Nandigram bhumi and sporting rifles with .315 cartridges
BS Raghavan who had served in the West Bengal Government bureaucracy wonders, in a typical process of delaying tactics to bury the gravest immorality committed in independent, swarajya Bharatam, ‘who did, what?’ http://www.rediff.com/news/2007/nov/14guest.htm
I have the privilege of presenting below an account by another serious bureaucrat, D. Bandhopadhyay. Read on…
Yes, Syed Ali Mujtaba (see article below). The people of Nandigram who suffered the atrocities of CPM goons had a faith. A faith in the punyabhumi which made their living worthwile. Hence the name, Bhumi Ucched Pratirodh.
No falsehoods paraded by Noam Chosmky’s of the world or Sitaram Yechury’s fraudulent pieces in Peoples’ Democracy can justify the immorality that is CPM.
What should be done? Ban the CPM, to start with and later, all the associates of this goon party in the so-called Left Front who are acquiescing in the mass-murders perpetrated by CPM.
Rifle with .315 in. caliber cartridges is said to be a sporting rifle and described as a product of the Indian Ordnance Factory. http://www.gunaccessory.com/IOF/315rifle.htm
The use of .315 cartridges is a proof that CPM hired goons created the killing fields of Nandigram.
That such rifles were used by the CPM hired goons is clear and emphatic. It is also emphatic that such rifles are NOT used by the police constabulary.
Who acquired and supplied these rifles to the goons who created the killing fields of Nandigram? CPM leadership has to answer this question and explain how they keep an ordnance depot to support the party activities. So much for the sham called peoples’ democracy. It is unfair to expect the West Bengal police to investigate the identity of the hired CPM goons or the sources of their guns and .315 cartridges. This is a job to be done by some agency to be established on the lines of the US FBI with full authority to investigate in any part of Bharatam and outside of Bharatam.
Hopefully, the establishment of such a trans-bharatiya investigating agency should be the first order of business of the next Central Government.
On Dec. 11, 2007 R.K. Sharma, CRPF 190 battalion commandant, said the shells do not belong to the police. 'The government has given permission for use of .315 bullets to those who have firearms license. It needs to be investigated how the ammunition came to Nandigram,' said Sharma, adding that normalcy has returned to Nandigram and people were returning to their homes.
A remarkable and factual account, since January 2007, of the killing fields of Nandigram is provided by D. Bandyopadhyay, an ex-Director of the Asian Development Bank, and ex-Finance Secretary (Revenue), Govt. of India (See article below). In scenes reminiscent of mediaeval barbarism, what happened in these killing fields is explained: “ ‘Revenge’ became the party’s buzz-word. The lost ground had to be regained at any cost. The government and the party fused into one. The bureaucracy and the police were brainwashed to treat the one for the other. Thirty years of one-party rule resulted in the total subversion of the neutrality and impartiality of the bureaucracy and the police. Instead of the “rule of law” they started believing in the “rule of the party”. Both became handy tools of the party bosses’ sinister game-plans to reconquer Nandigram in the same manner as the old zamindars used to fight to gain or regain territory… The State Government does not believe in the rule of law since such a regime of rule of law would go against the interests of the party members who are busy amassing illegal wealth and abusing power for their personal gain and for promoting group interest… deadly weapons like AK-47s and AK-56s, Ichhapore rifles, locally made shotguns and adequate ammunition were stored at vantage points. In this operation three Ministers and several MPs were involved. High explosive bombs started to be manufactured in a couple of places under the guidance of known “ustads” of the underworld. Incidentally, in one of the manufacturing units in Khejury, there was a nasty explosion which killed one of the “ustad” bomb-makers and two of his ‘chelas’ after which this story came out… deadly weapons like AK-47s and AK-56s, Ichhapore rifles, locally made shotguns and adequate ammunition were stored at vantage points. In this operation three Ministers and several MPs were involved. High explosive bombs started to be manufactured in a couple of places under the guidance of known “ustads” of the underworld. Incidentally, in one of the manufacturing units in Khejury, there was a nasty explosion which killed one of the “ustad” bomb-makers and two of his ‘chelas’ after which this story came out… Horrifying stories of gang rape were told by a few surviving victims in Tamluk hospital where they were undergoing treatment. Afroza Bibi, a rape victim stated that on November 11, 2007 when she had come back from the noon namaaz about 30 armed persons entered her house. They first started beating them up with butts of guns. Then Bachhu, Mir Ahshan, Kalu, S.K. Barik and Abdul Rauf raped her consecutively in presence of her second daughter (16) and youngest daughter (14). Other ruffians looked on. Then her two daughters were gangraped in her presence. Thereafter they kidnapped them. Afroza Bibi did not know where they had taken them. She further stated all of them were known persons. Equally horrifying was the experience of Krishna Pramanik (26). She was dragged away from the procession and gangraped publicly in a public field. She lost consciousness. All these stories were video recorded by volunteer medical personnel later on. (Biswaji Ghosh : Dainik Statesman, Kolkata, November 13, 2007, p. 3). I stop narrating any more story of bestiality and barbarity… AND what was the reaction of the Chief Minister Buddha Bhattacharjee ? After the “Reconquest of Nandigram” he held a formal press/media conference at the Writers’ Building. He said : “We paid them back in the same coin … Serves them right.” When a journalist asked him whether he was the Chief Minister of West Bengal or only of the CPI-M, the agitated CM shot back that the journal where the journalist worked had been writing provocative pieces for the last 11 months. In any other State such a paper would have been banned. But he did not do so because “I do not want to soil my hand by killing a stinking mole”. This paper is Bartaman, a well-reputed and well-respected Bengali newspaper with more than half-a-million circulation. Commenting on this outrageous observation of the Chief Minister, Ravindra Kumar, Editor of The Statesman, observed : “Unlike the protections granted to the judiciary and legislatures, the law—anticipating perhaps the quality of rulers we would give ourselves—does not characterise contempt of an administrator or of a Chief Minister as a crime. Mr Bhattacharjee’s comment is not only beneath contempt, but it is ominous.” (The Statesman, Kolkata, November 17, 2007).”
