Nandigram under siege – State prepares for CRPF deployment

Nov 5, 2207 : Nandigram under siege

Statesman News Service

Hundreds of CPI-M gunmen rained bombs and fired shots at Nandigram areas from Khejuri side this evening. Bhumi Uchched Protirodh Committee leader Mr Swadesh Adhikari alleged that CPI-M cadres had called their colleagues to join them in their attack on the BUPC and reinforce their presence in the area. The CPI-M’s intention, it seems, is to capture Nandigram before the arrival of Central forces this week.

This has created panic among the BUPC leaders who have alerted their supporters to remain on guard throughout the night on the Khejuri-Nandigram border to counter Red rampage, Mr Adhikary said.

The BUPC leader, Mr Nanda Patra, lodged a complaint with the Nandigram police in this regard around 11 p.m.
SP Mr SS Panda said he had not yet received any message about the incident from Nandigram police station nor from the BUPC. “But what can the police do in the midst of gunfire between rival groups at night,” the SP argued.
Earlier this morning, violence flared up in Nandigram when CPI-M activists, holed up in Khejuri, attacked BUPC supporters at the Tekhali bridge.

Around 4.30 a.m. nearly 500 armed men tried to cross the Talpati canal and enter Nandigram. They fired in the air and threw bombs. Alarmed by the attack, BUPC members, guarding the bridge, blew conch shells. Within minutes over 3,000 villagers from all over the area rushed towards the bridge and formed a human wall to block the advancement of CPI-M invaders. Following this the attackers retreated.

Another attack was launched around 10.30 a.m. Police remained silent spectators. Five rounds were fired and bombs thrown. However, this attack was foiled after people rushed in from Nandigram and two rounds were fired in retaliation.

The Trinamul Congress organised a rally in Reyapara, a CPI-M stronghold, following which Left supporters evacuated the area. Five shots were fired and two bombs exploded at Khejuri.

The state government today said Central forces requisitioned by it would be under its command. The IG Western Range Mr Arun Gupta, who was present at Nandigram on the day of the carnage, was transferred today.

Home secretary Mr PR Roy said: “Any Central agency coming in functions under state command. Do you think they (Central forces) would be willing to commit anything illegal while following our orders? If bullets are fired from both directions, is the CRPF going to retaliate only in one direction?’’

Meanwhile, Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today said at a CPI-M meeting in Howrah that the government had wanted to make Nandigram another Haldia but failed to convince the people. Apprehending a genocide in Nandigram at the behest of the state police, Trinamul leader Miss Mamata Banerjee warned the government of serious consequences.


Nov 2, 2007 : Citizen’s body opposes deployment of CRPF

Statesman News Service

The Ganamukti parishad has urged the Union home minister not to deploy a battalion of Central Reserve Police Force at Nandigram as sought by the state government. This, according to the parishad, is a trap for the UPA-government “the CPI-M is laying
because it does not want to be seen firing on the innocent villagers of Nandigram any more and wants the Central force to do the dirty work.”

To achieve this end the chief minister has “cooked up” the story that he had definite information about a group of about 100 Naxalites moving in the area, the letter he has written to Mr Shivraj Patil stated. The parishad alleged the CPI-M was now trying to recapture’ Nandigram by using its musclemen and armed mercenaries led by the party’s local satraps. It has information that goons are being brought from Bihar and Jharkhand and other parts of West Bengal. On top of it, it wants an additional battalion of CRPF so that the blood it had spilled on 14 March stains the Central force now and the state administration can escape the guilt of killing innocent villagers resisting marauding gangs of armed CPI-M cadres. The state government, the parishad wrote, has 19 battalions of armed policemen, in addition to its usual police force. In fact, it can restore peace to the 28 mouzas of Nandigram within an hour, but it won’t risk being branded once again as killers of innocent villagers which is why it still wants an additional battalion of CRPF.

The parishad pointed out that the chief minister’s reference to a wing of the human rights outfit, Association for the Protection of Democratic Rights, is politically motivated just as the attempt once made by the Kolkata Police to brand the octogenarian litterateur, Mahasweta Debi, as a “maoist”. It contested the claim by the CPI-M state secretary, Mr Biman Bose, that Nandigram has a difficult topography which was echoed by the chief minister. This, according to the parishad, is a total misrepresentation of facts intended to misguide the Centre.

“Mr Bhattacharjee has already blood on his hands and now he intends to stain your clothes with it too,” it wrote to Mr Patil.