Sunday, December 2, 2007

The border between Ora and Aamra

The border between Ora and Aamra

Today is December 2, 2007 . Last year on the same day we watched on the small screen the torture of the villagers of Singur. They were not ready to give up their land for the Tata Motors project. There was no division like aamra and ora at that point of time. So all the channels simultaneously showed the brutality of the police. It was unbelievable! The division was made quite sharply.

Tapasi Malik, a girl in her teens, fought for the land of Singur with all her might. It was December 18, 2006. She was silently picked up by the wolves before dawn. The poor girl was tortured, raped and burnt alive. The division of ora and aamra became obvious. One news channel aired a story of her committing suicide for a broken relationship. It was because she belonged to ora in the eyes of the ruling party.

In the first week of January, the district administration of East Midnapore suddenly served a notice to acquire land for a proposed chemical hub. There was protest from the farmers. Seven villagers died on the spot. Did the administration enquire how there were firearms in the farmers’ houses? No. Only the chief minister announced that he had ordered to tear off the notice. Didn’t he know that it was impossible to dismiss a court order in this manner? Of course he knew!

Then came March 14. The police and also the anti-social elements groomed by the ruling party attacked the unarmed farmers. The villagers held a puja in an open place. They prayed to save their land. Naturally there were women and children among the crowd. The police and the hoodlooms together fired and killed 14 people (officially), raped and tortured women. Even the children were not spared.

The last 11 months never found peace in the area. Because the administration refused to take any step against the criminals. A group of CBI investigators arrested 10 to 12 anti-socials from Janani Intbhata. They were released later by the state police. I had been to Nandigram on March 21. The division between amra and ora confused us. We wanted to know the truth. I shall never forget the day, the eyes of the women in absolute trauma, the description of their kids being killed before their eyes. The ora were obviously neglected by the government hospital authority. Even the patients brought to Calcutta with bullet injuries were not served a proper discharge certificate. The types of injuries were never mentioned. The altercation between the CPM, Bhumi Uchhed Pratirodh Committee and the administration seemed endless.

I was there again on May 1. We had been to Sonachura with relief for the affected people. We were attacked by the goons on our way back. Some men marched with slogans “CPM Zindabad” and carried CPM flags. Later the flags were used as dandas that broke the window screen of one of our cars. The drunk lumpens poured abuses and looked for specific persons. I was among the wanted, but fortunately managed to escape. We went to the local police station. They would not accept the complaint. It took hours to get things done. You can imagine what had occurred with the poor farmers when this could easily happen to the privileged class of the society.

The mid-November showered “peace” in Nandigram. The cadres and hundreds of hired goons butchered people, abducted women, burnt the houses of the farmers who belonged to ora. They “recaptured” the territory and hoisted red flags all over the area. They made the ora utter that they belonged to aamra henceforth. The police remained mere observers. That was the instruction. It was no longer “police atrocities”. The chief minister announced with pride that Ora “...were paid back (in) their own coin”. The chief minister belonged to aamra .

Meanwhile, we witnessed the unnatural death of Rizwanur Rahman. We observed how cunningly the police shifted Taslima Nasreen from the state.

We, the common people of West Bengal, most of us, have lost all our faith in our rulers. We want to question why the government has maintained double standards, especially for the past one year? Why the CPM has always unjustifiably blamed those who protest? Why even the Honourable Governor and the Honourable High Court have failed to escape their verbal attack? Will there ever be any answer? Perhaps no. We are passing through a horrible time.

(The writer is an actor and playwright)