Mainstream, Vol XLV, No 50
Buddha’s Killing Fields of Nandigram !
lundi 3 décembre 2007, par D. Bandyopadhyay
It was a well-planned and equally well-executed bloody operation conducted by the armed marauders of the Communist Party of India- Marxist which started on and around November 5 and is still continuing with lesser intensity. The objective was simple and straightforward. It was to reoccupy several villages whose inhabitants were originally party loyalists who turned hostile to the party after the Haldia Development Authority published the notice regarding acquisition of land in 34 villages in Nandigram for establishing a “chemical hub”. That was on January 3, 2007. When anxious villagers went to a local Gram Panchayat Office to find out whether their homestead and agricultural lands were within the proposed area, the CPI-M Pradhan of the Gram Panchayat called the police to disperse the crowd. The police came. They lathicharged the crowd who refused to budge till they received a cogent reply. Then the police opened fire and retreated. In their panic and haste the police jeep hit a telegraph pole while driving at high speed. It overturned and caught fire. Villagers rescued the policemen from the overturned burning vehicle and allowed them to return to the police station safely. The CPI-M and the government falsely alleged that the violent crowed set fire to the jeep. If the crowd had any evil intention none of the policemen could have escaped serious injury or even death. Nothing happened to them excepting some minor injury due to the accident.
On January 7, 2007, the CPI-M goons attacked several villages in a pincer movement from land and river/canal. One Samanta family whose members owed allegiance to the CPI-M and through whose munificence they amassed huge wealth and among whom there was also an influential CPI-M local leader took the lead. From this CPI-M leader’s house shots were fired killing several innocent villagers who were caught unawares. In their rage villagers surrounded the house, killed the owner and set fire to the building. The loss of an ardent armed gang leader of the party was too hard an insult to swallow for the local party satrap, Lakshman Seth, of Haldia.
After Samanta’s death several families who were active office-bearers of the party and Panchayat left Nandigram out of fear to seek shelter in the neighbouring Khejury area which was and still now remains a CPI-M stronghold. The party and the government initially gave out a false figure of 15 thousand CPI-M active supporters having been driven out of Nandigram. The fact is that no one was driven out at that time. They left out of fright because of their closeness to active CPI-M operators who had been terrorising, intimidating, extorting the local people for their own private gain. There was an open outburst of suppressed public hatred and rage against them. It was expressed verbally without any physical violence. Altogether roughly 250 families fled away, many of them came back at the request of the local leaders and started living unmolested.
At first the Chief Minister denied that there was any notification by the government. Technically he was correct because the advance notice was given by the Haldia Development Authority (HDA) and not by the Land and Land Reforms Department. But that was mere semantics. He blamed the Opposition for creating trouble by spreading false rumours about acquisition. A newspaper published the photocopy of the notification the next day. Then the Chief Minister shifted his ground and stated that the HDA had no authority to publish such a notification. Again he committed an error because it was an advance notice and not a regular notification under the Land Acquisition Act. When he found that all his false statements were getting contradicted by document, he raved and roared saying “tear off that notice”, as if tearing off a copy of the notice would mean a change in the government’s decision to acquire 34,000 acres of land for the chemical hub to be set up by the Salem Group of Indonesia. After a few more farcical motions he announced that the project would be kept on hold for a while. He thought that that would pacify the angry peasants. They saw through the sinister game and got more angry. They organised themselves under the banner of the “Bhumi Uchhched Pratirodh Committee” (Committee for Resistance Against Forcible Eviction—BUPC). Thus began the battle for Nandigram.
Incidentally, Nandigram had been a red bastion for several decades. Way back in the late forties of the last century there was the tebhaga movement for the protection of the rights of sharecroppers. Bhupal Panda of the then united CPI led the movement. He was a legendary leader of the deprived and oppressed cultivators and agricultural labourers. The Left leanings of the inhabitants are more than six decades old. There was no “Opposition” party before the events of January 7, 2007. The CPI-M leadership cried “wolf” where there was none.
