Sunday, November 25, 2007

Agitation unwarranted, say activists

The Hindu

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Academics and artistes on Wednesday described as “totally unwarranted” the agitation in the Nandigram area of West Bengal after the Left Front government’s repeated announcements that no chemical hub would be established there.

In a statement, they also said the protests being organised against the return of Communist Party of India (Marxist) sympathisers to the area are “as unjustified as they are unhelpful” for the restoration of normality.

Sympathy with peasantry

Expressing “complete sympathy” with peasantry engaged anywhere in struggles against forcible dispossession by or on behalf of corporate interests, they said the continuation of the agitation in Nandigram was a “means of making the region out of bounds for CPI(M) sympathisers.”

Return of refugees

Also, according to them, it was a means of preventing the return of refugees driven out of their homes and into refugee camps since January, of keeping out the administrative personnel of the State, and of establishing the unchallenged writ of a coterie over the entire area; all of which violated basic human rights and constituted a blatantly anti-democratic act reminiscent of what happened at Kespur in West Medinipur district a few years earlier.

The signatories said no voices of protest other than from the Left Front were raised against the “flagrant denial of basic rights” to thousands of people whose only fault was that they supported the Left Front.

“In the absence of intervention by the State machinery and civil society organisations, and of unwillingness for a political dialogue by the Opposition Trinamool Congress, is it surprising that the displaced CPI(M) sympathisers made their own moves to return to their homes?”


The real need of the hour is to ensure that this return does not give rise to a further round of displacement — “this time for the opponents of the Left Front, and that peace and normality returns to Nandigram at the earliest.”

The signatories include Irfan Habib, Prabhat Patnaik, Utsa Patnaik, Shireen Moosvi, Jayati Ghosh, Indira Chandrasekhar, Rajen Prasad, Arjun Dev, D.N. Jha, Vivan Sundaram, M.K. Raina, C.P. Chandrasekhar, and Saeed Mirza.