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Three Years of Nandigram Firing: An Appeal

March 16, 2010

Sumit Sarkar, Tanika Sarkar, Dilip Simeon, Aseem Srivastava, Amita Baviskar, Amit Sengupta, Nandini Sundar, Satya Sivaraman and others

Nandigram: Punish the guilty, Pay compensation to victims now!

On the third anniversary of the horrific police firing in Nandigram, which occurred on 14 March 2007, we strongly condemn the failure of various state institutions to do justice to the victims and survivors of this violent attack on a peaceful mass movement.

Till date not a single police official, government bureaucrat or CPI (M) politician involved in the wanton massacre of peasants resisting forcible takeover of their land has been prosecuted. At least 14 people were killed in the incident and hundreds injured. Several independent inquiries and tribunals found that more than a dozen women had been sexually assaulted or raped. It is a matter of deep shame for Indian democracy that the men who were responsible for the barbaric violence – including persons in uniform and out of it – continue to roam with impunity.

The Calcutta High Court’s direction to the CBI to inquire into the violence in Nandigram on 14 March and to prosecute those responsible has not been carried out under various pretexts. These include litigation in the Supreme Court against this order, launched by the West Bengal government. That no clear judgment has been pronounced on this important issue till now only serves to lower the credibility of our judicial institutions. In light of the aftermath of the anti-Sikh carnage of 1984, we fear that as time goes on, evidence will be lost and witnesses intimidated. After some years, lip service will be paid to judicial procedure and the criminals will go scot-free. Such a sabotage of justice has happened before in West Bengal.
Compensation of Rs 5 lakhs has been paid to relatives of those who died on 14 March. But the Calcutta High Court order of 16 November 2007, directing compensation of Rs 2 lakhs to the women who were raped and Rs. 1 lakh each to the injured has not been implemented till date. That the West Bengal government has blocked the payment of this compensation to ordinary people grievously wronged by its own actions manifests a partisan spirit devoid of the most basic requirements of humanity.

There are also disturbing indications that the culture of violence and authoritarian control exercised by the CPI (M) in the past continues under the current domination of the Nandigram area by the Trinamool Congress. This would indicate a failure to learn any lessons from the past and prevent the building of a new political tradition that benefits the ordinary people instead of power-hungry political organisations.

On this sad anniversary we urge the citizens of India, and indeed the entire world, to continue to demand justice for the men and women of Nandigram and bring to book all those police officials and political cadre responsible for the atrocities of 14 March 2007.

Sumit Sarkar, New Delhi
Tanika Sarkar, New Delhi
Dilip Simeon, New Delhi
Aseem Srivastava, New Delhi
Amita Baviskar, New Delhi
Amit Sengupta, New Delhi
Nandini Sundar, New Delhi
Satya Sivaraman, New Delhi
Harsh Dhobal, New Delhi
Rabin Chakravarty, Kolkata
Santanu Chacraverti, Kolkata
Kavita Panjabi, Kolkata
Sanjay Mitra, Kolkata
Sumit Sinha, Kolkata
and others

4 Comments leave one →
  1. george john permalink
    March 17, 2010 5:10 AM

    As stated in the appeal it is just the refusal of the party to learn lessons .These classists always are unscrupulous.They will learn lessons of democracy only if they are deposed from the power on account of such anti people actions of the past.It may also require corrections on their undemocratic organisational structures that makes them blind to the fumes of wrath from the grassroots. Hope this appeal will have reverberations from all the nook and cranny of West Bengal.

  2. Surya permalink
    March 25, 2010 5:04 PM

    # A massacre is the killing of a large number of people at the same time in a violent and cruel way.

    How can you call Nandigram a massacre when the number of people killed during the police firing has been 14. More people died during the recent fire in Kolkata. The death of 14 people is surely regrettable, however, far serious tragedies have hit the people of this country.

    • asit guin permalink
      February 1, 2016 12:12 AM

      Charge sheet by CBI against police firing at Nandigram clearly states that there was NO SECRET OPERATION framed at Nandigram by LF-Govt. Police was compelled to shoot after receiving continuous one sided attack. The operation was executed after repeated declaration. On 14-Mar-2007, Police reached Nandigram to repair road that was distorted by Land Eviction Committee on January. The police was supposed to enter the place through broken fences. A huge crowd of 5000 people accumulated at other side of the bridge. Right after this, police was attacked after which they were compelled to counter attack. At first police was provided with sticks and shield bearer for defense followed by 47 rounds of tear gas. But after following all procedures as per regulations, police was at last compelled to shoot blank around ten times. Everything was done after numerous announcements by police. Yet, with the situation getting out of control the police was instruct for target firing. Initially it was said that the incident took lives of innocent people but the charge sheet reports say that police was compelled to counter attack after repeated pounces. ALREADY SIL COMMISION TOLD THAT DINHATA POLICE FIRING IS OK. WHAT IS WRONG WITH NANDIGRAM FIRING?

  3. asit guin permalink
    February 1, 2016 12:11 AM

    In the investigation of the Nandigram police firing, CBI found involvement of TMC. No evidence has been found that CPI (M) had infiltrated police & fired at innocents. Neither have they found any evidence of trawler filled dead bodies smuggled out of Nandigram. CBI failed to find any remains of slaughtered children. The story that emerged out of two charge-sheets filed by CBI in Haldia Court on Events of 18th March, 2007 was completely different from what Congress, Trinamul party, a section of intellectuals & the press had campaigned. It was this vicious campaign that galvanized public opinion against the 34 year LF govt. There were two incidents of shooting that day, Bhangabera Bridge & Gokulnagar. CBI had submitted two separate charge-sheets. What emerged was that there were armed miscreants hiding behind the assembled people, mainly women & children. They had fired on the police. The incident at Bhangaberia Bridge had 129 accused, four of them deceased. The first name on the list was one Ashok Mondol, a resident of Sonachura & Trinamul worker. His elder brother, Ajay Mondol was a Trinamul candidate in Panchayat elections & had become a Panchayat Samiti member. There was Subodh Patra, TMC candidate for 2003 Panchayat polls from Sonachura. Accused no. 116 was Sonachura resident Rabin Mondol, a local TMC leader. He had played a big role in yearlong terror & anarchy in that region. The key protagonist of this campaign, Krishnapada Mondol, was a TMC worker & relative of TMC leader, Nishikanta Mondol. Other accused, Rashbehari Khara, Prasenjit Karon, Gobinda Paik, Shankar Dalapati, Raghunath Dolui, Satyaranjan Manna, Lakhikanta Gayen, Robi Das were all known Trinamul workers & leaders. The list in the other charge-sheet on the Gokulnagar shooting too had TMC workers & leaders, a total of 37. Salil Das Adhikari & Sushil Das Adhikari are known TMC workers & related to TMC Panchayat Samiti member, Swadesh Das Adhikari. The other accused, Moni Rana, Prankrishna Das, Joydev Mondol, and Srimanta Mondol were known local workers of TMC. It is now clear that statements made by LF were correct. CBI came to two conclusions fairly early in its investigation, 1) State govt had not sent police to Nandigram secretly. There were numerous forewarnings after that area was cut off & administration stopped from entering the area. It was clearly declared that the police will go in to restore rule of law in the area & to carry out repairs to roads infrastructure destroyed ; 2) there was an illegal assembly by BUCP to stop the police from carrying out its job. Is it sheer coincidence that TMC Govt did not provide the permission to the CBI for interrogating the top police officials?

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