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Archive for November 11th, 2007

Turf battle continues in Nandigram

Posted by Indian Vanguard on November 11, 2007

Sunday, 11 November , 2007, 13:30

Kolkata: A day after gun battles raged in West Bengal’s Nandigram claiming two lives, tension continued to simmer in the region. Ripples of the tension were also felt in Kolkata, the seat of power of the 30-year-old communist regime, with the non-Marxist constituents of the Left Front keeping the heat on the government to act.

West Bengal Public Works Department Minister Kshiti Goswami, of the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) who had on Saturday desired to resign from the government in protest, said he would not attend his office from Monday.

Nandigram in East Midnapore district erupted in gun battles on Saturday after activists of the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) allegedly fired on an unarmed procession of rival Bhumi Uchched Pratirodh Committee (BUPC) members, killing two and injuring several others.

Full coverage: Farmers vs SEZ

Meanwhile, the three Left Front allies – the Forward Bloc, RSP and Communist Party of India (CPI) – have called an emergency meeting Sunday of the “mini-front” to discuss the situation in Nandigram.

“We, all three Left partners, have called the meeting to discuss the issue of fresh violence in Nandigram. All senior party leaders are expected to attend the meeting,” CPI state secretary Manju Kumar Majumdar told IANS.

Majumdar said that his party would act upon the decision taken by the left partners at the meeting.

Senior CPI leader and West Bengal Water Resource Development Minister Nanda Gopal Bhattacharya said the meeting would decide how to initiate peace process and stop violence in Nandigram.

A disgruntled Kshiti Goswami said, “It’s the sole responsibility of the state government to protect people in Nandigram. I don’t know if they are CPI-M or Trinamool Congress activists. To me, they all are human beings.”

However, some TV channels reported of sporadic firing in some areas like Tekhali in the area. The channels say five people were killed in the violence, but the official death toll was two till Sunday morning.

“The situation is volatile and fresh gun battles can start any minute,” said a photojournalist covering the violence in Nandigram.

Trinamul Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee, whose convoy was stopped near Kolaghat Saturday night by the CPI-M cadres, has left for Nandigram.

The fresh violence on Saturday prompted the Trinamool Congress chief to resign as MP.

In Kolkata, the intelligentsia rallied behind a fasting Medha Patkar and other human rights activists as they boycotted a state-organised film festival.

Over the past week, the CPI-M launched a massive offensive against the BUPC in Nandigram to regain its lost ‘bases’. Their cadres entered village after village and allegedly torched houses belonging to the rival groups.

Violence in Nandigram has claimed 34 lives since January, when the region flared up over proposed land acquisition for a special economic zone (SEZ). The state government scrapped the plan later in the face of stiff resistance.

However, a turf battle continues in Nandigram between the CPI-M and the BUPC in the run-up to local bodies elections in May next year.

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West Bengal: Maoists to resist Jambani acquisition

Posted by Indian Vanguard on November 11, 2007

Rajib Chatterjee

KOLKATA, Nov. 10: Maoist rebels are organising people to resist the state government’s decision to acquire land for the proposed steel project at Jambani by the Jindal Group of Industry.

A total 500 acres of land would be taken from private parties for the project while the remaining 4,500 acres of land is vested.
The CPI (Maoist) has spread its wing to Jambani and three other neighbouring blocks in Midnapore (West), said a senior state intelligence official posted at Jhargram. A suspected Maoist insurgent, who was arrested from Kalabati Jungle area near Binpur on 7 November night, along with four of his associates, told the police during interrogation that CPI (Maoist), has formed three frontal organisations at four new blocks in Midnapore (West), including Jambani where a steel plant will come up on 5,000 acres of land. Requesting anonymity, the senior state police officer, said: “Activists belonging to the CPI (Maoist) have formed Gram Rakshi Bahinis, Gana Pratirodh Bahinis and Jana Sangharsha Bahinis at a large number of villages in Jambani, Kharagpore, Nayagram and Gopiballavpur, which are the latest additions to the list of Maoist-infested blocks in the state.” The existence of Maoist insurgents at Jambani and three other neighbouring blocks came to the notice of the police following interrogation of one suspected Maoist rebel, Balak Mahato, who was arrested from Kalabati Jungle area in Binpore on Wednesday night. It was learnt that Mahato, a resident of Belpahari and his associates belong to People Liberation Guerilla Army of CPI (Maoist).

The five Maoist rebels, who were remanded in police custody after being produced before the court, are currently being interrogated by senior district police officers.

