Shame Factors: Food Politics, Land Game and Mass Destruction Agenda
|MULNIVASI BAHUJAN BHARAT|
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As the country battled swine flu, the pandemic took the lives of two men and a woman in Maharashtra and Uttarakhand, raising the nationwide toll to 102 even as 128 more tested positive for the virus in various states.
Observing that there has been no progress in action against anti-India terror by Pak, New Delhi ruled out talks, saying it would be meaningless until there is proof of Islamabad taking concrete steps to end the menace.
India Apr-July fiscal deficit at $32.5 bn: Govt
31 Aug 2009, 1808 hrs IST, REUTERS
NEW DELHI: India's fiscal deficit in April-July was at 1.59 trillion rupees ($32.5 billion), or 39.5 percent of the full-year target, the government
Tax receipts were 863.1 billion rupees and expenditure was 2.65 trillion rupees for the first four months of 2009/10 fiscal year.
In July, the government forecast a fiscal deficit at 4.01 trillion rupees, or 6.8 percent of gross domestic product, for 2009/10 (April/March).
UPA 100 days' scorecard: Hits, misses & the action points
The Manmohan Singh government completed 100 days in office on Aug 30.Here is a bird's eye view of how the UPA2 government functioned in office:
Hits: 10 good deeds
1. Setting up delivery monitoring unit within the Prime Minister's office to ensure effective delivery of government's flagship programmes. This was set up within 45 days in office and is functioning effectively.
2. Setting up the Unique Identification Authority headed by Nandan Nilekani. A good and ambitious move.
3. A new draft direct tax code to recast the Income Tax Act. Revolutionary in concept and will make IT payments easier and less burdensome. Credit goes to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.
4. Security environment has improved. Setting up four NSG hubs in Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Chennai which have become operational. Credit should go to Home Minister P Chidambaram.
5. Overhauling of the education system and the Right to Education Act. Good work has begun, but problems lie ahead. Credit goes to HRD minister Kapil Sibal.
6. Overhauling medical education by bringing in a single regulator called the National Council of Human Resources and Health. A good and bold move. Credit should go to Health Minister Gulam Nabi Azad.
7. Rajiv Awas Yojana for rural poor under JNNURM that will provide affordable housing through partnership for the rural poor. Credit goes to Ministry of Urban Housing and Poverty Alleviation headed by Kumari Selja.
8. Gender equality at grassroot level by introducing 50 percent reservation in panchayats. Credit goes to Rural Development Ministry headed by C P Joshi.
9. Special trains for women, non stop trains, reduction in tatkal ticket rates. Credit goes to Railway Minister Mamta Banerjee.
10. Sops in new foreign trade policy including tax refunds for exporters, lower transaction costs, better export infrastructure. Credit: Commerce and Industry Ministry Anand Sharma.
We have the potential to create a sustainable world where 100% of the population lives comfortably and in harmony with our environment.
Securing a Doha deal would favour a quick and smooth recovery, without additional fiscal costs, by injecting a significant boost to the global economy.
Left confused, Right ragged back to the Centre?
This was the Naxalite revolt, and it burst out first in West Bengal, ... In the context of economic crisis, drought, and food shortage in 1965-66, the Agrarian Crisis continues till this date. In Bengal, the Agrarian Crisis is branded as Insurgency subject to Immediate Repression, Military Option and zero tolerance! Just because the Ruling Marxist gestapo Hegemony is UPROOTED from its Agrarian Mass Base and running on the Super Highway Colonised Capitalist MADONALDISATION. While the Ruling Left front COMMEMORATES the Golden Jubilee of FOOD Movement, the Launching Pad for State Power, US Brands wait in the wings to CAPTURE Food retail in West Bengal! The Opposition led by CONG TMC combination also,IRONICALLY enough celebrates the COMMEMORATIONS in Midnapur in Turmoil. It was the CONG Government led by Dr BIDHAN Chandra Roy, directly appointed by Lady Mountbatten,which OPENED fire on the STRVING Masses in Kolkata and it was the first GENOCIDE in Independent India.
Meanwhile, India's government said on Monday 278 districts in 11 states have been affected by drought as monsoon rains were 24 percent deficient between June 1 and August 27.
The world foodgrains production is expected to be lower by 2.5 per cent to 1,748 million tonnes in 2009-10 even as the International
In 2008-09, the global foodgrains production stood at 1,792 million tonnes (MT).
