Friday, May 4, 2007

Please comment on this editorial in The Telegraph

Revenge and vendetta are always a never-ending process until the State intervenes to stop the violence and the suffering. In Nandigram, even after the government of West Bengal has announced that there will be no land acquisition, and that a special economic zone will not be built in the area, there are thousands of people who are unable to return to their homes. They had to flee late last year when they were attacked by those opposed to land acquisition. The narrative of violence should not be reduced to the otiose question of who cast the first stone. The origin of the violence is perhaps lost in the epoch when the Communist Party of India first established dominance in the rural world of West Bengal. The recent episodes of homelessness and escalation of violence can be more easily dated to early January when the dispute over land acquisition first reared its ugly head in Nandigram. Attempts by the homeless, most of whom belong to the CPI(M), to return to their homes — first with the armed protection of party cadre and then with the help of the police — have proved to be futile and violent. It is clear that in Nandigram, large groups of people, aided and abetted by various political parties and groups, are in the possession of arms, which they are also trained to use. The vicious cycle of violence has paralyzed normal life, made administration non-existent and the sway of the rule of law, at best, tenuous. The State cannot allow such a situation to continue indefinitely. People have to return to their homes and the administration must be allowed to function.
The fact that land will no longer be acquired in Nandigram has made the protest of the Bhumi Uchchhed Pratirodh Committee completely irrelevant. What it is fighting now is an unseemly turf battle. It is unwilling to allow CPI(M) supporters and workers to come back to their homes. The only way to resolve the impasse is for Nandigram to be labelled a ‘disturbed area’. This will enable the state to deploy, with the help of the Centre, para-military forces that would carry out combing operations in the area to recover arms, irrespective of the political affiliations of the possessors of those arms. The government of West Bengal should move immediately towards declaring Nandigram to be a disturbed area. The State should act to restore the rule of law in Nandigram.


Anonymous said...

The newspaper and the writer completely ignores the fact that for the people opposed to land acquisition and affilaited tot he various groups defending their turf in Nandigra, the matter is one of life and death. The CPM supporters who have been evicted from the area want to re-ocuupy it and teach them a lesson. They also have the backing of a 30year old government and its official terror machine -- the police. Pushed to the limit, the people opposed to land acqusition within Nandidgram have no option but to defend with everything they have.

Aniruddha Dutta said...

also, what about the fact that power bears a local face here, and the 'turf' is precisely that arena where it is faced? the local strategies of revenge of CPM need to be addressed or all this becomes brazen hyposcrisy and one-sided journalism (one thinks of the possibility of subsequent denial of jobs to locals by the CPM local machinery, raised by Dr. Kavita Punjabi in a meeting at Jadavpur Universoity following her visit to the area - does anyone know if the citizen's solidarity report is out?)

olidhar said...

am sort of curious to know who commissioned this piece. reporting that even wants to be worth its name surely cannot be this un-researched or just plain stupid.
'The fact that land will no longer be acquired in Nandigram...'
fact, is it? says which respectable and can-be-born-by-law document, exactly?
and paramilitary is a nice polysyllabic word -- it would be instructive to know what acquaintance the author has with said paramilitary forces who will hold a combing of the area. and of the state that will act to restore the rule of law etc.

and the point about the denial of jobs etc (certain people still have to 'save face', don't they?) seconded.

Madhura said...

this seems to me to be a sequel to the 'velvet gloves' editorial ( the bit there about how the police should have been more forceful in singur...and now how the state should bring in paramilitary forces

and as Kavitadi pointed out in the same meeting, people in nandigram want CPI(M) people to return...for then this nightly round of bullets is bound to protect the intersts of their own party members

also, as Amlan Das Gupta had pointed out once...this editorial is written in the wake of the continuing disturbances in the 'disturbed areas' of KASHMIR and MANIPUR...we know exactly, what paramilitary troops can do once unleashed...but this thing doesn't seem to enter into the public consciousness at spite of all the manoramas of this world...which is why such an editorial is, in itself, is flagrant violation of human rights