The Governor of the State was at Chennai on March 13. He was informed of the imminent aggression on the peaceful peasantry of Nandigram. It must be put on record that strictly within his constitutional rights of advising and warning the government, the Governor advised utmost restraint to be shown in case of any police action. This was conveyed in no uncertain terms to the State Home Secretary by the Governor’s Secretary by the afternoon of March 13, 2007. These are all matters of record. No attack took place on March 13, 2007. On March 14 morning when the Governor was flying back to Kolkata from Chennai and was practically incommunicado, the operation started at 9.45 am. The armed police of the State and the armed goons of the party started indiscriminate fire on the unarmed children, women and men of Nandigram who were coming out of temples and mosques. Meanwhile roadblocks were set up all along on all the roads to Nandigram. These were manned openly by the CPI-M cadres aided and abetted by the police. Nobody from outside could go to Nandigram in the next 72 hours. So much so, that when the Governor wanted to visit Tamluk hospital on March 15, 2007, his convoy was obstructed by the CPI-M members on the road. When the Governor threatened to walk about 10 km alone leaving behind his convoy, on instructions from Kolkata, his motorcade was allowed to proceed to the hospital only and not beyond it.
There were various estimates regarding the number of persons killed, injured, missing and about the number of women raped and molested. The government obviously tried to suppress the facts. On the other side rumours spread that about hundred persons were killed whose bodies were taken away by the goons for disposal elsewhere. A group of non-partisan social scientists conducted a survey by the census method in 40 per cent of households in the affected villages a month-and-a-half after the event. They followed a strictly statistical methodology. Their findings are given below and in the following page.
Table 1 : Serious Physical Injury in Nandigram on March 14, 2007
Sl. Nature of Injury Male Female Total
1 Bullet injury 41 18 59
2 Rubber Bullet injury 22 15 37
3 Fibre Rod/Baton/Rifle butt injury etc. 108 12 120
4 Tear gas shell burst injury 14 12 26
5 Bomb injury 2 - 2
Total 187 57 244
Thus on March 14, 2007, 244 persons, including 57 women, suffered serious physical injuries ; 348 women suffered sexual atrocities of different kinds, including 11 rape cases ; 14 persons including two women were killed ; and four persons had been missing since March 14, 2007. These figures relate to only 40 per cent of the households in the affected villages.
Table 2 : Severe Atrocities on Women on March 14 and 15
SL.No. Nature of Torture Number
1 Physical Torture 274
2 Modesty Violation 46
3 Sexual Torture 17
4 Rape 11
Table 3 : Deaths on March 14, 2007
Male Female Total
12 2 14
Table 4 : Missing since March 14, 2007
Male Female Total
3 1 4
(Source : Sameekshak Samannaya : Nandigram March 14 ; September 2007, Kolkata, p. 13)
On March 15, 2007, the Governor expressed his “cold horror” while condemning the unnecessary and avoidable bloodbath. On the same day on a PIL petition the Calcutta High Court directed the CBI to enquire into the happenings in Nandigram and to submit a report within a week. The CBI found ample evidence of indiscriminate firing from both the police firearms and civilian firearms. They recovered empty shells of 315 sporting rifles. They found out an arsenal at the “Ma Janani” brick kiln in Khejury and arrested 10 goons with illegal firearms. They handed over these culprits to the State Police who released them all after 90 days deliberately without filing any chargesheet. With the presence of the CBI in the region peace was restored. Almost all the culprits fled away. The CBI submitted their preliminary report within seven days in a sealed cover to the High Court. The fact that all the miscreants were CPI-M supporters or hired by them was amply demonstrated by the CBI’s very limited enquiry. But what did the High Court do ?