"An unexpected good yield in the EU and improved prospects for US maize and spring wheat, resulted in a further 15 MT increase in the world grain production forecast to 1,748 MT, only 2.5 per cent short of the 2008 record," IGC said.
Till last month, UK-based IGC had pegged the global foodgrains production at 1,733 million tonnes (MT). However, it revised it slightly upward by 15 MT in its August report after gauging the improved crop prospects in the US and Europe.
According to IGC report, the global wheat output is pegged at 662 MT, an increase of 8 MT from last month, as yields exceeded expectations in the US, Europe, Ukraine and China.
Similarly, the world maize output is forecast to be 787 MT in 2009-10, an increase of 7 MT from July forecast, but short of 2MT from 2008-09 season, it said.
Meanwhile, global consumption is forecast to rise by five million tonnes from last month to a record 1,741 MT, mainly because of increasing use of maize to produce ethanol in the US, the report said.
India's consumer price index rose 11.89 percent in July from a year earlier, rising sharply from June's annual rise of 9.29 percent as
prices of food items increased, government data showed on Monday.
The consumer price index for industrial workers increased by 7 points to 160 in July from a month ago.
Last week, the wholesale price index fell 0.95 percent in the 12 months to Aug. 15, compared with the previous week's annual decline of 1.53 percent.
The wholesale price index is more closely watched in India because it covers a higher number of products and is released weekly.
But, we must realise that there is nothing like SHAME Factor in Politics! Everything is RIGHT in Politics besides Love and war while it hits the Right Equation to sustain the Manusmriti Rule manipulating People`s mandate! And it is referred as DEMOCRACY which is NEVER better than AUTOCRACY! We have not to prove it as the GOVERNANCE in India is vested in Extraconstitutional Immoral Imposters AntI nation working for United states of America, Zionist Illuminati and India Incs!
Thus, FOOD Politics and flagship progrrames become jsut a TOOL for Monopolistic Corporate Aggression! Economic reforms means Mass Destruction! Public Sector and everything tagged Government have to be Divested or Disinvested! False recessionis over Hyped to FEED the Money Machine! Inflated Economy and Fiscal Deficit continue with crisis in Balance of Payment with Rocketin Defence Expanditure and needless Moon Mission, AUTO and Realty boost and artificial Fuel Crisis! Foreign borrowin Unregualted! FDI Open! Tax Code is glorifed as public Welfare! Big Names involved in land game! LPG Mafia rapes the GOOD Earth! Public utilities Privatised! War Gods invoked to justify defence deals and Swiss Bank Accounts! parliamentary All party Floor Understanding coined to pass all Anti People legisalation without keeping Minutes of debate! Unique Identity Number Project is associated with Mass Exodus and Displacement to boost Realty and MNCs! promoter raj!
No SHAME Factor is RELEVANT for the Ruling manusmriti Hegemony as it is HABITUAL to practice Untouchability and apartheid! It justifies Enslavement of the majority Masses! It glorifies the Mass Destruction! Media and Intelligentsia cover up everything! Literature, Art Forms and genres, languages and nationalities have to be used as PROSTITUTION without any SHAME!
Agrarian Crisis is not addressed. CPIM boasts to lead a Kisan sabha with more than One Corore mamebership. But is is detached from the RURAL Scenerio and has nothing to do with land reforms, food security and harvesting! Stravation and JOBLOSS are ISSUES no more! The left monopolises the Trade Unions but there is no Trade UNION movement and organised sector is the Victim now amidst the breaking news about Peasant Suicides!
Hilsa is being sold at a rate of Rs SIXTEEN Hundred to Rs Twelve Hundred in kolakta. Food, Grocery and vegetable rates ROCKETED. But Ruling as well as Resistance hegemony are ENGAGED in hypocrite FOOD Politics without any concern or commitment! Who is ASHAMED of , tell me!
A month after Railway Minister Mamata Banerjees' show of strength at the Martyr Days rally, Left Front on Monday (August 31) is holding a massive rally as it commemorates the golden jubilee of the food movement. Coincidentally, Left romps home in the heart of EUROPE in Germany and the election defeat of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) after 54 years of nearly unbroken rule and the landslide victory of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) has met a cautious welcome in newspapers around in the world.white House is PUZZLED enough to update its foreign realtions with Japan and europe. Contrarily, while the rest of the World feels the Come back of the marxist Ideology, the PROGRESIVE Bengali Intelligentsia as well as Civil Society turns SAFFRON AMERICANISED!
Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and other Left front leaders including Biman Bose are expected to address the rally.
Life has come to a screeching halt for commuters as more than 5 lakh people are expected to congregate at the rally.
Stung by the recent electoral debacle, this rally is being touted as an effort to lift the drooping morale of the Left Front cadres and supporters.
Mamata Banerjee celebrated her Lok Sabha victory in Kolkata on July 21. A long awaited celebration, since the Trinamool-Congress alliance routed the CPM in Bengal, is expected to showcase her vision towards the 2011 Assembly polls in the state.
July 21, was also commemorated by the Trinamool Congress as the Martyr's Day since 1996, to pay tribute to the 13 Youth Congress workers who were killed in police firing on this day in 1993. Banerjee was then a leader of the Youth Congress.
Accusing West Bengal's principal opposition Trinamool Congress of double standards, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee Monday said the party was blaming his government for price rise but keeping mum in Delhi where it was part of the coalition government.
"This opposition party says the state's Left Front government should answer why prices of food items have gone up. But what about Delhi? Is there only fragrance of flowers there? Why is this party silent?" asked Bhattacharjee at a rally organised by the Left Front here.
The Trinamool is the second largest constituent of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the centre.
Bhattacharjee, also a politburo member of Left Front major Communist Party of India - Marxist (CPI-M), claimed that prices of essential commodities in West Bengal were less than that in Delhi.
Ridiculing the UPA government, he said: "It calls itself 'aam admi's' (common man's)government. But 30 crore people in the country are hungry. Why is there a food scarcity? Why is the production of rice and pulses going down? Why are prices escalating? What is the central government doing?"
Tracing the cause of the price rise to forward trading and hoarding of rice and pulses, Bhattacharjee said despite repeated demands from Left parties, the centre had not done anything to arrest it.
"And as a result, prices have soared northwards. If the whole country is on fire, can West Bengal stay unaffected?" he asked.
The chief minister said the Left Front government was trying to provide rice, pulses, potato, edible oil and sugar to the people at reasonable rates.
With the internal squabbles in the BJP continuing, the CPI(M) on Monday (August 31) said the rejection of its Hindutva plank in the recent elections was the prime cause for the crisis. Noting that the saffron party had won in 1998 and 1999 by "broad-basing its appeal and getting on board parties who do not share its sectarian ideology", top CPI(M) leader Prakash Karat said the BJP had no identity without Hindutva as its economic and foreign policies were no different from that of the Congress.
In an article in the latest issue of party organ 'People's Democracy', he said the BJP was a party "shepherded by the RSS. It has always settled such leadership questions with the help of the RSS whose writ runs on such key matters."
Observing that the BJP was at the crossroads as it cannot break from RSS and "become an ordinary rightwing party as Jaswant Singh wants it to be", Karat said "it will find it easier to fall back into the comforting grip of the RSS as Arun Shourie wants it to.
"But it will have to pay the price in the long run of remaining an avowedly communal and sectarian party. Given the DNA of BJP, it will inevitably adopt the latter course."
Maintaining that the crisis in BJP had come after its "comprehensive defeat" at the hustings, he said out of 28 states, its vote percentage had declined in 26 compared to the 2004 elections. Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh were the only states where the percentage increased.
In Karnataka, Karat said the victory was accomplished after more than two decades of continuous work by RSS and its outfits "in fomenting communal tensions, riots and creating
"Without this groundwork, the BJP could not have succeeded in emerging as such a big force, its first success in a south Indian state. No amount of intellectual sophistry by the Hindutva ideologues and fellow travellers can mask this reality."
The CPI(M) leader said that notwithstanding L K Advani's "efforts to broaden the NDA and strike a posture" to appeal to wider sections of the people, the Leader of Opposition had to "time and again" fall back on the "explicit communal agenda".
These, Karat said, were reflected in his initial reactions to the Malegaon blasts case where Advani wanted the alleged culprits, even if they belonged to Sangh Parivar outfits, to be brought to book. "The same vacillation was seen regarding the virulent speeches of Varun Gandhi."
