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Archive for November 12th, 2007

Farmers vs SEZ

Posted by Indian Vanguard on November 12, 2007

Monday, 12 November, 2007
CPM men, CRPF clash in Nandigram: Reports
CRPF moves into interior Nadigram
Nandigram: Another Minister offers to resign
CRPF enters Nandigram
Trinamool Congress to support 48-hr bandh call
West Bengal Governor meets Jyoti Basu
Medha Patkar demands access to Nandigram
Gunfire, arson reported in Nandigram
Nandigram: CRPF turned from by CPM
Nandigram: Bandh affects normal life in WB
Bandh affects life in WB
PM speaks to Buddha on Nandigram
Sunday, 11 November, 2007
CPM regains lost ground in Nandigram
Kolkata intellectuals storm police station
Nandigram: Allies hold CPM responsible
Mamata’s resignation may not be accepted
Turf battle continues in Nandigram
BJP to send high-level team to Nandigram
Governor’s statement undesirable: Jyoti Basu,nandigram
Saturday, 10 November, 2007
Mamata’s convoy stopped
2 more killed in Nandigram
West Bengal braces up for more bandhs
Minister decides to resign over Nandigram
Centre sends 1,000 CRPF personnel to Bengal
Nandigram: Mamata resigns from Lok Sabha
1 killed, 3 hurt in fresh violence in Nandigram
Additional CPRF force sent to West Bengal
Fresh violence at Nandigram, 10 injured
Governor said the right thing: Mamata
Friday, 09 November, 2007
CPM flays Governor’s statement
‘Recapture of Nandigram villages unlawful’
Nandigram: Medha to launch hunger strike
Thursday, 08 November, 2007
Nandigram: WB minister critical of CPM role
Rival groups reach truce in Nandigram
Medha Patkar assaulted on way to Nandigram
Wednesday, 07 November, 2007
‘CRPF won’t be deployed at Nandigram’
2 more die in Nandigram
Thousands flee Nandigram, riots toll up
PM concerned about violence in Nandigram
Monday, 05 November, 2007
PM expresses concern over Nandigram violence
Wednesday, 31 October, 2007
Violence mars Bengal bandh over Nandigram
Normal life hit in West Bengal
Tuesday, 30 October, 2007
Mamata to cripple WB for Nandigram peace
Monday, 29 October, 2007
Nandigram shuts down amid fear of violence
Sunday, 28 October, 2007
3 CPM men killed in Nandigram bomb blast
Saturday, 27 October, 2007
1 killed as violence erupts in Nandigram
Friday, 26 October, 2007
Kin of Nandigram dead to get compensation: Basu
Wednesday, 24 October, 2007
Three injured in clashes over Nandigram
Wednesday, 25 July, 2007
Nadigram fails to halt Left win in Haldia
Thursday, 19 July, 2007
Villagers attack Tata’s Singur project
Wednesday, 11 July, 2007
CBI releases sketches of murder accused
Saturday, 07 July, 2007
Mamata lashes out at CPM over Nandigram
Saturday, 30 June, 2007
Lukewarm response to CPI-M shutdown
Thursday, 28 June, 2007
Firing again at Nandigram
Saturday, 23 June, 2007
Police enter eight villages of Nandigram
Sunday, 17 June, 2007
Journalists fired at in Nandigram
Violence at Nandigram for the third day
Saturday, 16 June, 2007
‘Pull down boundary wall at Singur’
Friday, 15 June, 2007
Violence rocks Nandigram , 4 cops shot at
Firing at Nandigram, inspector hurt
Thursday, 14 June, 2007
Nandigram did not get alloted relief: Status report
Monday, 11 June, 2007
Basu rejects Mamata’s demand on Singur
Friday, 08 June, 2007
Mamata rejects alternative land proposal
Tuesday, 05 June, 2007
All-party meet held at Nandigram
Monday, 04 June, 2007
600 acres not needed for car factory: Basu
Basu, Mamata meet to break Singur deadlock
Sunday, 27 May, 2007
Restoration of peace difficult: Basu
Friday, 25 May, 2007
Singur farmer commits suicide
Thursday, 24 May, 2007
Mamata walks out of all-party meeting
Wednesday, 23 May, 2007
Firing in Nandigram
Monday, 21 May, 2007
Fresh violence at Singur
Sunday, 20 May, 2007
Singur tense again, 3 cops hurt
Tuesday, 08 May, 2007
Tension erupts at Singur
Friday, 04 May, 2007
Nandigram: Basu assures compliance with HC order
Wednesday, 02 May, 2007
Nandigram divides Left front yet again
Nandigram: HC seeks status report
Attack on artistes: TC demands arrests
Firing at Nandigram again
Monday, 30 April, 2007
BJP demands statement on Nandigram
Nandigram: All-party meeting convened
Nandigram: TC holds rasta roko
