Saturday, November 3, 2007

Nandigram fears the worst

Saket Sundria
NANDIGRAM, Nov 2: The silence in Nandigram is as suggestive as the calm before a storm that is going to strike soon.
Even policemen fear that unless the situation is checked within a day or two, a massive flare-up is imminent. There is a huge build up of arms and men in Khejuri are waiting to attack Nandigram from several fronts.
Things have come to such a pass that even schoolchildren are being forced to fight the war. In Sasigunje, a school teacher, who is supposed to give students lessons in peace and tolerance, actually led them to carry out checks of vehicles and people going towards Nandigram.
A 12-year-old boy told this reporter while checking his vehicle, “You understand what the situation is like. We can't let you in unless we are sure of who you are and what you are carrying.”
CPI-M supporters have almost completely sealed all entry points into Nandigram and there's no way left to go inside. The CPI-M has opened fronts in Bhangabera, Tulaghata, Tekhali Bazaar, Takapura, Kamalpur, and Reyapara.
A villager said: “We are surrounded. We are simply waiting for the attack to begin. For them it might be a kill or get killed battle, but for us it is a battle for survival. We don't have a way out. We are forced to fight to survive.”
A local Bhoomi Ucched Pratirodh Committee (BUPC) leader, Mr Swadesh Das said their fight had ended the day the government declared that there would not be any chemical hub in Nandigram. "But the firing from the Khejuri side never stopped and peace meetings held till date were actually of no use because CPI-M people were just not willing to restore peace. We had only a few demands: one was that there should not be a chemical hub set up here, which has already been met; and those responsible for the 14 March incident should be punished.
Even now, if there are attempts to restore peace, we will co-operate. We don’t want people to die.”
But even today, at around 12 noon, at least 10 rounds were fired by CPI-M supporters from Khejuri. Policemen deployed in the area could only watch helplessly as the goons fired. There was, however, no retaliation from the BUPC men in Nandigram.
In Hanschora near Nandigram, some alleged CPI-M supporters stopped a bus and searched every person on board; even women were not spared. The clothes of some women were partly removed to search them.
CPI-M have made several attempts to capture villages which BUPC currently holds sway over. So far, they have not been successful. But this may soon change.
All this while, the firing was from either side of Tekhali bridge. Now, CPI-M men are attacking from all sides of Nandigram. The apprehension among villagers and BUPC men is that any time now, CPI-M supporters might attack from all sides, simultaneously.
CPI-M’s attempt to block every possible entry to Nandigram met with resistance from Trinamul Conngress supporters in Gargram near Chandipur, Midnapore (East) led to a clash between the two groups around 8.30 pm leaving three people injured, one of them seriously. The Mecheda-Digha road was blocked after that by both the parties.