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Lest we forget – 10 years of ‘Operation Sunrise’ in Nandigram

“The ardour of Deepavali has been dampened in the whole state by the events in Nandigram. Several villages in Nandigram are oscillating from the deepest gloom to panic. Even as of 4pm this day, I have received phone calls from responsible persons in Nandigram saying that several huts are ablaze.

Large numbers of villagers have taken refuge in the local high school in Nandigram, bereft of food and personal security. At the time of writing, the most accurate description for Nandigram is the one used by our Home Secretary, namely, it has become a “war zone”. No government or society can allow a war zone to exist without immediate and effective action.”

These ominous words by then Governor of West Bengal, Gopal Krishna Gandhi, on November 9, 2007 are an indication of the large-scale horror and violence unleashed by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in Nandigram. Ten years later, the Governor’s words still ring in our ears, reminding of the anarchist, dictatorial regime that once ruled Bengal.

 

The historic protest march in Kolkata on November 14, 2007

 

Nandigram had been on the boil since January, 2007, when the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee led government decided to set up a chemical hub in Nandigram and wanted to forcibly acquire land there. The same party, which was against SEZ elsewhere in India, was vocally supporting an SEZ for a private Indonesian company. Farmers reused to part with their land and the Party unleashed its harmad goons.

Things escalated when police opened fire on protesting farmers on March 14, 2007, killing 14 (official figures; villagers allege hundreds were killed and thrown into a nearby river). Villagers started fleeing their homes and for months, Nandigram became a ‘muktanchal’ (free zone) for CPI(M) cadres. By the end of October, 2007 when the villagers started returning home, the harmads launched a ‘recapture’ spree that led to unprecedented violence.

“Nandigram has become a slaughter house with blood being shed every day. CPM might be at the helm of affairs but the state still belongs to us,” said National Award winning director Aparna Sen, who along with the likes of Rituparno Ghosh, Bratya Basu, Kaushik Sen, Bibhas Chakraborty and other intellectuals boycotted the ongoing Kolkata Film Festival.

There was a outpouring of public anger, which led to a ‘maha michil’ on November 14 in the heart of Kolkata, decrying the barbaric violence by CPI(M) in Nandigram.

The 34 years of Leftist rule in Bengal is marred by unbridled violence. From Marichjhanpi to Memari, Sainbari to Singur, Nandigram to Netai, Nanoor to Keshpur – the comrades left no stone unturned to ensure there is no political opposition to them. Thousands of people have been slaughtered to keep communism alive in Bengal.

They say a nation cannot progress unless you take lessons from history. As Bengal stares at new political formulations in coming days, it is all the more essential to remember the bloodied past and the cost at which ‘Poriborton’ came in 2011.

Crocodile tears for Ranaghat nun

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In solidarity with Mother Superior from Ranaghat

On Saturday morning – 14 March, 2015 – I was horrified when I received a WhatsApp message from a friend. My faith in humanity was shaken. A 74 year old nun was allegedly gangraped in Nadia district of my state… How beastly can someone’s mentality be to assault a mother! I was moved to tears when next day I read the nun said she forgave the criminals who did it to her. “Forgive them Father, they do not know what they did” said Lord Jesus on the Cross; only someone belonging to the Church could say this for her assaulters.

The incident obviously invited political repercussions across India. BJP, on the backfoot over rising cases of attacks on minorities – specially Christians, was desperate to counter West Bengal government. Without even an iota of evidence, the State President of the party blamed TMC men for the heinous crime. Mamata Di rose to the gravity of the situation, and like a true statesman ordered a CID probe within hours of the incident. She was in constant touch with the Convent while Derek O’Brien was in touch with nuns in Delhi for any assistance.

But the question here is not scoring political brownie points. I would not even be writing this post had the shameless Opposition of Bengal used students as shield to embarrass the CM during her return from Ranaghat on Monday night (this after the Church prevented BJP delegation from meeting the survivor in hospital). BJP’s Sangh affiliate VHP justified the rape and attack on Christians, used abusive analogy with homosexuality to glorify the criminals.

If you open newspapers these days, they all scream about incidents of assault and attack on women. Has the situation in Bengal worsened in the last three years? Or is the media lying? Neither. It is a case of selective reportage. The same media houses which wore a veil when women were violated before 2011 has suddenly found its voice of outrage. The earlier government hardly allowed any dissent to surface; they were quashed locally in party offices. This is the digital age; we live in a free society now – The present government has nothing to hide.

1) No justice has been delivered on the Marijhanpi case in 1977, when thousands of refugee women were brutally raped, murdered and thrown away on the sea by harmads.

2) Remember Bantala, 1990? When Anita Dewan was raped, torch inserted in her private parts by CPM goons, and the Chief Minister Jyoti Basu said, ‘these things happen’.

3) In 1989, Cooch Behar at Fulbari on one single day, 10 Adivasis were raped by CPM harmads and yet no justice to them.

4) The CPM harmads entered Basanti Sonakhali and raped housewives. (1992)

5) Felani Basak, raped and murdered by CPM goons at Nadia in 1992, and no justice to her.

6) At Uday Narayanpur, Howrah, six housewives were raped by CPM goons in 1996. No justice has been delivered.

7) On the infamous Dhantala incident, males in the bus were tired up and CPM goons raped the females in front of them in 2003. And yes, no justice on this too.

8) Has justice being delivered to the brave martyr of Singur, Tapasi Malik, who was raped and murdered in 2006 at the TATA Nano complex, just because she fought for the right for her land?

9) Women who were inhumanly raped by the CPM harmads at Nandigram in 2007 still await justice.

10) Very recently, a 5 year old baby was raped by BJP workers inside the BJP office at Behala. Did Rahul Sinha, Suryakanta Mishra, Adhir Chowdhury ever speak on this issue?

11) One of the Ministers of BJP’s cabinet, Mr Nihal Chand is a rape accused and according to official police record he is absconding. Yet, he continues to attend Parliament and his Ministerial post.

12) BJP is a party, whose MP sat on stage silently while his follower asked the crow to rape the corpses of Muslim women.

13) BJP is the party whose Shakha Sangathans in Sangh Parivar dictate how many kids women should produce.

14) Have we forgotten Bilkis Bano? Have the horror stories of 2002 escaped our minds? The Prime Minister (the CM of Gujarat)’s ministers Babu Bajrangi & Maya Kodnani are out on bail. Have we forgiven them for their heinous crimes?

With such long history of inaction of CPM and the sick mentality of BJP, does it suit them to shed crocodile tears?

 

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