Sunday, 29 April, 2007
Fresh violence in Nandigram, 1 killed
Nandigram flares up again, 1 injured
Saturday, 28 April, 2007
Firing, bomb throwing continue at Nandigram
Thursday, 26 April, 2007
High Court defers Nandigram hearing
Wednesday, 18 April, 2007
Hearing of CBI report on Nandigram deferred
Tuesday, 03 April, 2007
Peace meet fails to take off in Nandigram
Sunday, 01 April, 2007
Charred body of child recovered in Nandigram
Saturday, 31 March, 2007
BJP demands President’s rule in West Bengal
Friday, 30 March, 2007
CPM leaders gunned down in West Bengal
CPM will overcome Nandigram: Jyoti Basu
Thursday, 29 March, 2007
Tatas defend choice of Singur for plant
Wednesday, 28 March, 2007
Buddha drops Nandigram, quit says Mamata
Monday, 26 March, 2007
Kolkata HC stays CBI enquiry in Nandigram
Saturday, 24 March, 2007
Buddha scotches land acquisition rumours
Friday, 23 March, 2007
TN to set up SEZ in Virudhunagar district
Basu rubbishes news of Buddha removal
Left unity in shambles after Nandigram
Thursday, 22 March, 2007
CPM office vandalised in West Bengal
CBI submits report on Nandigram to HC
Centre fixes rehab onus on SEZ developer
Wednesday, 21 March, 2007
PM terms firing in Nandigram as sad
SEZ issues to be re-assessed
Shops vandalised in Nandigram
Bombs hurled at Trinamool rally
Tuesday, 20 March, 2007
CBI sends senior official to Nandigram
Fresh violence feared in Nandigram: Govt
Outsiders involved in Nandigram violence
Parliament adjourned repeatedly over Nandigram
Nandigram: One more body identified
Monday, 19 March, 2007
Violence spills on to Kolkata streets
Karat urges judicial probe into Nandigram
SEZs vital for development: Kalam
WB govt pulls out cops from Nandigram
Mamata’s fortunes improve, thanks to the Left
Parliament adjourned over Nandigram
Sunday, 18 March, 2007
Nandigram: 2 more bodies identified
Buddha will remain a CM: Karat
Nandigram suspects to police custody
2 allege rape by securitymen in Nandigram
Saturday, 17 March, 2007
CBI recovers arms near Nandigram, 10 held
Nandigram: Maoists call bandh in four states
Two more bodies identified in Nandigram
History won’t pardon Communists: Advani
Left historians return awards to WB govt
Buddha blames himself for Nandigram
Govt committed to SEZs: Kamal Nath
NDA delegation visits Nandigram
Attitude of Left Front Stalinist, says Advani
Friday, 16 March, 2007
Bandh cripples life in West Bengal
CBI begins field investigations in Nandigram
Nandigram issue: Parliament adjourned
Bandh hits life in WB; bus set on fire
Thursday, 15 March, 2007
CBI sends 3-member team to Nandigram
Mamata out of hospital; returns to Kolkata
Mamata Banerjee hospitalised in Nandigram
Nandigram toll rises to 14
HC directs CBI to probe Nandigram firing
Nandigram issue rocks Parliament
Mamata demands Bhattacharjee’s resignation
Situation tense in Nandigram
Nandigram: Advani speaks to Manmohan
ICSE exam postponed in West Bengal
Wednesday, 14 March, 2007
11 killed in police firing in Nandigram
Shivraj Patil to assess Nandigram situation
Cong demands President’s rule in WB
CPM cadres beat up scribe at Nandigram
TC calls for 12-hour bandh in West Bengal
3 killed in police firing in Nandigram
Monday, 12 March, 2007
‘Depressed’ farmer kills himself in Singur
Wednesday, 07 March, 2007
Police open fire in Nandigram
Tuesday, 13 February, 2007
Bombs rain near Nandigram
Left is not right
Monday, 12 February, 2007
Nandigram farmers gherao police station
Saturday, 10 February, 2007
Intelligence officer’s body found
Friday, 09 February, 2007
Singur row: HC asks WB govt to file affidavit
Thursday, 08 February, 2007
Buddha offers talks, TC refuses to budge
Wednesday, 07 February, 2007
Clashes in Nandigram, 1 killed, 50 held
Sunday, 04 February, 2007
Mamata makes over-my-dead-body vow on SEZs
Sunday, 28 January, 2007
Singur simmers again as farmers protest
Friday, 12 January, 2007
Land: Buddha’s allies seek clarification
Can Buddha save Nandigram?
Tuesday, 09 January, 2007
Police set up camps in restive Nandigram
Monday, 08 January, 2007
TV journos hounded by Nandigram villagers
Bandh hits normal life in WB, 350 held
Sunday, 07 January, 2007
Cong, Trinamool call Bengal bandh on Monday