The High Court initially did nothing. To make the report of the CBI public and to advise them to carry on the investigation, a number of PILs were filed. Instead of throwing out these petitions as not maintainable, the High Court gave a formal hearing which ended in July 2007. Delivering the judgement in the Nandigram killings case on November 16, 2007 the High Court held that the police firing there on March 14, in which 14 people had been killed, was wholly unjustified and violative of Article 21 of the Constitution. The Division Bench, which passed the order, stated that the CBI inquiry into the Nandigram incident would continue and asked the investigating agency to submit a comprehensive report to it (the HC) within a month. The Court rejected all the arguments of the State Government, including its plea for stay on the implementation of the HC’s order. So far so good. But if the order had come prior to the autumn recess of the High Court, perhaps the second wave of the more horrendous bloody events could have been avoided. Meanwhile, on the plea that matters were pending in the High Court the State Government did not take any legal action against the offenders, nor did it initiate any departmental action against any defaulting officer. Not a single arrest was made. The State Government does not believe in the rule of law since such a regime of rule of law would go against the interests of the party members who are busy amassing illegal wealth and abusing power for their personal gain and for promoting group interest. Though delayed, even in their darkest hour, this judgement came as a great morale booster for the suffering peasantry of Nandigram.
THE long silence of the judiciary emboldened the party leadership. They had been carrying on probing attacks from the Khejury side since mid-April onwards. But instead of being cowed down, the members of the BUPC stiffened their resistance. The party and its government could not tolerate such impudence from the unarmed organised peasantry who were their loyalists for so many decades. The failure to “reconquer” Nandigram was hurting the prestige and the image of the party leadership. From late September onwards party leaders at all levels started planning a bloody offensive to recapture Nandigram. It should be stated here that there were no “Opposition” parties in this area before the disturbance started. It was a people’s uprising. Other parties were trying to ride on the surf. They did not create the surf.
A six-stage blueprint was prepared which was finalised again in a meeting of senior police officers in the same guest house of Kolaghat Thermal Plant. First, an intensive propaganda blitz of disinformation and misinformation was launched. They said falsely that 15,000 (which later on was scaled down to 3500) of their supporters had been driven out. The party found that calling the Jamait-e-Ulema-e-Hind as a communal force could adversely affect its Muslim vote-bank, so they dropped its name. They brought in the Maoists instead. That was because it would be a music to the ears of Government of India, particularly the Ministry of Home Affairs. The State Government’s open anti-Maoist stand helped them to come nearer to the GOI. False stories were spread that Maoists and Trinamul Congress workers were organising arms training, building bunkers, gathering deadly weapons, including automatic rifles, mortar, mines etc, though the State Home Secretary in a recent interview stated that the police did not find any evidence of Maoist incursion in the area.
Secondly, large scale mobilisation of known assassins, killers, murderers on payment of money of Rs 12000, for each night of operation and payment of Rs 2 lakhs to the next of kin in case of death for ordinary soldiers started in earnest. A well-known mafia don from the coal region and his gang were also deployed. A group of dacoits of the Salim gang was requisitioned from South 24-Parganas. Outlaws from Garbeta region under the leadership of Tapan Ghosh and Sukur Ali, popularly known as “butchers of Garbeta and Chhoto Angaria”, were brought down from that area. In addition, known roughs and gangsters with their helpers were hired from Bankura, Purulia, West Medinipur and Arambagh of Hooghly. A known ruffian from Baruipur with his villainous followers was hired. Along with money they were provided with free shelter, food and alcohol etc. to keep them happy.
Thirdly, a six-pronged attack programme was chalked out to avoid known points of resistance of the BUPC.
Fourthly, to clear the deck for free and easy operation all police pickets along the Tekhali canal and other sensitive spots were withdrawn and the whole area was cordoned off to prevent ingress or egress of any “outsiders”.
Fifthly, deadly weapons like AK-47s and AK-56s, Ichhapore rifles, locally made shotguns and adequate ammunition were stored at vantage points. In this operation three Ministers and several MPs were involved. High explosive bombs started to be manufactured in a couple of places under the guidance of known “ustads” of the underworld. Incidentally, in one of the manufacturing units in Khejury, there was a nasty explosion which killed one of the “ustad” bomb-makers and two of his ‘chelas’ after which this story came out.
Sixthly, while experienced gang leaders were in charge of different sectors, some of the known CPI-M leaders were deployed as Political Commissars to these sector commanders.
The time given to the “Operation Reconquest” was seventytwo to ninetysix hours.
