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Archive for December 4th, 2007

A documentary on Nandigram, made after the November genocide

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 4, 2007

After the November genocide in Nandigram : Protests and a day’s experience in the relief camp organised by Bhoomi Uchhed Pratirodh Committee.

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CPI(Maoist) karnataka press release (Kannada) on udupi litrary meet

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 4, 2007

Dear Friends,
We post CPI(Maoist) karnataka press release (Kannada) on udupi litrary meet.
Regrads,
Bimal

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Maoists to allot Rs. 30 cr. for weapons procurement

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 4, 2007

K. Srinivas Reddy

To manufacture rocket launchers, mortars & hand grenades

Extremists are also buying arms from gun runners

Running at least four weapon fabrication units

HYDERABAD: Maoists in India have decided to earmark Rs. 30 crore ayear for improving the fire power of their fighters engaged in an intense guerrilla war in parts of five States — Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand.

Security agencies have learnt that the extremists planned to spend a chunk of these funds for manufacture of rocket launchers, mortars and hand grenades. Called ‘Area Weapons’ in military parlance, they will enable the Maoists to attack security forces, without being seen. ‘3 battalion-strong’

With the information culled from Maoist documents and interrogation of recently arrested rebels, intelligence agencies estimate that the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA), the main force of the Maoists, consists of more than 29 companies, equivalent to three
battalions in military parlance.

This is in addition to thousands of secondary forces and militia members. The PLGA will be observing its seventh anniversary on December 2.

The Maoist documents in possession of The Hindu indicate that the decision on allocation of funds and fabrication of area weapons was taken at a meeting of the Central Military Commission (CMC) last February.

Meeting held

The meeting was held in the Bhimbandh Wildlife Sanctuary in Munger district of Bihar, about 200 km from Patna. The CMC meeting was preceded by the 9th Congress, attended by all the top rung Maoist leaders from January 28 to 31. Police believed that the meeting was held in the Saranda forests of Jharkhand.

Weapons looted

Maoists snatched as many as 529 weapons, 16,000 bullets and 19 tonnes of explosives between January 2006 and June 2007 in different raids on security forces. More than 100 weapons were looted since then, including 10 automatic weapons, during the Konta ambush in Chhattisgarh on November 29.

The extremists are also buying arms and ammunition from gun runners, especially from the militant outfits operating in the northeast.

Fabrication units

Security agencies believe that the CMC is running at least four weapon fabrication units in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and in some South Indian States. Some units in different locations fabricate the parts of rocket launchers, mortars and hand grenades, which are assembled later.

Seized

The earmarking of funds for weapons was done after the Andhra Police seized rocket launchers and unassembled parts and busted a fabrication unit on the outskirts of Chennai last year. Later, another arms-making unit was busted in Bhopal, followed by another similar raid in
Rourkela by the Andhra police.

Rourkela setback

After the Rourkela setback, Maoists shifted a mortar-making unit from Bihar to Jharkhand, one of the seized documents mentioned. The Central Technical Team of the CMC, responsible for fabrication and procurement of weapons, consists of seven persons — all hailing from Andhra
Pradesh

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Message to those opposing CPM

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 4, 2007

Statesman News Service
KOLKATA, Dec. 3: Those who dare to protest against the ruling party are Maoists, even if they belong to the immediate family of their own partymen. This seems to be the new mantra of the CPI-M. A group of CPI-M cadres in Jadavpur, the constituency of chief minister, Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, allegedly restrained the wife of a social activist from collecting her and her husband’s new voter identity card yesterday, branding her and the family as Maoists.

When informed that the woman’s late father was party’s former Bankura district committee secretary and her brother was the present secretary of the Katwa zonal committee, the CPI-M cadres, instead of relenting, even dubbed them as Maoists and threatened her and her landlady with dire consequences if the family stayed on in their present residence for more than 24 hours.

Her only fault was that her husband, Mr Manik Mandal, had been voicing his protest against the CPI-M’s alleged atrocities in Singur and Nandigram for the past few months. The family resides at 13A, Subhas palli in Jadavpur.