Posted in Nandigram | Leave a Comment »

CRPF moves into interior villages in Nandigram

Posted by Indian Vanguard on November 12, 2007

Monday, 12 November , 2007, 22:08

Nandigram: Fresh violence broke out on Monday evening in two interior villages of Garchakraberia and Tekhalibazar areas in troubled Nandigram after which CRPF personnel entered those places.

Also read
  • Another Minister offers to resign
  • Governor meets Jyoti Basu
  • Medha demands access
  • Full coverage: Farmers vs SEZ
  • Though no police confirmation of the violence was available, sources in anti-farmland acquisition Bhumi Ucched Pratirodh Committee (BUPC) said CRPF personnel had entered some villages in the two areas.

    Meanwhile, BUPC member Milan Pradhan said three rape victims of Garchakraberia were admitted to Nandigram hospital on Monday evening.

    He alleged they were raped when their village was attacked on Sunday allegedly by Communist Party of India-Marxist activists.

    Posted in Nandigram | Leave a Comment »

    Medha Patkar leaves for Nandigram

    Posted by Indian Vanguard on November 12, 2007

    Kolkata (PTI): Rejecting the West Bengal government’s request to her not to go to Nandigram, social activist Medha Patkar on Monday left for the violence-torn area with relief materials. “I have sought protection for my colleagues and for myself at Nandigram,” Patkar told reporters after a meeting with Chief Secretary A K Deb at Writers’ Buildings here. She said the Chief Secretary called her for a meeting and urged her not to go to Nandigram. “But I have decided to be with affected villagers.”

    The social activist resented that her appointment with Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharjee was not granted. “We want to discuss restoration of peace at Nandigram with the Chief Minister, but he is reportedly preoccupied,” she said.

    To a question, Medha said that CRPF personnel were not allowed to enter Nandigram by CPI(M) cadres.

    The administration, she said, should remove the CPI(M) blockades and allow the Central forces to enter. Describing the situation at Nandigram “akin to a cremation ground,” Patkar claimed there were fresh attacks by CPI(M). “I have reports that more such attacks are being planned by the marxists.”

    Earlier, Patkar said that she along with Trinamool Congress Chief Mamata Banerjee should not be obstructed by CPI(M) workres and allowed to go to Nandigram. “The real face of the CPI(M) has been exposed with party cadres assaulting unarmed people and even Left intellectuals are coming under attack for speaking their mind,” Patkar, who was assaulted allegedly by CPI(M) supporters on her way to Nandigram on November 8, said.