From around November 3 and 4, 2007, all roads leading to Nandigram were blocked by slogan-shouting CPI-M cadres. TMC leader Mamata Banerjee could go only up to Tamluk which was about 70 km away from Nandigram. Medha Patkar had to return twice, once from Kapasberia and the next time from Kolaghat, which is only an hour’s drive from Calcutta. No mediapersons, excepting one TV channel of their choice, were allowed to go. They are unable to go even now (November 17, 2007). Only one reporter of the Dainik Statesman stayed back as a part of the local population and sent graphic despatches.
WHEN the operation started it could not make any significant incursion due to the resistance of the BUPC volunteers. Then the BUPC made a major tactical error. They decided to take out two processions of their supporters on November 10 morning without any arms (not even with lathis) towards the peripheral villages under “red” occupation. In an absolutely military manner the CPI-M cadres ambushed these two processions from two points killing roughly 100 persons, injuring over 150 and capturing about 800 or so unarmed villagers. They also carried away most of the dead bodies and some wounded persons. Then they lit up a huge community funeral pyre where both the dead and some living injured persons were burnt alive. Their savagery far exceeded any recorded incident of cruelty and brutality of the Middle Ages.
Next day on November 11, 2007 the goons put in front the human shield of the captured persons and started moving in. Resisting them would mean killing their own men and women. Resistance leaders decided to withdraw en masse. Armed bandits entered the deserted villages of Sonachura, Gokulnagar and Garh Chakraberia. Reconquest of Nandigram was completed. As a token of conquest they planted red flags all over the area which BJP leader L.K. Advani himself witnessed on his visit to Nandigram. (Ashish Ghosh, Dainik Statesman, November 15, 2007) The stories of savagery that are trickling out are blood-chilling. Since these murderers do not obey any law, they could not care less about the laws of war. Major Aditya Bera (Retd.) settled down in his own village at Gokulnagar after retirement. On the morning of November 10, 2007, he joined hundreds of his co-villagers in a peaceful procession. As the procession approached the point of hidden ambush, the marchers faced intense fire. A bullet hit Major Bera. He had nothing in hand to fight back excepting his courage and loyalty to the nation with which he served for more than three decades as an officer of the Indian Army. He was dragged along and taken to a party operational headquarters for interrogation. Since he was a retired Major they thought he gave the BUPC tactical advice. He had nothing to tell them. Finding him of no operational value, they shot him dead and as a sign of primordial barbarity they beheaded him. Major Bera who earlier in life fought for mother India, died in the hands of villains of uncertain parentage. Kanai Sheet of Sonachura was the father of Khokan Sheet, a well-known leader of the BUPC. Both of them suffered bullet injuries. Khokan could escape. Kanai was not that lucky. He was taken to Khejury, tortured and killed because his son was resisting land acquisition. (Sukumar Mitra : Despatch from Nandigram : Dainik Statesman)
Horrifying stories of gang rape were told by a few surviving victims in Tamluk hospital where they were undergoing treatment. Afroza Bibi, a rape victim stated that on November 11, 2007 when she had come back from the noon namaaz about 30 armed persons entered her house. They first started beating them up with butts of guns. Then Bachhu, Mir Ahshan, Kalu, S.K. Barik and Abdul Rauf raped her consecutively in presence of her second daughter (16) and youngest daughter (14). Other ruffians looked on. Then her two daughters were gangraped in her presence. Thereafter they kidnapped them. Afroza Bibi did not know where they had taken them. She further stated all of them were known persons. Equally horrifying was the experience of Krishna Pramanik (26). She was dragged away from the procession and gangraped publicly in a public field. She lost consciousness. All these stories were video recorded by volunteer medical personnel later on. (Biswaji Ghosh : Dainik Statesman, Kolkata, November 13, 2007, p. 3)
I stop narrating any more story of bestiality and barbarity.