Mr Mandal today lodged a complaint with South 24 Parganas district police also met the additional superintendent (south industrial), Mr DP Singh, and sought their help.

According to Mr Mandal, his wife Dipti, the proprietor of an advertising agency, went to Netaji Nagar Camp around 1 p.m. yesterday to collect her new voter identity card along with her husband’s as their previous ones were lost while shifting of residence. When her turn came, some CPI-M local committee members allegedly refused to allow her to collect the voter identity cards after branding her and her family as Maoists. When she returned home, a group of 20 local CPI-M cadres allegedly came to her and the landlady and gave an ultimatum of 24 hours to leave the locality. All this while, Mr Mandal was not at home. Later in the evening, Mrs Mandal was summoned to the local CPI-M office when she informed the CPI-M leaders about her family’s connections with the party.

“But they even dubbed them as Maoists and again threatened my wife. I had no option but to inform the matter to the police,” Mr Mandal said.

“My only fault is that I have raised my voice for the people of Singur and Nandigram. The CPI-M cadres would not allow us to live in the locality or have a voter identity card, in spite of having all valid documents,” Mr Mandal alleged.

http://www.thestatesman.net/page.news.php?clid=6&theme=&usrsess=1&id=179062

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Aha! A Ranjit and a Maoist to boot

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 4, 2007

OUR LEGAL REPORTER

Calcutta, Dec. 3: Ranjit Pal, the Maoist who allegedly ran arms training camps in Nan- digram, is already in custody. Or is he?

The government is not sure if the Ranjit Pal who was arrested from a hideout in Bankura’s Barikul on September 28 is their most wanted man.

The man held on charges of attacking a police camp in Bankura in December 2006 pleaded for bail in Calcutta High Court today.

It was turned down because, among other reasons, the government wanted to probe if there was more than one Ranjit Pal in the CPI (Maoist)
ranks.

Acting public prosecutor A. Goswami told the division bench of Justices A.K. Talukdar and Tapan Mukherjee that investigations were on to identify the Ranjit Pal whose name had cropped up in connection
with Nandigram.

The chief minister had said in Writers’ Buildings on November 12 that a hunt was on for a Jharkhand-based Maoist leader named Ranjit Pal, who gave guerrilla training to Bhoomi Uchchhed Pratirodh Committee supporters.

However, when the chief minister mentioned the name, one Ranjit Pal was already in police net. It is not clear whether the chief minister knew that when he spoke of a Ranjit Pal from Jharkhand.

The Ranjit Pal in custody is the son of Bishnupada Pal and a resident of Barikul.The other one, if he is indeed another man, was also born in Bankura. Now 24, he joined the rebels in the late 1990s and rose fast because of his leadership skills. This Ranjit heads a panel that looks after
the Maoists’ Bengal operations.

He is wanted by the CBI in connection with the murder of Jamshedpur MP Sunil Mahto in March.

The Ranjit Pal in custody was allegedly part of a squad that attacked the police camp at Majeria near Bankura’s border with West Midnapore.

“Around 10.30pm on Dec- ember 12 last year, around 50 guerrillas raided the camp. When the police made a counter attack, they fled into a nearby jungle,” the acting public prosecutor said.

“One of Ranjit’s associates, Bangsidhar Singh Sardar, was arrested in February. After questioning him, the police raided a hideout in Barikul and picked up Ranjit.”

He has been lodged in the Midnapore Central Jail since.

Ranjit’s lawyer, Rituparna De, said her client was innocent and in no way connected with Naxalite activities. “He has been falsely implicated.”

She added that her client was ready to help the police investigate the case if he was released on bail

http://www.telegraphindia

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Buddha’s Killing Fields of Nandigram!

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 4, 2007

Source: Mainstream weekly

Monday 3 December 2007, by 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

Total 348
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.

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On 23rd anniversary, Bhopal gas tragedy victims threaten poll boycott

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 4, 2007

Bhopal, Dec 4 (IANS) Hundreds of survivors of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy Monday observed the 23rd anniversary of the lethal leakage that killed thousands of people and declared that they would boycott future elections till their long standing demands were not fulfilled.

