NATIONAL ALLIANCE OF PEOPLE'S MOVEMENTS*
*C/o CHEMICAL MAZDOOR SABHA, FIRST FLOOR, HAJI HABIB BUILDING,*
*NAIGAON CROSS ROAD, DADAR (E), MUMBAI 400014, *
*email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org *
*Indomitable Struggle is on at Singur & Nandigram. *
*The repressive state and vulgar politics continues to be challenged. *
Singur has not given up. Nor has Tata started its work. A wall that is being built & is already upto 2 to 3 kms in length and 10 feet in height does not seem to be of Tatas. The Tata officials and employees don't seem to be present. People in whose name this well known conflict has been raised are not aware of either who is building the wall or where are Tata's men. The only outsider force that is in and around is still of policemen and women.
Hundreds of the police, may be tired of being on the land in the open but they are not timid. They may not have section 144 to support but the State is with them. Even without CPM cadres now entering Singur to harass and pressurize the farmers, bargadars and labourers there, the State's presence is felt and faced by those whose land is being encroached upon, who are brutally beaten, who are trying to be lured and scared to give away their land.
Singur, unlike the impressions outside, is still fighting with strength and spirit. Thousands of bargadars, labourers and also landholders are not for the forcible occupation of land although fencing of 997 acres of the land, protected by the sheer police force ie., the State's might stands. People too were on the sit-in, in front of the fence on the land not to be acquired. One does find TMC & SUCI representatives there, the Trimanool Congress MLA, Rabindranath, Master Moshai, with other people, student activists supporting them by staying with and being with the village folk, but the whole community is in the struggle, except of course those who have allowed their land to be taken over and accepted cheques not all of which, we are told, are still fully encashed.
When we reached Singur and walked through Beraberi, everything was the same- women, young and old, coming out of their houses, leaving their chores and chanting slogans, welcoming us; at least are at every few furlongs blowing the shell. However, the moment we decided to move towards the fence only to have a look at the fields under siege, hundreds of police encircled us, as if we were to uproot the fence. When they began walking with us it was all right, till they started touching and slightly pushing some of us. The women got upset with the same and started questioning the police who had
encroached upon the land not under acquisition plan. No one had any weapon in the hands except the voice that all of them raised. The police however were bent upon creating a law and order problem and pretending to protect us, the outside visitors, they actually started manhandling the local leaders when we were one foot away from the fence and repeatedly saying that we would not uproot it but we did have the right to touch it. With in a few minutes, when I had three years old child in my hand, I saw the police beating Mamatha Bag and they also began lathi charging others including Prasanth Sinha and Suprathik Das. With in minutes after our raising voice asking them to leave, they withdrew leaving behind seven wounded persons and us to fight the sheer illegality and brutality of the State machinery. Women not belonging to partisan politics kept on challenging the police officials including Kalyan Mukherjee, the ill reputed SDPO, Mr. Sirkar, Mr. Sandeep Bannerjee, Mr. Asit Pal (the names I remember may be with slight mistake) and it was a scene of the peasantry taking the supporters of capitalism by
We did go to the nearest police station with comrades from APDR (Mr. Amit Duty Kumar), NAPM (Pranab Bannerjee, Debjeet and others) as well as Chhatra Sanhati and the wounded villagers lodged FIRs.
This is not the end of the matter. Tata's as well as CPM is bent upon continuing with and forcibly pushing Tata-Fiat project. Tata's are being awarded while Mr. Prody, the PM of Italy was conferred a Doctorate by the Calcutta University.
How powerful is going Krishi Raksha Samiti to be in fighting these giants is to yet to be seen. Much depends on us, those who are for a secular yet popular "and humane agenda and Development perspective" Do whatever you can to spread the message of Singur, the truth that is suppressed with the campaign of falsehood, write to the Italians--parliamentarians, power holders, activists, as well as common people fighting corporatisation themselves--and also with priority, questioning the Left Front.
Will CPI and RSP, Forward Bloc take further courage and stand by people., ask them, please.
And all of this before the movement gets crushed....
*In Singur, People continue to face repression** ***
Nandigram is still burning with anger and anguish both. The battle is far from over. As the women told us, they are awake every night protecting the land and habitats with a threat of armed cadres and policemen entering the region to attack and grab the land. It was an intense people's response to
every meeting of ours organized by Krishi Bhumi Uchched Virodhi Samiti. With each meeting covering about 10 small and large villages, had a gathering of 2000 - 5000 people attending, with women as majority. We could thus cover 20,000 or more people and address them. We, the representatives of National Alliance of People's Movements with our allies including Jan Sangharsh Samiti, Pashcim Bang Khet Mazdoor Samiti and others, moved on the motor bikes in the area which has become a battle field and is cut-off from the rest of the state and country due to the trenches dug all over and small
bridges broken with temporary rafts for the residents and the admitted guests to cross.
Whatever the people of chemical hub- SEZ affected area have gone through during last few days and months was evident from the articulated presentation by the local leaders such as Nand Patra of SUCI, Abdus Samad of Jamiyat Ulema Hind, and women too, all united under the banner of Bhavni Uched Virodhi Samiti. They have been on the watch, day and night since during last one month too, there have been at-least two serious attacks when a few hundred CPM cadres entered the area, with the help of police and tried to threaten and even harass and move the people. When they looked as if they were scared, there came a prompt reply to my question: we are not, we will not be tired or timid either we can't afford to be. The attacking men have been the Communist Party of India cadres, no doubt and recently when crisis erupts, the violence by the villagers is not just reported to the press but cases are filed against the to-be affected, struggling people. The wounded youths showed us a cut finger, a fractured hand while their aged parents wept. The latest among the fake allegation was of raping a woman, which is totally denied by the movement, which has large participation of women.
