Monday, November 12, 2007

They didn’t spare the kids: Victim

They didn’t spare the kids: Victim
A woman outside a Tamluk hospital. (Pradip Sanyal)

Calcutta, Nov. 11: CPM supporters ignored pleas to spare the children and kept firing at the Pratirodh Committee procession yesterday, said Sanat Pramanik, now in SSKM Hospital with a bullet wound.

“They were firing indiscriminately. Several kids were killed. We pleaded with them to spare the kids but they kept firing,” Sanat recounted from his bed at Cabin 22 of Wood Burn ward.

Two men and a woman were brought to SSKM with bullet injuries yesterday. Doctors said their condition was “critical but stable”.

Sanat was in front of the rally when the firing started. “First there was intermittent firing and the crowd started dispersing sensing danger. Soon, there was heavy firing.”

The man from Karpara saw “three children being hit by bullets and lying still” in front of him.

Hit on the left foot, he collapsed.

Tapas Khatua of Gangra dived into a pond with a child and dragged himself several hundred feet to save himself after being hit by a bullet on the waist.

“The procession started at Sonachura around 9.30am and was moving towards Nandigram,” he said. When it reached Parulbari near Maheshpur High School, around 60 people came out of a house and started firing. “A bullet pierced a man’s abdomen and hit me. The man died on the spot.”

Tapas dived into a pond. “A child had grabbed my shirt and I took him along. There were a lot of men and women, diving into the pond.”

He climbed out of the pond and started the crawl, across a paddy field, towards a cluster of houses. “I don’t know what happened to the boy,” Tapas said. Bleeding profusely and in seering pain, he pulled himself into a house.

“Everybody was in panic. I requested two women to take me to hospital,” he said.

While walking with the women as crutches, some of the villagers identified Tapas and took him to hospital.

Jhuma Das, 30, a mother of three, was returning to her in-laws from her parents’ house in Kalicharanpur when she was caught in the crossfire. A bullet pierced one foot and hit the other.

“I don’t know who took me to hospital,” she said.

The ambulance in which Sanat was being taken to hospital was stopped at several places by CPM mobs which had set up roadblocks.

On March 14, two tear gas shells had burst very close to Sanat and affected his vision.