Thursday, December 27, 2007

Keeping the protests going

A fast & a missed chance to earn breadDEVADEEP PUROHIT AND ANSHUMAN PHADIKAR

Nandigram, Dec. 26: Mozammil Haque of Rajaramchowk observes roza without fail during the Ramazan month.
The 50-something farmer had an unscheduled roza today and ate his staple maachh-bhaat only after evening prayers.
“I had decided not to eat until the chief minister left Nandigram. I observed a day’s roza as a mark of protest,” the staunch Bhoomi Uchchhed Pratirodh Committee supporter said before leaving for prayers.
The chief minister had left Nandigram by then and his message — that no land would be acquired and there would be peace and development — had reached residents.
“I know they will not take our land. But that is only because of our movement. We’ll have to continue with it,” Mozammil said. Fellow villagers Khokon and Saira Bibi echoed him.
None of them was interested in discussing the chief minister’s meeting, which the Pratirodh Committee boycotted.
The committee had asked its supporters to observe a fast as long as Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee was in Nandigram.
“A lot of people, both Hindus and Muslims, in Rajaramchowk, Garchakraberia, Sonachura and Adhikarypara fasted today. The response was spontaneous,” said committee leader and Contai South MLA Subhendu Adhikary.
Mozammil stopped by neighbour Syed Muzaffar Ali’s hut to show the impact of the committee’s call.
Muzaffar, also on fast, was preparing to leave for the local mosque. His daughter Rina was rustling up a late lunch for the family. The girl in her teens was frying eggs for her six-year-old nephew Sohail, who was hungry.
Muzaffar told her to feed the child while stepping out of the two-storey mud house, off the road connecting Hajrakata and the Bhangabera bridge.
“There is a difference between promising and ensuring peace. CPM cadres are waiting for the right time to hit back at us,” said Muzaffar, fear of a fresh backlash written on his wrinkled face.
According to him, not more than 500 people from the area went for the chief minister’s show in Tengua. The CRPF’s presence, he added, prevented the CPM from herding villagers to it.
CPM supporters ruled out the possibility of more violence, at least in public. “The peace process has started. People will realise it soon,” said Bikash Maiti.
The Contai resident took a bus to Khejuri in the morning and walked 8.5km with a procession to reach the meeting venue. He was aware of the mistrust among committee supporters about the CPM’s intentions but peace, he said, was only a matter of time.
Bikash’s bigger concern was the loss of a job opportunity. “I’m unemployed. The chemical hub gave me a lot of hope. We’ve missed the chance.”
His friend Arabinda Barik agreed. Arabinda has a small salon in Khejuri. “It’s a hand-to-mouth existence. Wish I had a regular job,” he murmured after getting off a party bus that took him to the chief minister’s meeting.
The turnout at the Tengua field spelt success today but for success inside Nandigram villages, the chief minister has to address the twin problems of “mistrust” among committee members and loss of hope among cadres.


Nandigram said...

This will relate to the current situations in Nandigram.
To the extent the West Bengal state Government has politicalized the administration is quite unbelievable. I can personally share an inicident that I faced as a student in the university. It was in 1990 at the Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya, I was heckled by the supporters of SFI, the students wing of the CPI(M), for independently organizing a cultural programme in the honor of outgoing students. In the group, came there a student named Prasun Banerjee- an immediate junior of my batch, along with others he assulted me physically. This incident happened in the university hostel, named A PC Roy Hall of the Mohanpur campus in Nadia district. Mr. Banerjee later went on to join the WB Civil Service and he recently has been posted as additional Superintendent of Police to the East Midnapore district to handle the Nandigram situation as a party loyalist. Mr. Banerjee's name appeared in the net news where he has been alleged for blocking the opposition leader Ms. Mamata Banerjee to visit one of the Nandigram villages. I would appreciate if your blog publishes it to make the people aware that the CPI(M) uses their power to waste the tax payers money and use the money for their own political gain.