Press Release of Peoples’ Tribunal on Nandigram, 28 May 2007 and TASAM Report on Nandigram Massacre

Click here to read TASAM report on Nandigram massacre [PDF, 0.2 MB]

Press Release on Peoples’ Tribunal

28 May, Kolkata

In its interim report, the independent People’s Tribunal on Nandigram has recommended, among other measures, the setting up of special Human Rights Courts to ensure speedy justice in all cases of human rights violations in Nandigram and adjoining areas.

The Tribunal, organized by the All India Citizens Initiative, heard depositions from victims, witnesses, social activists, intellectuals, doctors, human rights groups and other concerned organisations here today. The hearings were held in both Nandigram and Kolkata from 26-28 May and headed by Justice S.N.Bhargava, former Chief Justice of the Sikkim High Court.

Tribunal members, which included Pravash Joshi (Editorial Advisor, Jansatta), Lalita Ramdas ( Social Activist), John Dayal (Member, National Integration Council) and Jyotirmoy Samajder (Psychiatrist), visited the site of police firing and other places in the Nandigram area relevant to understanding the circumstances and nature of the violence.

Meanwhile Mr Anup Agarwal, the District Magistrate of Midnapur (East) issued a letter to the organizers of the Tribunal asking under what ‘law of the land’ such a Tribunal was being organized. The All India Citizen’s Initiative in its reply said that the Tribunal had been organized under Article 51 of the Constitution, which calls upon every citizen of India ” to promote harmony and spirit of brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic, regional and social diversities”. It must be mentioned here that all concerned official agencies were informed of the Tribunal and requested to depose before it but none of them turned up.

The Tribunal received over 39 oral and 142 written depositions at the hearings held at primary schools in Gokulnagar and Sonachura and the University Institute Hall in Kolkata. While a final report of its findings is still being prepared the Tribunal has the following observations to make, based on prima facie evidence as well as depositions made before it:

– There is no doubt at all that grave violations of human rights have been committed against the villagers of Nandigram;

– There seems to be a disturbingly large number of reports of sexual violence against women;

– There is an urgent need for a thorough, independent investigation of the events of 14 March 2007, especially with a view to ensuring justice for all those whose rights have been violated;

– There are still a significant number of people in the area who need immediate medical attention for various problems related to the violence;

– From all accounts no steps have been taken by the state machinery to provide compensation for the dead and injured so far.

– The education and normal activities of school going children in both Nandigram and adjoining areas such as Khejuri have been seriously affected due to both past and ongoing disturbances.

Based on these observations the Tribunal would therefore like to make the following preliminary recommendations:

– Special Human Rights Courts should be set up in West Bengal at the earliest to deal with all cases of human rights violations that have occurred in Nandigram and adjoining areas;

– Stringent punishment needs to be meted out to all public officials and others guilty of violation of human rights or administrative lapses leading to such violations;

– There should be adequate compensation and social rehabilitation provided to families of all those killed or injured in the violence of 14 March 2007, as well as in the period before and after this date.

– Many of those injured were men and women working as wage labour in agriculture and other sectors. They are no longer able to continue working and must be also be provided alternate employment;

– There should be special compensation and social rehabilitation provided to all victims of rape or molestation in Nandigram and adjoining areas;

– Steps should be taken immediately to trace all those who are supposed to have gone ‘missing’ in the aftermath of the violence in Nandigram and adjoining areas;

– Free and competent medical treatment should be provided by the state government for all those physically or mentally affected by the violence;

– Urgent relief needs to be provided to all those whose livelihoods have been severely affected by the turmoil since January 2007.

– Immediate steps should be taken to stop ongoing violence in Nandigram and adjoining areas and every effort made, in a sincere manner, to bring peace among all factions involved. The services of non-governmental and civil society organizations should be utilized in the peace process if necessary;

– All necessary precautions need to be taken to prevent the occurrence of such events in future in other parts of West Bengal.

The Tribunal will continue working on a final report of its findings and present them to various concerned agencies for further action.

Nagarik Mancha
134 Raja Rajendra Lal Mitra Road
Room 7; Block B; First Floor
Kolkata 700085 India
Phone: +913323731921

Notification of Peoples’ Tribunal – May 18, 2007

WHEREAS on 14th March, 2007, a large section of people/local residents protesting against the entry of the huge armed contingent of police and other categories of armed forces in Nandigram area, Purba Medinipur, West Bengal, were allegedly attacked, and injured and killed in the police firing;

AND whereas 14 people including women (according to the government version) were officially confirmed as being killed in the violence while many women and men were severely injured by firing, lathi- beating and /or use of toxic materials;

And whereas there were also incidents of arson, carnage, violence, killing and flight from affected villages starting from the month of January 2007, including the incidents of violence on 6 / 7th January 2007;

And whereas there has been continuation of such violence even after 14th March incident, including that on 30th April 2007;

And whereas there has been considerable public reaction, outcry and commotion over the14th March incident; and other incidents of violence; and whereas it has been prima-facie established that the police action of 14 March 2007 is violative of Article 21 of Constitution of India and of various provisions of the laws of the land and of human rights.

And whereas the All India Citizens’ Initiative are of the firm opinion that it is necessary to constitute an independent People’s Tribunal for the purpose of finding truth about the aforesaid matter(s), which is definitely a matter of public importance;

And whereas no Judicial Inquiry Commission has been set up by the Government authorities to inquire into the aforesaid matter(s);

Therefore, in these circumstances, the All India Citizens’ Initiative, comprising of eminent citizens from various sections of society of India, decides to set up a people’s Tribunal consisting of judges and juries namely.:

Justice Bhargava, Ex-Chief Justice Sikkim High Court
Prabash Joshi, Editor, Jansatta
Minakshi Sen Bandopadhyay, Ex-Member, Womens
Commission, Tripura
Lalita Ramdas, Social Activist
John Dayal, Journalist and Human Rights Activist
Jyotirmay Samajder, Doctor
And others

in order to investigate the aforesaid matter(s)

The TERMS OF REFERENCE OF THE TRIBUNAL shall be as follows:

(i) to inquire into the background, causes, course, nature and motive, if any leading to the incident of 14th March;

(ii) to consider whether any organized group or groups of people or individual/individuals was/were involved in the incident and /or were behind the incident;

(iii) to ascertain whether the reported state violence and alleged mass killings were done or purported to be done for restoration of public order and for establishment of rule of law in the affected areas, and to find out responsibility of the state authorities, administrative as well as law enforcing agencies;

(iv) to inquire into the nature of social, economic and medical consequences upon the victims in particular as well as the people of Nandigram and adjoining areas at large;

(v) to examine whether there was any cases of disappearances/ missing arising out of the police action/or state-supported actions and also to examine truthfulness of allegations of lapse or failure on the part of police and medical practitioners towards injured victims;

(vi) to consider such other matters relevant or incidental to the aforesaid terms of reference as the tribunal may deem fit and proper .

With this TERMS OF REFERENCE, the TRIBUNAL is now issuing this public notification [ ref.no PTN-01/05/007 dt 16.05.07] inviting the State Government, District Administration, Purba Medinipur, including police administration of both State and District level, the Chief Medical Officer of Health of the District and other doctors and sisters attached to health departments and hospitals of the district, political parties, associations /organizations /(mass and /or social )/ NGOs, members of the public having knowledge or acquainted with the INCIDENT or other incidents or facts relevant to the above TERMS OF REFERENCE, to furnish to the Tribunal Statements of Facts relating to the aforesaid incident or the above terms of reference.