AND what was the reaction of the Chief Minister Buddha Bhattacharjee ? After the “Reconquest of Nandigram” he held a formal press/media conference at the Writers’ Building. He said : “We paid them back in the same coin … Serves them right.” When a journalist asked him whether he was the Chief Minister of West Bengal or only of the CPI-M, the agitated CM shot back that the journal where the journalist worked had been writing provocative pieces for the last 11 months. In any other State such a paper would have been banned. But he did not do so because “I do not want to soil my hand by killing a stinking mole”. This paper is Bartaman, a well-reputed and well-respected Bengali newspaper with more than half-a-million circulation. Commenting on this outrageous observation of the Chief Minister, Ravindra Kumar, Editor of The Statesman, observed : “Unlike the protections granted to the judiciary and legislatures, the law—anticipating perhaps the quality of rulers we would give ourselves—does not characterise contempt of an administrator or of a Chief Minister as a crime. Mr Bhattacharjee’s comment is not only beneath contempt, but it is ominous.” (The Statesman, Kolkata, November 17, 2007)
Gopalkrishna Gandhi, the Governor of West Bengal, a noble soul, issued a statement on the happenings of Nandigram on November 9, 2007 to discharge his constitutional duty as a Governor “to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and the law”. He observed, inter alia, “ … But 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 had been violently obstructed. Some of them were bearing relief articles for the homeless. The treatment meted to Smt Medha Patkar and other associates of hers last evening (November 8, 2007) was against all norms of civilised political behaviour.” He advised the State Government to take certain immediate steps. “These include (i) immediate return of the ingressers ; (ii) the giving of urgent relief to the displaced persons in Nandigram ; and (iii) the facilitation of their return to their homes. I have also asked the administration to remove the new unauthorised manmade blocks at entry points to (here he mentions names of four different roads) … Let me conclude by saying : Enough is enough. Peace and security should be restored without any delay.”
That was November 9. Full-blooded operations with primordial bestiality and cruelty continued for another 48 hours, that is, till November 11, 2007. Even today sporadic killings and mayhem are continuing in the presence of the CRPF and the State Police. Obviously the threat of pulling the rug by the CPI-M has totally paralysed and incapacitated the UPA Government at the Centre. As a result, they are unable to issue appropriate directive under Article 355 of the Constitution to restore the rule of law in Nandigram and elsewhere in West Bengal after such a severe indictment of the State Government by the Governor and the Calcutta High Court.
The author was the Secretary to the Government of India, Ministries of Finance (Revenue) and Rural Development, and the Executive Director, Asian Development Bank, Manila.
Outsiders' hand in Nandigram firing confirmed
9 Dec 2007, 0101 hrs IST , TNN
NANDIGRAM: CBI investigators probing the Nandigram firing on March 14 have identified at least 27 outsiders in khaki who moved with the police force to break the barricade that the Trinamul Congress-led Bhumi Uchchhed Pratirodh Committee supporters had put up in the villages.
Investigators got the lead from the video footage of the carnage recorded by none other than the police and cross-checked it with on-the-spot interrogation of more than 50 villagers and two police officers present on the day of the firing.
CBI officers then summoned villagers, owing allegiance to both the parties — CPM and BUPC, and questioned them with video footage on display. The process helped them to spot the men in khaki — a little different from police uniform difficult to differentiate from a distance. These men, according to CBI, were heavily armed and moving with the police. The footage showed that these men, unlike the police, had no shoes.
It was evident from the footage that while the police posted on Bhangabera Bridge was busy asking villagers to make way for the police, these "cops" sneaked into the crowd with batons and started chasing them. According to the CBI, this was enough provocation for the crowd to turn violent. Angry villagers then started pelting stones at the police.
In the melee, these men chased some of the BUPC supporters with fire arms. Locals reportedly identified them as CPM workers. CBI officers have recorded their version and verified their presence in the procession from the footage. Their statements corroborated the video recording of the incident by and large. Investigators have reasons to believe that these outsiders on khaki sparked the violence.
Four CBI teams on Saturday visited Sonachura, Adhikaripara and Gokulnagar villages in Nandigram. A team met Sushil Das Adhikari whose brother Salil Das Adhikari sustained bullet injuries on March 14. Sushil was also with the procession. Both brothers were present at the Gokulnagar’s Malpara where BUPC supporters had assembled.
The CBI team is now looking for men in khaki. It has interrogated a few local CPM activists who reportedly refused to identify them. They claimed that some CPM supporters of Sonachura and Bhangabera villages were present with the police as they were forced to join and guide them. But they denied the charge that these men were carrying firearms and chased away BUPC supporters.
