Friday, November 16, 2007

Letters To The Editor

The Statesman

Why is the Centre a passive onlooker?

Sir, ~ Without batting an eyelid, Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has said explicitly, without mincing words, with reference to Nandigram that “they have been paid back in their own coin”.
It is clear after this statement that he is the chief minister of the CPI-M and not West Bengal.
Calcutta High Court has rapped the state by saying that there is no constitutional government in West Bengal and there is evidence to show that there is no rule of law in the state. There cannot be a more severe castigation of the West Bengal government.
Yet, the UPA government at the Centre remains a passive onlooker. There is every reason to assume that the UPA government has made a barter arrangement with the Left to go ahead with negotiations with the IAEA on India specific safeguards in return for looking the other way with reference to Nandigram.
If this is not so, it is hard to understand why the Centre did not bother to act and pull up the state government for dereliction of duty. It is obvious that the UPA government failed to do what it was expected to do in the circumstances.
Parliament is due to convene in a few days and one can expect fireworks in both Houses and the UPA government trying to vainly defend the indefensible.
I feel that Nandigram will prove to be the Waterloo for the Left in West Bengal. After all, bad times cannot last for ever.
~ Yours, etc., PS Ponnuswami,
Kolkata, 14 November.

What about Bose?

Sir, ~ Watching a Bengali news channel, I was stunned to find that the channel and other news-broadcasters were being accused of using foul language.
The leaders at the Nandigram CPI-M office resent the reporting of what is happening in the area. A graphic representation of the ground realities is therefore tantamount to using unrefined, abusive language!
I would like to ask these righteous people to just stop and listen to the words uttered by their revered leader, Mr Biman Bose.
Mr Bose has time and again overstepped the bounds of decency, using language that would make a slum-dweller blush! A man in his position should show a little more restraint. The statements that he utters are irresponsible, gross, fictitious and in extremely poor taste. An example was his recent comment about throwing rosogollas and mudki in retaliation for firing by the opposition. How can a senior leader issue such statements publicly and not be censured by the party and government?
~ Yours, etc., Kamalini Mazumder,
Kolkata, 14 November.

Weakness and inertia

Sir, ~ Apropos of your thought provoking leader “Bengal’s ‘war zone’ ” (9 November), there is no denying that what started as a protest against the decision (as-of-now withdrawn) to set up a chemical hub at Nandigram later became a virtual battle for control. One side blames atrocities by Marxist supporters who in turn assert that they have been driven out of their homes by the BUPC. The fire of discontent was further fuelled by the police firing of 14 March.
The latest violence during the “recapture” of Nandigram appears to have provoked the home secretary’s lament that the place is a “war zone”. Despite the CPI-M cadres precipitating the situation since 5 November night, it is not understood as to why the district administration and police abdicated their basic responsibility of maintaining law and order. The CPI-M’s local MP added fuel to the fire by calling on the party cadres to be “prepared to kill or be killed”, and the CPI-M state secretary saying that his comrades are not expected to throw sweets when bullets are fired at them.
Even if the CPI-M stepped up its onslaught on the BUPC for the last ten months or more, was it not imperative on the part of the district administration and police to nip the trouble in the bud without allowing the situation to worsen? The chief minister’s statement that Nandigram exists beyond the purview of governance unmistakably shows that his credibility as a firm and unwavering administrator has touched the nadir.
The inaction of the district administration and police at the initial stage apart, the state home secretary’s dilly-dallying about instructions for a combing operation and the police entering the disturbed area invoking Section 144 CrPC when violence first erupted at Nandigram smacks of lack of political clearance by the CPI-M. This has only exposed the utter weakness and inertia of the state administration.
~ Yours, etc., Arun Kumar Bhaduri,
Kolkata, 10 November.

Power of humanity

Sir, ~ Artistes and the intelligentsia are protesting against the happenings at Nandigram. This shows that the power of humanity is stronger than the power of the gun.
Violence such as that seen in Nandigram occur when democracy is strangulated. It’s sixty years since independence, the people of Bengal have never witnessed such rape of democracy. Reporters, cameramen and even Miss Mamata Banerjee have not been spared from harassment and attack.
~ Yours, etc., Apares Datta,
Hooghly, 13 November.

Full circle

Sir, ~ It is reported that those who were forced to flee from Nandigram for fear of life have started re-occupying their homes with force. Miss Mamata Banerjee, who lacks political wisdom but possesses the rare quality of doing mischief, seems to be responsible for the continuation of violence and resultant loss of life and property at Nandigram.
What was initially a fight by the villagers irrespective of political affiliation was turned into a battle against the CPI-M. Thus, the agitation to save the land (from acquisition) was later directed against the CPI-M supporters.
Miss Banerjee used the BUPC, consisting of simple villagers, mostly cultivators, as a launching pad. Otherwise there is no reason for the lady to raise a hue and cry over Nandigram when the chief minister had publicly announced that there would not be any chemical hub there. Miss Banerjee does not know where to stop.
The direct consequence of her ill-design was the ouster of CPI-M supporters from their homes. And now comes the turn of those poor villagers who, at the instigation of people having a political axe to grind, revolted against their own men having CPI-M connection. These people, under no stretch of the imagination, can be held responsible for the ill-conceived plan of the state government. Now the wheel has completed its full circle.
~ Yours, etc., Durgadas Guha Mazumder, Kolkata, 9 November.