The intelligence branch official said, the Naxal outfit has taken initiatives to strengthen their “counter intelligence network” to gather more information about the movement of police. The official, however, refused to disclose anything about the outfit’s “counter intelligence network.” A report is being prepared about Maoist activities in Jambani, Kharagpore, Nayagram and Gopiballavpur and it would be sent to the headquarter of the state police, said the officer. The state police administration has already taken some new initiatives to strengthen the surveillance in Maoist infested blocks in Bankura, Purulia, Midnapore (East) and Midnapore (West) districts. Former deputy commissioner of the city police’s detective department, Mr Ajoy Kumar, who was transferred after his name figured in the Rizwanur death case, has been made special superintendent of the state intelligence branch’s left wing extremism, said a senior state police officer.

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West Bengal:Chhota Angaria accused held

Posted by Indian Vanguard on November 11, 2007

MIDNAPORE, Nov. 10: Two prime accused in the 2001 Chhota Angaria mass killings wanted by the CBI ~ Tapan Ghosh and Sukur Ali ~ were among eight persons arrested in Egra today while fleeing in an ambulance and three other vehicles with three BUPC members injured in Nandigram whom they had abducted, alleged Trinamul MLA for Egra Mr Sisir Adhikary.

He said one of the cars belonged to the Khejuri panchayat committee (WB29 3500) and bore a state government sticker. Ghosh, a CPI-M Midnapore (W) district committee member, and Sukur Ali were intercepted by locals this evening. Mr Adhikary said one of the injured persons was a 65-year-old woman whose cries were heard by residents when the ambulance carrying her was passing by. The IG (law & order) confirmed the arrest of eight persons in Egra but declined to give details. A CBI team has left for Egra to arrest the duo. SNS

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Bullet victims stuck in Red roadblock

Posted by Indian Vanguard on November 11, 2007


Tamluk, Nov. 10: CPM supporters stopped ambulances carrying those injured in firing by their comrades at four points on the Nandigram-Chandipur road this afternoon.

An hour’s drive from Nandigram to the district hospital in Tamluk took almost two hours more when every minute was worth a life.

“Police intervened at all four places to get the ambulances going again,” East Midnapore additional superintendent of police Debashis Boral said.

Sheikh Salim, who was driving one of the vehicles, said he was stopped at Fulni More, Reyapara, Hanschora and Magrajpur.

“The cadres refused to budge, though we pleaded with them to spare us,” Salim said.

The police said Gautam Das, Ashis Pandit, Tapas Khatua and Jadav Maity were being brought to Tamluk as their condition had deteriorated. Two of them were later shifted to Calcutta. Three others were brought to Tamluk in a police jeep.

Pandit, who was hit in the abdomen, alleged that he heard a CPM man say at Fulni More that their ploy was to dim their chances of survival.

“The CPM cadres were not satisfied killing our men,” said Sisir Adhikary, the Trinamul Congress MLA from Egra.

He alleged that CPM cadres secretly took away many people injured by their bullets.

Eight men were arrested tonight when they were taking some of the injured to Egra.

Adhikary said Sukur Ali and Tapan Ghosh, who were involved in the Chhoto Angaria “massacre” six years ago, were among those held. The two were shown as absconders in CBI records. Seven persons were allegedly burnt to death at Chhoto Angaria — in West Midnapore — in 2001.

Western range deputy inspector-general N. Ramesh Babu confirmed the arrests but refused to say whether Ali and Ghosh were in custody.

East Midnapore police chief S.S. Panda said: “The situation is really tense after two Bhoomi Uchchhed Pratirodh Committee members were killed and 20 others were injured in Maheshpur today.”

He conceded that the police could not provide security to committee members marching peacefully, but added that the administration had not approved the march.

As the first procession comprising women and children reached Dhanyakhal around 12.30pm, the CPM supporters present there retreated seeing the turnout.

When the procession led by committee convener Abu Taher reached Maheshpur, 3km away, CPM goons started firing. Sheikh Rezaul, 38, was riddled with bullets.

Around the same time, two more processions from Garchakraberia and Sonachura reached Barnagar, 2km from Maheshpur. Shyamali Majumdar, 33, was shot dead there.

Hundreds ran to the makeshift relief camps for cover.


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Nandigram:New life in shadow of death- ‘CM, kill us with your own hands’

Posted by Indian Vanguard on November 11, 2007


A mother and child in a camp for the homeless being run by the Bhoomi Uchchhed Pratirodh Committee. Telegraph picture

Nandigram, Nov. 10: Her leg fractured, Gita Mondal lay sobbing in a camp, a three-day-old infant by her side.