CBI officers on Saturday recovered more charred bones and fire arms — a .303 rifle and an improvised gun from the Talpati Canal. They said the charred bones along with those found at the five graves at Khejuri might have a connection with the March 14 carnage.
That explains why the team has also collected a detail list of the missing persons since March 14. While the CBI did its bit, a CID team under IG (I) D P Tarenia visited the dreaded spot at Bamanchak village on Saturday from where the charred remains were recovered only the other day. Family members of Bacchan Garudas, Srimanta Das and Sunil Bar killed in a blast on October 27 at Sherkhanchawk, claimed that the bones were those of their relatives and asked the police to hand them over.
Within a day after the state government ordered the CID inquiry into the mystery graves, the police rounded up 15 people including a CPM local committee member on charges of rioting and attempt to murder.
Bullets found in Jantiboni
Express news service
Posted online: Wednesday, December 12, 2007 at 12:00:00
Updated: Wednesday, December 12, 2007 at 01:35:10
Kolkata, December 11 Several bullets and bullet cases were found lying scattered in a paddy field in Nandigram today. Interestingly, the bullets were discovered in the same area — Jantiboni near Parulbari village in Maheshpur — where a grave was found yesterday.
“Locals harvesting paddy in the fields spotted the bullets and alerted us. The bullets are of .303 rifles. We will hand them over to the local police soon,” said Deputy Inspector General Alok Raj, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
Digging of the grave is yet to begin as no magistrate visited the spot today.
Superintendent of Police (East Midnapore) S S Panda said the police had already sought permission from the magistrate at Haldia to dig the grave. The digging can start only after obtaining permission from the magistrate.
Preliminary reports suggested that the grave was freshly dug.
Meanwhile, Nandigram police arrested two persons today. Joydev Paik, a Bhumi Uchhed Partirodh Committee (BUPC) supporter, was arrested from Sonachura.
Locals alleged that Paik sheltered Maoists at his house during the movement in Nandigram. Gopal Jana, a CPM supporter, was arrested from Keyakhali in Nandigram Block (II) today.
CPM cadres had raided Keyakhali and destroyed several huts there in October.
A Nandigram police officer said the two were arrested with the help of the CRPF personnel in the area.
Kolkata, Telegraph, Issue Date: Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Used bullets found near ‘graveyard’
The bullets found on Tuesday. (Jahangir Badsa)
Nandigram/Calcutta, Dec. 11: The CRPF today found spent .315-calibre cartridges and torn cardboard boxes marked “Pune” in Parulbari village a day after two suspected graves were spotted there.
Assistant commandant A.K. Upadhyay said 23 “rimmed cartridges” were found during a raid in the area and were handed over to police for investigation.
The boxes suggest that the cartridges were manufactured at the Kirkee ordnance factory in Pune. But neither the police nor the paramilitary uses .315-calibre cartridges, a police officer said.
Those with licensed .315 rifles can buy the bullets from authorised gun shops and ordnance factory outlets.
Parulbari is on the fringes of Maheshpur, which had witnessed heavy gun battles between CPM and Bhoomi Uchchhed Pratirodh Committee activists from October 28 to November 6.
The CPM took control of Jambari village, a kilometre from where the cartridges were found, on November 6. The next day, the cadres recaptured Parulbari and Maheshpur.
“It appears that either the Pratirodh Committee or the CPM or both had these bullets. The police never opened fire in this area,” an officer said.
Home secretary Prasad Ranjan Ray said the CID would dig up the graves found yesterday in the presence of an executive magistrate. He had an hour-long meeting with chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and chief secretary A.K. Deb on Nandigram.
Many villagers whose family members have gone missing during the land war came to Parulbari today, hoping to find their bodies.
Among them were Dilip Maity and Sukdeb Singha, who had cycled nearly 20km from Southkhali village.
Sukdeb’s elder brother Balaram, 28, and Dilip’s elder brother Bhagirath, 30, went missing from the Pratirodh Committee rally that was fired at on November 10.