    “Sonachura and Gokulnagar were forcibly acquired by the CPI(M),” she said adding “this is criminalisation of politics. The killings must stop”.

    Posted in Nandigram | Leave a Comment »

    Three CRPF jawans killed by Maoists in Chhattisgarh

    Posted by Indian Vanguard on November 12, 2007

    Raipur (PTI): Naxalites on Monday ambushed a 14-member CRPF party and killed three of them in hyper-sensitive Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh.

    Three CRPF jawans were killed on the spot in an ambush by the Maoists between Pamalwaya and Cherpal villages in Bijapur district, about 550 km from here, district police sources told PTI over phone.

    The naxalites opened indiscriminate firing at the CRPF men when they were proceeding towards Bijapur in motorcycles, the sources said, adding 11 CRPF personnel escaped unhurt in the attack.

    On October 29, about 200 naxalites had ambushed a police party and killed five policemen in the same district.

    Bijapur is witnessing the worst-ever naxal violence along with Dantewada where gun battle between the rebels and government forces is a regular feature.

    Posted in Chhattisgarh | Leave a Comment »

    Karat justifies Nandigram, blames Trinamul, Maoists

    Posted by Indian Vanguard on November 12, 2007

    By IANS

    New Delhi : The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Prakash Karat Monday said the violence in West Bengal’s Nandigram was the work of the rival Trinamul Congress “in league with the Maoists” who were trying to “dislodge the legitimate representatives” of the people there.

    Stating that the situation in Nandigram had been “abnormal” for the last 11 months, Karat said: “We are not going to oblige them (opponents) to dislodge us by force by taking help from the Maoists.”

    Justifying his party-led government’s stance on Nandigram, where several people have been killed in clashes between the CPI-M and Trinamul supporters, Karat said there was no question of conflict over the issue of a proposed chemical hub at Nandigram as it had been scrapped. “Yet, the whole area was under siege on the spurious pretext of protection of land,” he said, referring to the Trinamul-backed anti-land acquisition Bhumi Uchched Pratirodh Committee (BUPC).

    The CPI-M has been under severe attack from its own allies and others who allege that the situation had worsened in Nandigram due to “party-sponsored violence”.

    In a direct dig at Trinamul chief Mamata Banerjee, Karat said: “The Trinamul Congress could not win the confidence of the people of West Bengal through democratically held elections and thus they have taken the help of the Maoists’ in expanding their area of influence from February.”

    Responding to the Left Front allies’ criticism of his party over Nandigram, Karat said: “We would like to maintain unity of the Left Front. As the largest constituent, we are conscious of our responsibility to maintain unity. But all other parties also have to be conscious of their role in contributing to strengthen the unity.”

    Denying that there had been any failure of the state government in controlling the situation, Karat claimed that the police and the administration had “not been allowed to function in the area”.

    “The state government took a conscious decision not to enter there after the March 14 incident (when 14 people were killed in police firing) and the high court ex-parte (direction),” he said.

    “The situation was abnormal and disturbed. Even the administration was not allowed to move in.”

    He said the state government was now trying to “bring the situation under control and for peace to be restored to allow all the evicted families to return to their lands”.

    Pointing out that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had stated that the Maoists were the greatest threat to the country, Karat said: “How were the Maoists allowed to capture a small territory in a state where there is a legitimate and elected government? The governor, the high court and the central government should think about it.”

    Karat said at least 27 party activists had been killed and at least 1,500 Left supporters were still in refugee camps there. However, he did not mention the number of people killed or injured from rival camps.

    “With the deployment of central paramilitary forces, the Left Front government should make all efforts for rehabilitation and resumption of development work in the area,” he said.

    Posted in Nandigram | Leave a Comment »

    Media protests arrest of two journalists in Andhra Pradesh

    Posted by Indian Vanguard on November 12, 2007

    Hyderabad : Media persons wore black badges and shouted slogans against the police on the premises of Andhra Pradesh state legislative assembly Monday, as they protested the arrest of two journalists in Kurnool district for exposing corruption.