The CPI-M leadership started smarting sharply from the utter political humiliation they suffered in Nandigram. “Revenge” became the party’s buzz-word. The lost ground had to be regained at any cost. The government and the party fused into one. The bureaucracy and the police were brainwashed to treat the one for the other. Thirty years of one-party rule resulted in the total subversion of the neutrality and impartiality of the bureaucracy and the police. Instead of the “rule of law” they started believing in the “rule of the party”. Both became handy tools of the party bosses’ sinister game-plans to reconquer Nandigram in the same manner as the old zamindars used to fight to gain or regain territory.
AFTER two months of preparation the party and the government decided to strike back. Under the direction of the Police Minister, who was also the Chief Minister, about five battalions of armed policemen were mobilised. In addition, the CPI-M’s own armed cadres and roughs and goondas hired for the purpose were also deployed. The blueprint of the attack was prepared, as reported in the press, in the guest house of the Kolaghat Thermal Power Plant where the IG of Police, DIG of Police and the SP of East Midnapore along with the party bosses were present. The attack was planned on March 13. Reports of impending invasion were reaching a wide circle of public outside Nandigarm. The Governor of the State was at Chennai on March 13. He was informed of the imminent aggression on the peaceful peasantry of Nandigram. It must be put on record that strictly within his constitutional rights of advising and warning the government, the Governor advised utmost restraint to be shown in case of any police action. This was conveyed in no uncertain terms to the State Home Secretary by the Governor’s Secretary by the afternoon of March 13, 2007. These are all matters of record. No attack took place on March 13, 2007. On March 14 morning when the Governor was flying back to Kolkata from Chennai and was practically incommunicado, the operation started at 9.45 am. The armed police of the State and the armed goons of the party started indiscriminate fire on the unarmed children, women and men of Nandigram who were coming out of temples and mosques. Meanwhile roadblocks were set up all along on all the roads to Nandigram. These were manned openly by the CPI-M cadres aided and abetted by the police. Nobody from outside could go to Nandigram in the next 72 hours. So much so, that when the Governor wanted to visit Tamluk hospital on March 15, 2007, his convoy was obstructed by the CPI-M members on the road. When the Governor threatened to walk about 10 km alone leaving behind his convoy, on instructions from Kolkata, his motorcade was allowed to proceed to the hospital only and not beyond it.
There were various estimates regarding the number of persons killed, injured, missing and about the number of women raped and molested. The government obviously tried to suppress the facts. On the other side rumours spread that about hundred persons were killed whose bodies were taken away by the goons for disposal elsewhere. A group of non-partisan social scientists conducted a survey by the census method in 40 per cent of households in the affected villages a month-and-a-half after the event. They followed a strictly statistical methodology. Their findings are given below and in the following page.
Table 1 : Serious Physical Injury in Nandigram on March 14, 2007
Sl. Nature of Injury Male Female Total
1 Bullet injury 41 18 59
2 Rubber Bullet injury 22 15 37
3 Fibre Rod/Baton/Rifle butt injury etc. 108 12 120
4 Tear gas shell burst injury 14 12 26
5 Bomb injury 2 - 2
Total 187 57 244
Thus on March 14, 2007, 244 persons, including 57 women, suffered serious physical injuries ; 348 women suffered sexual atrocities of different kinds, including 11 rape cases ; 14 persons including two women were killed ; and four persons had been missing since March 14, 2007. These figures relate to only 40 per cent of the households in the affected villages.
Table 2 : Severe Atrocities on Women on March 14 and 15
SL.No. Nature of Torture Number
1 Physical Torture 274
2 Modesty Violation 46
3 Sexual Torture 17
4 Rape 11
Table 3 : Deaths on March 14, 2007
Male Female Total
12 2 14
Table 4 : Missing since March 14, 2007
Male Female Total
3 1 4
(Source : Sameekshak Samannaya : Nandigram March 14 ; September 2007, Kolkata, p. 13)
On March 15, 2007, the Governor expressed his “cold horror” while condemning the unnecessary and avoidable bloodbath. On the same day on a PIL petition the Calcutta High Court directed the CBI to enquire into the happenings in Nandigram and to submit a report within a week. The CBI found ample evidence of indiscriminate firing from both the police firearms and civilian firearms. They recovered empty shells of 315 sporting rifles. They found out an arsenal at the “Ma Janani” brick kiln in Khejury and arrested 10 goons with illegal firearms. They handed over these culprits to the State Police who released them all after 90 days deliberately without filing any chargesheet. With the presence of the CBI in the region peace was restored. Almost all the culprits fled away. The CBI submitted their preliminary report within seven days in a sealed cover to the High Court. The fact that all the miscreants were CPI-M supporters or hired by them was amply demonstrated by the CBI’s very limited enquiry. But what did the High Court do ?
The High Court initially did nothing.