The disaster that occurred on the intervening night of Dec 2-3, 1984, when more than 40 tonnes of Methyl-Iso-Cyanate and other poisonous gases spewed out of Union Carbide’s pesticide plant, saw over 3,000 people instantly killed. Several thousand others were maimed for life. More than 15,000 people have died since then.

Hundreds of survivors of the disaster and their supporters marched to the abandoned Union Carbide factory, shouting slogans against Union Carbide, its present owner Dow Chemicals, and the central and state governments whom they hold responsible for their plight. They alleged they were in collusion with Union Carbide and current owner Dow Chemical Company, USA.

The protesters were joined by a large number of residents from the localities that are affected due to poisoning of the ground water from the chemical waste dumped in and around the factory.

Three organisations – Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationary Karmchari Sangh (BGPMSKS), Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangarsh Morcha (BGPMPSM) and Bhopal Group for Information & Action (BGIA) – led the rally and demanded that Dow clean up the environmental contamination in Bhopal and pay compensation to those affected by the poisonous gases.

The marchers burnt effigies of Union Carbide and Dow Chemical, shown as 10-armed monsters with the faces of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the chief ministers of Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Maharashtra and US President George Bush and others representing the “hands” of the American corporations.

Leaders of the organisations also lambasted the state government’s report allegedly claiming that there was no hazardous effect on the people due to ground water contamination, and said it was “clear that the state government is doing Dow’s work”.

Describing the report a “bundle of lies”, they said they had communicated to the state government on Oct 1 that the study suffered from faulty design and shoddy data collection.

They also said the draft report had not been discussed by the core group of experts before releasing it to the media.

The leaders claimed that documents obtained by them from the Prime Minister’s Office showed that the cabinet secretariat of the central government was “actively seeking ways” to absolve Dow Chemical of its liabilities towards over 25,000 affected Bhopal residents.

They said the three major political parties – Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party and Communist Party of India-Marxist – were similar in their “slavish attitude” towards American multinational Dow Chemicals.

They alleged that Dow was behind the violence in West Bengal’s Nandigram and charged Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh with joining the “band of traitors” by allowing it to set up an R&D centre in Pune.

Several organisations also held a public meeting at the Yadgare Shahjahani Park and took a pledge “not to allow a repeat of Bhopal”, while criticising multinational companies for “playing with the lives of innocent people in third world countries”.

IANS

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Anti-Posco group begins weapons training at base

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 4, 2007

HUBANESWAR: Villagers opposed to the Posco project on Sunday started a weapons training programme at their base and made clear their intention to even take up arms to prevent land acquisition for the South Korean company.

This coincided with the demand of four Left parties — CPI, CPM, CPI-ML and Forward Bloc that the government should hold a dialogue with those resisting the project as well as political parties, instead of trying to suppress protests with force.

The anti-Posco group, which had suffered a setback following Thursday’s clashes with the project supporters, attempted to revive its agitation by training its men to use lathis, swords, bow and arrow and other weapons.

According to sources, the anti-land grab group is even considering arms training to ward off any attack on them by the project supporters and police.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/

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Massive rallies, meetings and recruitments:Police intensify vigil

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 4, 2007

Police intensify vigil

Statesman News Service
BARIPADA, Dec. 3: The Mayurbhanj police have intensified vigil, as Naxalites sneak into border districts of the state in order to observe the annual Peoples Liberation of Guerrilla Army (PLGA), which will continue till 8 December.

Security has been beefed up and round-the-clock vigil has been enforced along the border. The reports of massive rallies, meetings and recruitments held by the Naxalite outfit, CPI (Maoists), recently at Belphari in Midnapur district of West Bengal, had prompted the security alert, the police said.

The superintendent of police, Mr Dayal Gangwar, today said that para military personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Orissa Special Armed Police Reserve (OSAP) have been deployed in vulnerable areas of the district.
He, however, declined to divulge details on the size and area of deployment.

However the SP denied having any information, regarding the recruitment drive of the Naxalites.
No such activities have taken place in the district so far, besides the gun battle between the police and the ultras on 28 November, in which there no causality occurred.

The week long annual recruitment drive of the Peoples Liberation of Guerrilla have been held for the past five years since 1999.

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