He said the stepping down of Advani from the post of President and expulsion or desertion of leaders like Uma Bharti and Kalyan Singh was witnessed after the 2004 elections.
While the current tussle in the saffron party was bound to result in a temporary setback, "a remoulded BJP made to order on RSS prescriptions does not augur well for the country", Karat said, asking people to combat communalism.
The brewing public anger against rampant corruption in the public distribution system has erupted into widespread violence in several districts of West Bengal. Angry villagers are up in arms against dishonest ration dealers who have not supplied them with sugar, wheat and other food grains from the ration shops. These unscrupulous dealers have allegedly been selling all these things in the black market. In the past few weeks, in Bankura, Burdwan and Birbhum districts, rampaging mobs have attacked and set ablaze houses of ration dealers and looted food grains from their godowns. A couple of protesters have even been killed in police firing. The situation has become so volatile that ration dealers are closing down their shops and surrendering their licences to the authorities. The police and the administration seem completely incapable of checking this fast-spreading unrest which is causing serious concern to chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee who is still reeling from the relentless attack against his industrialisation drive. To add to his woe, Trinamul Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has quickly tried to exploit the growing public discontent and reap political benefits. She kicked off a new khadya andolan or food movement, in Bankura and exhorted the people to rise in revolt against the government which was even unable to provide them with subsidised food grains for their two square meals. Ms Banerjee has already made life miserable for the Left Front government over Nandigram and Singur â€" both of which are related to sensitive land issues. Food has the potential of becoming an even more powerful political weapon in the hands of the Opposition. Who should know this better than the communists whose political fortunes rose considerably after they launched a successful khadya andolan in the early Sixties? Instead of knee-jerk responses, the state government should take effective measure to address the genuine grievances that people have. It must punish corrupt ration dealers by cancelling their licences and appoint new dealers. It must immediately ensure a smooth supply of essential commodities to the villagers. What it must avoid is use of force to suppress public protests. History shows that the brutalisation of the hungry masses has always boomeranged on the rulers. A few more casualties at the hands of a trigger-happy police, which does not know how to manage crowds, will prove costly for the Left Front which must not forget that the next crucial panchayat elections are only seven months away.
Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee launched a 'second food movement' in West Bengal to weed out corruption from the public distribution system, the first being started by the Marxists in 1959.In a reference to the agitation against ration dealers in Bankura, Birbhum and Burdwan districts that turned violent, Banerjee said at a rally here that her party would stand by the people. Demanding action against CPI (M) leaders and food inspectors allegedly involved in the ration scandal, she announced that the party men would demonstrate before all SDO's offices in the state on October eight and a procession would be taken out in Kolkata on October 11. She appealed to Left Front partners to join the agitation by opposition parties against corruption in the public distribution system. Mamta also sought CBI inquiry into the death of Muslim computer graphics artist, Rizwanur Rehman, who was allegedly threatened by senior Kolkata police officers to part with his Hindu wife, Priyanka, after their marriage on August 18 and whose body was found on railway tracks on September 21 near Dum Dum.
The Indigo revolt (Bangla :নীল বিদ্রোহ Neel bidrōhō) was a peasant movement and subsequent uprising of indigo farmers against the indigo planters that arose in Bengal in 1859. The back stage of the revolt goes back half a century when the indigo plantation act was established. After the courageous fight by the Sepoy for independence in 1857 it was it was in February-March 1859 when the farmers refused to sow a single seedling of indigo plant. The strength of the farmers' resolutions were dramatically stronger than anticipated from a community victimized by brutal treatment for about half a century. Most importantly it was a revolt of both the major religious groups of farmers in Bengal, notably a farmer Haji Molla of Nischindipur said that he would "rather beg than sow indigo" . The farmers were in no possession of any types of arms, it was totally a nonviolent resistance .
The revolt started from Nadia where Bishnucharan Biswas and Digambar Biswas first took up arms against the planters. It spread like wildfire in Murshidabad, Birbhum, Burdwan, Pabna, Khulna, Narail, etc. Indigo planters were put into public trial and executed. The indigo depots were burned down. Many planters fled to avoid being caught. The zamindars were also targets of the revolting peasants.