“We started to run for our lives when the CPM cadres started firing. I didn’t see Bhagirath after that,” said Dilip.
Body with bullet holes dug out
- Wife of BUPC supporter says shirt belonged to her husband
Shyamali Pramanick, who identified the body that was dug out as her husband’s, looks at the grave. (Jahangir Badsa)
Nandigram, Dec. 12: A body with two bullet holes was to- day dug out of the suspected grave that had been found in Parulbari village.
A woman, Shyamali Pramanick, saw the decomposed remains and said it was that of her husband’s.
Haren, aged around 37, was a Bhoomi Uchchhed Pra- tirodh Committee supporter. His family said he went missing on November 7 while returning home from the Nandigram block hospital, where his father was being treated for a heart ailment.
Shyamali and her sister-in-law Sephali identified Haren by his blue striped shirt and a talisman around the waist.
“We had received a missing diary about Haren Pramanick. Now we will treat it as a murder case,” said East Midnapore superintendent of police S.S. Panda.
CBI superintendents Sujit Pandey and R.R. Sahay also visited the spot to probe whether the exhumed body had anything to do with the March 14 police firing.
Maheshpur, adjoining Parulbari, and its neighbouring villages had witnessed heavy gun battles between CPM and Pratirodh Committee supporters from October 28 to the first week of November.
Hundreds thronged Parulbari this morning as news that the body would be dug out spread. They were covering their nose to ward off the stench as the body was being pulled out.
After about half an hour of digging, the spades hit something hard and a human skull with tufts of hair could be seen. Further digging revealed a rotting and torn gunny bag, through which a pair of navy blue trousers stuck out. The dead man had his hands tied behind his back.
“One bullet had pierced the abdomen and the other the shoulders,” a police officer said.
As soon as the body was exhumed, committee conveners Sheikh Sufiyan and Abdus Samad claimed that it was Pramanick’s. They called Shyamali and Sephali to identify it.
“I could not recognise the face. But when the dirt was removed from the shirt, I recog-nised it. A close look and I could make out it was him,” Shyamali said, clutching her nine-year-old son Toton and crying .
“We also identified the ghunshi (talisman) my brother wore,” said Sephali.
“My father (Bhushan, 65) lost his will to live after hearing about his only son’s death. He passed away on November 30. We performed his shraadh today before coming here.”
Parulbari is about 2km from Kamalpur, where the Pramanicks live.
The CRPF today found a used 9mm bullet and a spent .315 cartridge from the area. Twenty-three used .315 cartridges were found yesterday.
Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee will make a statement on the role of the CRPF in Nandigram in the Assembly tomorrow.
CPM leaders had been accusing the force of harassing villagers from the time it arrived in Nandigram.
The CPM state secretariat met this evening to finalise the contents of the statement. The chief minister and the home secretary had earlier lauded the role of the CRPF.
A group of party MPs led by Basudev Acharya will visit Nandigram tomorrow.
Body recovered from another Nandigram grave
Express news service
Posted online: Thursday, December 13, 2007 at 0000 hrs IST
KOLKATA, DECEMBER 12
A decomposed body was unearthed on Wednesday from the second grave found by the CRPF in Maheshpur in Nandigram. The wife and neighbours of Haren Pramanik, a 32-year-old resident of Takapura in Nandigram, claimed the body was his.
Pramanik was last seen on November 7, a day after armed CPI(M) cadres started entering Nandigram and engaged in bloody skirmishes with the Bhumi Ucched Pratirodh Committee (BUPC). At least 35 persons had been reported missing during the period.
"We looked everywhere, but failed to trace him. A few people say he was last seen running away from the site of a clash. Today, I and his wife Shyamali identified him," said Swapan Mondol, the victim's neighbour. According to police sources, the body had injury marks on the back and on the shoulders.
The CPI(M) was guarded in its reaction to the discovery. "Let there be more tests. Four or five people are missing there, some are our supporters. Our rivals can claim anything, let the investigation be completed. One must remember that the area was under their control for 11 months," said CPI(M) central committee member Shyamal Chakraborty.