    B. Sreeramulu and B. Urukundu, two journalists from Telugu dailies Andhra Jyothi and Andhra Bhoomi respectively, were arrested Nov 7 for exposing corruption in Indiramma housing scheme for the poor.

    The journalists exposed how the officials sanctioned houses under the scheme in the names of Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, state minister M. Mareppa, local legislator M. Sikhamani and film actor Nagarjuna.

    Journalists got the village secretary of Laddagiri in Kodumuru mandal to sanction houses in the names of these personalities.

    The investigative story published Oct 23 said village secretary K. Madduleti, for a bribe, signed the document for the release of money and cement bags for the non-existent beneficiaries.

    On a complaint filed by the district officials, the police arrested the journalists. They were booked for cheating and for writing stories that harmed the reputation of the government and individual officials.

    Justifying the action, police claimed that the journalists were at fault as they secured the certificate from the village secretary through fraudulent means.

    Additional Director General of Police (administration) and spokesperson of the state police A.K. Khan said the scribes had criminal motive in securing blank forms and certificates.

    “We have acted in accordance with the law. There is prima facie evidence of the criminal intent of the two journalists,” he said.

    The arrests evoked sharp reaction from the journalists. Andhra Pradesh union of working journalists condemned the arrests and demanded immediate release of the two. The union has been taking out rallies in different parts of the state to condemn the police action.

    Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy has invited leaders of journalists’ union for talks later Monday. State Home Minister K. Jana Reddy said the cases against the journalists could be withdrawn only if the chief minister intervenes.

    The opposition parties raised the issue in both the houses of the legislature and alleged that the government was trying to gag freedom of the press.

    Bharatiya Janata Party moved an adjournment motion and the entire opposition staged a walkout when their demand for a debate on the issue was disallowed.

    Posted in Andrapredesh | Leave a Comment »

    Indian Unrest Ensnares a Doctor

    Posted by Indian Vanguard on November 12, 2007

    ‘Rights Activists’
    Such as Dr. Sen
    Caught in Middle
    November 12, 2007; Page A8

    NEW DELHI — A rebel movement that seeks to overthrow the Indian government is gaining ground across a swath of the country’s center and south, a region rich in mineral resources but where many of the poor feel left out of the nation’s economic boom.

    India’s prime minister, Manmohan Singh, last year called the Maoist rebel movement the most serious security challenge facing the country. The rebels are known as Naxalites, after the Naxalbari region in the state of West Bengal where the movement was born 40 years ago.

    Governments in states affected by the rebellion, including the impoverished state of Chhattisgarh, have backed crackdowns on indigenous villages they suspect of supporting the Naxalites. But many of these villages sit on valuable mining lands, prompting human-rights activists to complain of a murky line between state-backed security operations and clearing the way for resource development.

    [Simmering Rebellion]

    In Chhattisgarh alone, an estimated 100,000 villagers have been displaced — many into temporary camps — as the state solicits foreign and domestic companies to exploit its trove of iron ore, bauxite, diamonds and other minerals.

    This clash between development, the rights of the poor and the rebel movement has ensnared some people in the middle. Among the most prominent is Binayak Sen, a doctor to tribal villagers in Chhattisgarh for 25 years. He is also a human-rights activist, frequently visiting jails where he treated prisoners, including prominent Naxalites.

    In May, the 57-year-old Dr. Sen was arrested and put in prison in Chhattisgarh’s capital of Raipur, charged with passing notes from a Naxalite leader he was treating in jail to someone outside the prison. He has been denied bail. Dr. Sen denies passing notes or committing any crime, and says his activities in the jail were constantly supervised by prison authorities.

    Dr. Sen was a vocal critic of how the state’s development drive is hurting tribal villagers. So far, investments totaling about $21.33 billion have been proposed in the state by Indian and foreign companies, according to the Chhattisgarh State Investment Promotion Board. Most of the investments in the region have come from large Indian companies, including Jindal Steel & Power Ltd., Tata Steel and Essar Steel Ltd.