When we decided to visit Nandigram, it was to assess the latest situation, the State repression, if any and the people's response. Since the area was cut-off from the rest of the region, we were bound to proceed only with the aid of activists-representatives who could take us on the bikes but not
welcome or even allow others.
On the way to Nandigram in Midnapore, Tamluk and a few other small towns, we were welcome and felicitated by a number of local and state level organizations including trader's organization, teacher's, women's, freedom fighter's organization & SUCI with its various fronts.
When we reached closer to Nandigram, followed and escorted by atleast 4 police vehicles, it was at Hanfchara where there were red flags and cadre members of CPI (M) protesting against our visiting Nandigram. They were less than hundred but shouting with all strength and fervour, challenging our
position against SEZ & Industrialisation at the cost of farmers and farmland. We sensed their attacking mood and did not get down the jeeps we were in, but against the police advice, I did peep out trying with folded hands, expressing willingness to have a dialogue but in response, they didn't attack me but broke the side mirror of our jeep and hit the driver of another jeep, also slightly hurting Anuradha Talwar who was inside that jeep. The police escorted us, clearing the way and it seemed the party
agitators too were not determined to stop us for ever. We faced the same at one more point and could reach Nandigram.
With photographers & supporters, atleast 15 motorcycles led us to the first meeting place, crossing the breached bridges, dug-pits and trenches where atleast 1000 people had gathered. A majority of them women, the crowd appeared overwhelmed to receive us and all including the leaders were been to hear the news from outside. Hindu-Muslim unity and beyond, the solidarity was expressed through their gestures, welcoming slogans and our speeches. At every meeting point, where we reached on bikes, people had gathered walking down long distances and yet women had overcrowded, bringing children along. Not all woman spoke from the dais-like table and mike wherever it was arranged but their presence, communication with us, before and after the meeting, anxious looks and patient hearing, slogan raising, ending gesture conveyed their keen interest as well as commitment. I remembered our first meeting in Nandigram on December 7th when only a handful of women had gathered in a corner and I had to comment on the same while the picture has changed much today.
Discussing some strategic issues, gathering information on varied events and occurrences during last one month or so. We addressed a last Bhumi Ucched Pratirodh Committee meeting where party politics were kept out to the extent possible.
When we were about to move, we were informed, warned of the likely and more intense demonstrations by CPM but we expressed our confidence and asked the leaders not to worry.
Amidst a number of police vehicles full of intelligence to action force, we reached a village(Fullimore) called apparently called CPM stronghold and found about 125 CPM workers with flags fluttering on the top, standing with their backs towards us & sharing us the buttocks as appealed by Biman Bose. Their vulgar postures meant showing buttocks to us and spitting at us too. It appeared that women didn't take to this action, probably because they were hesitant to take to such disgraceful form of protest. Our jeeps passed by with full police protection leaving the small number of protestors as well as large masses facing and struggling against violence of every kind.
What conclusion can one draw from the above incidences? First, the Left front is still stubborn and not for any dialogue (Refer my two letters to Left Front leaders - remain unanswered.) *Second, *the people position whether in Singur or in Nadigram is the same. While the West Bengal government is trying to show it is for democratic decision in Nandigram, thousands of women and men have narrated to us stories of continued attacks from CPM cadres, till as late as last week. There is no doubt that people of
Nandigram are also creating barriers and reverting the attackers. The news that bomb in preparation got burst and few of CPM cadres died is not denied by the government, and confirms the people's allegation of weaponization of the opponents. In Singur TMC, SUCI and other party / organizations continue to have programs under the banner of KMRC as also separately.
The question is not what is happening in Singur and Nandigram or other places in Bengal where this struggle is spread at, but what are the progressive people across the country doing? Inspite of a few teams of activists, academicians, historians, advocates etc., having visited the places of struggle as fact finders, the reports and continued stories by the regional language media in West Bengal (if not the national media), the Left Front office bearers to the Cabinet has not felt the need to respond to people's demands. The somewhat different position taken by CPI, RSP, and forward bloc has not been able to compel the state government withdraw its onslaught on the people. No doubt SEZ by Salim Industries, Mitsubishi (Japan) and other global corporates is kept on hold for the time being but the violent threat and intimidation as also false accusations to harassment through legal actions and unwarranted, undemocratic attitude and insulting actions in arrogance against the supporters continue. When thousands of intellectuals, including advocates and academicians have taken a stance and boldly supported the people's struggles; raised a serious public debated through art and articles, it is indeed shameful that the Left front does not heed to the voice of the villagers--proletariat-- and the civil society.
When there is a civil war on, and when the fate of Singur and Nandigram is to surely influence the course of future decision on SEZ and people's rights to natural resources, *WE CANNOT KEEP QUIET.*
Let us write to Sonia Gandhi, Pranab Mukerjee, the PM and our once own Chief Minister.
Do it at the earliest, please, asking them to intervene and stop the atrocities, withdraw TATA-FIAT project in Singur and the Chemical Hub in Nandigram.
*BE WITH US. *