But the Trinamool Congress claimed it was indeed the body of Pramanik. "He was our supporter and was abducted from Maheshpur on the day CPI(M) cadres fired on our rally.
Later, he was murdered and put in a grave in the middle of a paddy field. His father died days after he went missing. It is because of the strict CRPF vigil and our mass support that the truth is coming out. This validates our claim," said Sisir Adhikary, TMC leader and MLA from Contai.
The grave was discovered by locals working at the paddy field on December 10. They informed CRPF men, who then cordoned off the area. Following the discovery, a huge cache of bullets, both live and used, were also unearthed from near the grave.
Cartridge shells, ammunition packs found in Nandigram
Dec 11, 2007, 17:53 GMT
Kolkata, Dec 11 (IANS) Several cartridge shells and ammunition were recovered from Nandigram Tuesday, a day after a new burial mound was found in the violence-torn West Bengal area.
The police said about 25 empty shells of .315 bullets and four packets of the ammunition, each containing 10 cartridges, were recovered from near the burial mounds at Parulbari near Nandigram. The ammunition had the markings of a Pune factory.
'The empty cartridges were recovered by Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel. A gun battle had occurred in the same area a few days ago. But we can't confirm if the ammunition was used during the 'recapture' of Nandigram by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) cadres last month,' East Midnapore police superintendent S.S. Panda told IANS.
'We have informed the Haldia Chief Judicial Magistrate about the new grave found Monday,' Panda said.
Meanwhile, West Bengal Home Secretary Prasad Ranjan Roy ordered a Criminal Investigation Department (CID) inquiry into the new burial mound.
Earlier, five burial mounds were found on the side of a road at Khejuri, near Nandigram, from which charred skeletal remains were unearthed.
The charred bones were later sent to the State Forensic Science Laboratory for tests.
Meanwhile, local villagers alleged the cartridge shells were left behind by armed CPI-M cadres who entered Nandigram through Parulbari area Nov 7 and launched a fierce attack on rival Bhumi Ucched Pratirodh Committee (BUPC) activists.
R.K. Sharma, CRPF 190 battalion commandant, said the shells do not belong to the police. 'The government has given permission for use of .315 bullets to those who have firearms license. It needs to be investigated how the ammunition came to Nandigram,' said Sharma, adding that normalcy has returned to Nandigram and people were returning to their homes.
CRPF personnel are patrolling all the violence-hit areas, he said.
Nandigram, about 150 km from here in East Midnapore district, flared up over proposed land acquisition for a special economic zone (SEZ), including a chemical hub - a plan that was scrapped by the state government later in the face of stiff resistance.
Thirty-five people have died in violence in Nandigram since January this year. A fresh bout of violence broke out in November after ruling CPI-M cadres allegedly recaptured their lost bases in the area by launching a massive onslaught on the rival anti-land acquisition BUPC.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007 11:58:00 PM
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Dissidents in CPI(M) helping find more graves in Nandigram
NEW DELHI: After the recovery of several human bones and seven graves in Nandigram, the men in uniform are now being helped by CPI(M) dissidents to uncover more graves. Explosives, live bombs and weapons have also been seized in the past few days.
“We have so far uncovered seven graves, but there is a strong possibility there could be many more. What we have found could be the tip of the iceberg,” said a senior official involved in the operations in Nandigram.
The officer added that since the paramilitary force was new to the area and did not know the terrain, it was relying on CPI(M) dissidents to locate new graves and recover weapons.
“We have no option but to rely on the inputs given by them. This is not our job but we are doing it considering the extent of the problem,” said the officer, adding that they have prepared a list of people who have gone missing after the violence.
“The list was prepared on the basis of complaints made by people. We gave the list to local police since it is not our job to find missing people,” he added.
The paramilitary force has also recovered 44kg of IEDs.
Nandigram Scars- A question of faith
A lot has been written on the 'intra-proletariat struggle' being witnessed at Nandigram, some 90 miles from the eastern metropolis of Kolkata. Some described it as a clash between the agrarian forces and those who favor industrialization. Others said it was a revolt against the dictatorship of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) that rules West Bengal for the last four decades.