    In a speech just before his arrest, Dr. Sen said, “For the past several years, we are seeing all over India … a concerted program to expropriate from the poorest people in the Indian nation their access to essentials, common property resources and to natural resources including land and water.”

    The state government claims by arresting Dr. Sen it was enforcing state antiterrorism laws, enacted in 2005 to beef up the legal framework used to jail Naxalites and their supporters. “It is very much according to the laws. We have enough proof,” says Ramvichar Netam, the state’s home minister in an interview. The government claims Dr. Sen broke the law by taking letters from a Naxalite leader in jail out of the prison.

    His backers say he was targeted simply because of his government critiques. “Dr. Binayak Sen is an unfortunate victim,” says Mukul Sharma, director for Amnesty International in India, saying Dr. Sen is one of several “rights activists” subjected to harassment, arrest and torture in a nation that often takes pride in being the world’s largest secular democracy.

    After Dr. Sen’s arrest, Chhattisgarh police searched his house and seized his computer, a letter from a jail inmate describing deplorable conditions in prison and copies of newspapers and magazines.

    Dr. Sen’s lawyers say the police used the content from these publications — including articles on jail reform, the Naxal movement and American imperialism — to criminalize “free thinking.” They have petitioned India’s Supreme Court for the denial of bail to Dr. Sen pending trial be overturned. The Supreme Court is expected to continue the hearing in coming weeks.

    In written answers to questions, Dr. Sen acknowledged meeting a jailed Naxalite leader several times in prison as part of his human-rights work, adding that “the visits to the leader in question were with police permission, and always in the presence of jail authorities.” He adds, “I am not a believer in violence, and have several times critiqued Naxal violence.”

    He says it was his criticism of vigilante groups, designed to root out Naxalism in villages but which also clear those villages for development, that made him persona non grata with the state.

    The groups, known as Salwa Judum, have become an increasingly powerful force by filling a void left by ineffective government. “The government doesn’t have the self-confidence to maintain law and order in the state,” says Puran Lal Agarwal, chairman of the Chhattisgarh Chamber of Commerce. Instead, the Salwa Judum — “purification hunt” in a local dialect — regularly searches villages for Naxalite sympathizers, removes villagers from their land, purportedly for their own protection, and, say human-rights activists, regularly engages in killings, looting and rape.

    “Salwa Judum displaces tribals and negates their land rights. This will do away with the tribes’ entitlements and open the field for industrial development and land acquisition,” Dr. Sen says, an argument he made before his detention.

    The state is widely suspected of providing support for the Salwa Judum. A Chhattisgarh government spokesman said the state provides “moral support” for vigilante activities. “What can a state with a weak police force do other than help the people to defend themselves?” the official said.

    Write to Paul Beckett at

    Posted in Binayaksen | Leave a Comment »

    Kolkata intellectuals storm police headquarters

    Posted by Indian Vanguard on November 12, 2007

    In an unprecedented action, leading Kolkata intellectuals, including filmmakers Aparna Sen and Gautam Ghosh, Sunday night fought with cops, entered the city police headquarters and freed their colleagues arrested during a rally to protest violence in Nandigram.

    Sen, Ghosh, upcoming actor Parambrata Chatterjee, poet Shankha Ghosh, playwright Bibhas Chakraborty and a host of others reached the police headquarters at Lalbazar, a stone’s throw from the state secretariat, and demanded the release of 41 artists and intellectuals who were arrested before the Nandan and Rabindra Sadan cultural complex.

    “They had to give in. They finally released those arrested. We were here to free them,” Bibhas Chakrbaorty told IANS from Lalbazar.

    The intelligentsia also rallied behind a fasting Medha Patkar and other human rights activists as they boycotted a state-organised film festival and staged a blockade at Esplanade Sunday.

    But when a procession of several intellectuals reached near Nandan, the venue of the film festival, police used batons to stop them.