Her husband Anurag huddled close to her, eyes blank with despair.

The young couple had fled their home on Monday night, crawled through fields of paddy and walked miles before getting on a cycle-van to reach the camp, where Gita gave birth to the girl on Thursday.

Part of the way, Anurag had even carried his 25-year-old pregnant wife after she fell and fractured her left leg.

“For a moment, I thought I would have a miscarriage,” Gita cried.

The couple may have es- caped death by a whisker, but they don’t know if they can ever return to their home in Satengabari.

They aren’t the only ones staring at an uncertain future. A few thousand villagers from Daudpur, Amgechhia, Jambari, Simulkundu, Brindabanchowk, Tekhali, Nainan, Kanungochowk, Takapura, Satengabari, Ranichowk, Kamalpur and Keyakhali have been living in refugee camps in Nandigram town since CPM mobs stormed these villages and forced them to flee.

All these villages found mention in governor Gopal-krishna Gandhi’s press release where he said people had been “intimidated into leaving their homes”.

Around 60 families from Satengabari have taken shelter in a Nandigram school and nearby camps.

“But death can come any moment. What will happen to our daughters then?” whispered Daudpur resident Lakshmi Sasmal, 55. “The chief minister should come and kill us with his own hands if he cannot stop his men.”

Her husband Nemai sat facing a wall.

The couple were planning their eldest daughter’s wedding when the Red Brigade in- vaded the village. Their three daughters were asleep in another room. “They attacked from all sides. We came out of the house and ran towards Nandigram town,” Nemai, who owns three bighas, said.

Now he doesn’t know if he can ever go back. Even if he does, he has to build his home from scratch. The raiders had torched it before leaving the village.

Forty-five-year-old Ram Das and his wife Bimala were heading back home towards Ranichowk when the fresh violence began.

“We heard gunshots and returned to the camp where we had been staying. Later, we came to know that our house had been torched like those of the others in our village,” Bimala said.

The couple’s two sons — one 18, the other 16 — are staying with a relative in Sonachura. “But they are not safe there, too, as the CPM cadres will attack Sonachura now,” Bimala said.

Ashok Sarkar, the Nandigram I block divisional officer, said nearly 10,000 people have taken shelter in the four camps. “They are living in pathetic conditions. We have asked police to give them protection. But the police are in no-man’s land here,” he said, welcoming the move to send central forces to Nandigram.

For people like Gita and Anurag, the decision may have come too late. “We don’t know if we can keep our baby alive,” Gita mumbled between her tears. “The firing doesn’t seem to stop.”


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Orissa:Two naxalites injured in encounter

Posted by Indian Vanguard on November 11, 2007

Jamshedpur (PTI): Two naxalites were on Saturday injured in an encounter with a joint combing team near Barunia in extremist-hit Ghatsila sub-division of Jharkhand.

The encounter took place after the police and CRPF started long range patrolling in naxalite-stronghold areas of the sub-division following a tip-off that a group of CPI(Maoist) ultras had gathered in a jungle near the village, the police said.

Police retaliated after the ultras opened fire at the them on seeing them approaching the jungle, Police Superintendent Navin Kumar Singh said.

Intermittent firing from both camps was going on, Singh said, adding that the bordering states of Orissa and Bengal were alerted.

No casuality was reported from the police camp till 4 pm, Singh said.

The two naxalites who sustained bullet injuries were taken away by their group members, he said.

Police have seized a rifle, two pistols, can bombs, detonators, uniform and other articles left by the ultras on the spot.

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Posted by Indian Vanguard on November 11, 2007

Families left homeless by
CPM attacks have lunch
outside a Nandigram school.

more voices: Activist Medha Patkar explains a point to film-maker Aparna Sen during a hunger strike in Kolkata on Saturday in protest against the Nandigram violence. Eminent writer Mahasweta Devi is in the foreground.

Posted in Nandigram, Pictures | Leave a Comment »

Posted by Indian Vanguard on November 11, 2007

Families left homeless by
CPM attacks have lunch
outside a Nandigram school.

more voices: Activist Medha Patkar explains a point to film-maker Aparna Sen during a hunger strike in Kolkata on Saturday in protest against the Nandigram violence. Eminent writer Mahasweta Devi is in the foreground.

Posted in Nandigram, Pictures | Leave a Comment »