Many others blame it on the Opposition in West Bengal particularly the Trinamool Congress that attempted to cash on the discontentment of the people of Nandigram. Notwithstanding, the Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee's apology.
The general summary is that Nandigram essentially was a people's war, a faithless commotion with no religious overtones. Those who look for the religious angle there are the reactionary elements and such voices should be marginalized.
However, according to the BJP the majority of the victims of the clashes in Nandigram were those belonging to the Muslim minority community. The BJP for the first time has come out to speak in favor of the oppressed Muslim community since it sees in Nandigram an opportunity to break the CPM stronghold in West Bengal.
It is pertinent to recall, that the Nandigram fracas has its genesis in the West Bengal Government's decision to create a Special Economic Zone there with an eye on getting foreign investment and industrial development. It decided to permit an Indonesian firm to build a chemicals plant across the Haldia River from the Haldia port, in Nandigram. On the grounds that the SEZ in Nandigram would create about 100,000 direct and indirect jobs and a lot of people would be benefited by this project. Little did the CPM realize that by trying to replicate the Chinese model of a SEZ, wherein the Government forcibly evicted the people from their lands, at a price determined by the Government, it would become the bugbear for the State Government.
The landowners of Nandigram, who are mostly Hindus, grudgingly seemed to have accepted the deal, but the local Muslim people who were dependent on the land as sharecroppers opposed the idea of the SEZ. They argued that as they did not own the land they would be displaced without any compensation being paid to them. This created a rift between the CPM and the local people. The CPM cadres forcibly tried to clear up the area but those residing there resisted such moves.
In walked the Opposition leader Mamata Bannerjee, who saw this controversy as an opportunity to embarrass the CPM Government. She brought her own supporters along with the Maoists guerrillas with guns to fight the CPM Government thus igniting the turf war in Nandigram.
On 14 March 2007, the CPM Government sent the police to Nandigram to clear the place. The local unarmed people with the women and children in the frontlines blocked the road and resisted the police. Acting in the most fascist manner the police opened fire at the mob and over a dozen people were killed in that incident. However, the local people managed to keep the CPM cadres at bay and refused to let them enter Nandigram.
According to independent investigations, the bullets used in Nandigram during the March 14 conflict were not the standard ones normally used by the West Bengal police force. Giving rise to the conclusion that the CPM cadres had disguised themselves as the police and fired on the unarmed local people resisting them. These findings greatly agitated the locals who expelled the CPM supporters with the backing of the Maoists and forced them to live in relief camps.
After the violence of March 14, the Government announced that the land acquisition proposal for the SEZ had been shelved. However, even after that the tension in Nandigram failed to subside on the ground. The CPM was hell bent on clearing the area of the Maoists and Trinamool cadres. But there was no let up in the resistance against any such moves.
The CPM finally planned "Operation Take Back" to reclaim Nandigram. They sent truck loads of their cadres to overpower the protesters and reclaim the land. Brutal violence and clashes followed but in the end the CPM cadres managed to get into Nandigram. Announcing victoriously that they had committed the same kind of violence that the Modi Government had indulged in Gujarat. Including arson, looting, killings, and mothers raped in front of their daughters, daughters in front of others et al. The horror tales too terrifying to tell.
Sadly, at the end of the day, the victim of the Nandigram controversy is the landless poor labourer. These share croppers or the proletariat belong to the minority Muslim community. Be that as it may, however, Nandigram cannot be compared with Gujarat where the oppressed belonged to the Muslim community and the perpetrators were of the Hindu faith.
In the case of Nandigram it was the CPM cadres that were in the forefront of the oppression and many among them belonged to the Muslim faith as well. But, there is little doubt that the majority who suffered in Nandigram were those belonging to the Muslim minority community.
The horror tales of Nandigram against the Muslim community were so inflaming that it brought the Muslim youth of Kolkata to the streets to vent their anger. The incense of Taslima Nasreen was always there round the corner. This was aggravated by the CPM Government's complicity in the Rizwan murder case.
Whether the fury which spilled on the streets of Kolkata was the work of the vandals or the Jacobins that would unseat the CPM Government can be debated. But one thing is certain: those furious people did have a faith!
Syed Ali Mujtaba, INFA