    Several people were injured in the baton-charge as police prevented them from reaching Nandan.

    At least 41 intellectuals and eight workers of the Congress and the Trinamool Congress were arrested.

    The city’s cultural arena, where West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya always held sway, turned into a hostile territory for him as intellectuals squatted and urged police to wake up and rebel against the government’s diktats.

    Banners read “Shame” as the intellectuals fought a pitched battle with the police.

    People watched in amazement when popular film and television actors, who in previous years used to dazzle the festival, were pushed in police vans and taken to Lalbazar.

    Filmmakers Goutam Ghosh and Anjan Datta Sunday followed Sen and Rituparno Ghosh in boycotting the state-organised festival.

    Bollywood actor Moushumi Chatterjee, who started her career with Bangla films, Sunday said she would campaign for Nandigram victims in Mumbai and expose the CPI-M.

    Gun fights continued to rage in Nandigram Sunday, a day after ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) cadres allegedly fired on an unarmed procession of villagers, killing two.

    The violence has claimed 34 lives since January, when Nandigram 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.

    Posted in Nandigram | Leave a Comment »

    How CPM recaptured Nandigram

    Posted by Indian Vanguard on November 12, 2007

    MIDNAPORE/KOLKATA: The plan to recapture Nandigram was drawn two weeks back in a meeting between two top CPM leaders from East and West Midnapore. An MP from East Midnapore and a state minister from West Midnapore were also present at the meet. The main point of discussion was how to bring back Nandigram, out of bounds for CPM supporters for the last 11 months. Armed men were used from at least three districts — West Midnapore, Bankura and North 24 Parganas — for ‘Operation Nandigram’ to flush out the opposition.

    The first attempt to re-enter the villages and oust Bhumi Uchchhed Pratirodh Committee supporters, who had held fort since early 2007, was made on March 14. The operation was conducted mainly by state police and did not bring the desired result. CPM had to go on the backfoot following widespread protests after the March 14 massacre. Since then no CPM leader has been able to set foot in Nandigram.

    The party’s East Midnapore district unit was under pressure from its supporters in Nandigram who were forced to flee to Khejuri. Despite the talks of peace and aborted attempts to make the refugees return to the villages in small number, the guns along the Nandigram-Khejuri border were hardly ever silent. Leaders from both the districts had to set aside their differences to sort out the problem. CPM could not afford to let Nandigram remain out of its control till next year’s panchayat polls.

    Also, the West Midnapore district unit has the experience of leading such an operation — Keshpur — in 2000. On November 4, local DYFI unit held a meeting at Heria (close to Khejuri) where it pledged to send back its homeless supporters to their villages. Two days before that, the process of withdrawing police from the troubles spot had already started.

    Cadres — local criminals mostly involved in dacoity cases — for the operation were drawn from Chandrakona and Garbeta zonal committees. Also, cadres were sent from Narayangarh and Keshiary areas. Another group of around 250 armed CPM supporters and criminals came from the villages of Punishol at Onda and Rajpur, Taldangra in Bankura.

    Sources said criminals were given money in advance and given a free-hand to bring whatever they could from the empty homes once the operation is complete. Sources said one such group that has returned to Onda came with motorcycles.
    The Bankura group reached Nandigram after travelling by train and then road. The group boarded trains and allegedly got off at Balichak, four stations after Kharagpur, and then headed towards Nandigram via Khejuri in the guise of daily wage earners. They take the same disguise when they go to Bihar and Jharkhand to collect arms, sources said.

    Most of these people are suspected to be running arms smuggling rackets. The arms used in the recapture operation are believed to have been supplied from these suppliers.

    Another cache of arms came from Purulia where party workers had received arms to combat Maoists. It is also suspected that the arms gone missing after the Purulia arms drop are with CPM supporters and were smuggled to Nandigram.

    The coal mafia from Burdwan is also believed to have played a key role in the operation. The money from the mafia is believed to have supplied funds for the operation, helped in procuring ammunition and hire vehicles that carried the armed men to the interior areas as the attack progressed.

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