However the revolt was brought down by iron hand. Large forces of police and military backed by the British Government and the zamindars mercilessly slaughtered a number of peasants. In spite of this the revolt was fairly popular, involving almost the whole of Bengal. The Biswas brothers of Nadia, Kader Molla of Pabna, Rafique Mondal of Malda were popular leaders. Even some of the zamindars supported the revolt, the most important of whom was Ramratan Mullick of Narail.
Indigo planting in Bengal dated back to 1777. Louis Bonard was probably the first indigo planter. With expansion of British empire in India, indigo planting became more and more popular. It was introduced in large parts of Burdwan, Bankura, Birbhum, Murshidabad, etc. The indigo planters left no stones unturned to make money. They mercilessly pursued the peasants to plant indigo instead of food crops. They provided loans, called dadon at a very high interest. Once a farmer took such loans he remained under debts for whole of his life before passing it to his successors. The price paid by the planters was meagre,only 2.5% of the market price. So the farmers could make no profit by growing indigo. The farmers were totally unprotected from the brutal indigo planters, who resorted to mortgage or destroy their properties if they were unwilling to obey them. Government rules favoured the planters. By an act in 1833, the planters were granted a free hand in oppression. Even the zamindars, money lenders and other influential persons sided with the planters. Out of the severe oppression unleashed on them the farmers resorted to revolt.
The Bengali middle class supported the peasants whole-heartedly. Harish Chandra Mukhopadhyay thoroughly described the plight of the poor peasants in his newspaper "The Hindu Patriot". However every such contribution was overshadowed by Dinabandhu Mitra, who gave a perfect account of the situation in his play "Nildarpan".
Tax sops in FTP to cost exchequer extra Rs 2,200 cr
31 Aug 2009, 1324 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: Tax concessions to exporters announced in the new Foreign Trade Policy will cost the exchequer an extra Rs 2,200 crore.
"Our analysis (of FTP's implications on indirect taxes
) is Rs 2,200 crore for (this fiscal)," Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) Chairman V Sridhar told reporters on the sidelines of a CII function.
The new Foreign Trade Policy announced a slew of tax concessions to boost exports, which have been on the downslide since October 2008.
Among other measures, the five-year FTP continues with the 2 per cent interest subsidy for exporters on pre-shipment credit and income tax exemption to 100 per cent Export Oriented Units (EOUs) till the end of next fiscal.
Further, the government also extended the duty refund scheme till December 2010, and increased assistance for development of markets.
The country's exports grew by a meagre 3.4 per cent in 2008-09 to about $168 billion.
Policing of tax-haven money flows set to get new byte
31 Aug 2009, 0830 hrs IST, Deepshikha Sikarwar, ET Bureau
NEW DELHI: Turning the heat on tax havens used to route investments into the country, India is now examining a proposal that seeks to create a
The information system will collect data on the use of tax havens and abuse of Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAAs) by overseas investors entering India. It will also keep tabs on Indian investments abroad to ensure tax havens are not being used to bring that money back into the country. This mechanism, called round-tripping , is alleged to be used by some Indian entities to avoid tax on income from their investments in the country.
The Australian Transaction Reports & Analysis Centre (Austrac) is an anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regulator and specialist financial intelligence unit. India already has a financial intelligence unit in place that keeps track of certain transactions, such as bank transactions of value exceeding Rs 10 lakh. But the income-tax department wants a dedicated agency to monitor the flow of investments from tax havens.
The proposal figured during discussions at the recent meeting of directors general and chief commissioners of income-tax , a tax department official said. The proposal has been mooted by an internal committee of the Central Board of Direct Taxes that was set up to examine investigation issues in abuse of tax havens and tax treaties.
Creation of such a unit becomes important in the backdrop of India looking to amend its tax treaties to expand their scope to include extensive information exchange or enter into specialised Tax Information and Exchange Agreements with tax haven countries. This special unit would be able to track the flow of investments from tax havens into India and also from treaty countries such as Mauritius, which enjoy special tax benefits. The idea is to closely monitor all cross-border transactions to ensure all taxes legally due to India are paid and action is taken in time, if tax is evaded.
The CBDT has set up a task force to look into information exchange with treaty countries. While India has already begun negotiations with Switzerland to amend its tax treaty, it also plans to amend other DTAAs for information exchange.
People offload equity investments as stockmarkets dip, says RBI stats
31 Aug 2009, 2026 hrs IST, Atmadip Ray, ET Bureau
KOLKATA: When stockmarkets go through a rough patch, people typically offload their equity investments and put the money in banks instead. The
The household sector had parked 58.5% of their collective savings with banks and non banking finance companies (NBFC) in 2008-09. This was a solid 6.3% percentage points rise from 2007-08 s share of deposits to total saving, according to RBI s latest data. As on March 31, 2009, banks collectively had an outstanding deposits of Rs 4.1 lakh crore, reflecting a 13.6% year-on-year rise. During 2008-09, people wound up their equity investment significantly to Rs 19,349 crore from Rs 89,134 crore in 2007-08.
On percentage terms, stock market exposure of retail players was merely 2.6% of the total savings pie in 2008-09. It was 12.4% in the preceding fiscal. The banking regulator has come out with the statistics in its recently published annual report. It was apparent that a significant portion of the withdraw exposure found its way to banks. The retail equity investment shrunk by nearly Rs 70,000 crore while banks have seen a rise in their collective retail deposits kitty of about Rs 49,000 crore. Country s top bankers would vouch for the so-called flight of savings from equity market to banks. They have always maintained that their deposit mobilisation during 2008-09 had been high.
And, people mostly put their funds with banks long term deposits, which typically carry higher interest rates than short term deposits or savings deposits. So much so, that banks cost of funds were on the higher side during the period under review. Even NBFCs managed to grow their public deposits by almost Rs 10,000 crore to Rs 13,453 crore. Insurance companies have grown their retail portfolio to Rs 1.5 lakh crore (Rs 1.29 lakh crore).
Total financial savings have expanded too on a gross basis to Rs 7.47 lakh crore (Rs 7.16 crore). Cash in hand increased to Rs 93,000 crore in 2008-09 from Rs 81,300 crore. This was 12.5% of the financial assets. grew from 11.4% as it was a year back
Motor racing-Force India can repeat feat at Monza, says
The Great Lalgarh Revolt
Starting in November 2008, the tribal people (or adivasis) of the Lalgarh village area of the Midnapore district of West Bengal, India, rose up against decades of oppression and abuse by the police and armed thugs of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). This party is usually known by its initials as the "CPM". Despite its name, this is by no means a revolutionary Marxist party; it is instead a revisionist or phony "communist" party, which represents not the workers, peasants and the poor, but actually the ruling alliance of exploiting classes (capitalists and landlords). The CPM has been in power in West Bengal for decades, and has come to demonstrate that old revolutionary Marxist addage that revisionism in power is nothing other than outright fascism as far as the masses of people are concerned.
Naturally the people of West Bengal are more and more resisting this state oppression, but when a revolt like that in Lalgarh occurs, the CPM police and armed goons become all the more ferocious in their attempts to suppress the people's upsurge and drive them back into submission. There are now huge numbers of state police and paramilitary forces in the Lalgarh area attempting to put down the people's revolt. But the mass struggle is continuing!
In recent years hundreds of adivasis in the Lalgarh area have been imprisoned on charges of having ties with the Maoist insurgency which is ongoing in large parts of India, and many of them have been murdered. This was the immediate spark for the uprising in late 2008. While the resistance of adivasis to their oppressive conditions has taken many forms over the years, the organized strength of this advanced political revolt grew from over a decade of work by the Communist Party of India (Maoist) in the area. It has proven to be the only significant party which actually sides with the people in their fight against the oppressive CPM state machine. It has helped the adivasis set up People's Committees, and start to take control over their own lives. Activists of the CPI(Maoist) have played a leading role in promoting these People's Committees and in expanding the struggle to new areas. Among these people's organizations, which have a broad range of support and participation, is the People's Committee Against Police Atrocities, which is playing a very positive role in defense of the masses. This is the overall situation at present in the Lalgarh area and beyond.
The reports and documents below, available either on this site or else via links to other sites, provide extensive information about this great Lalgarh struggle of the Indian masses. While many of the news reports from the establishment press which are included below are of course not themselves banned in India, they are listed here in order to present a fuller and more complete picture of all the many events in this prolonged struggle. Sometimes the ruling class suppresses views and information outright and directly, but more often it suppresses it through simply making sure it has very limited circulation and does not actually reach most of the masses. This is just as much true in the United States as it is in India, and maybe even more so, due to the tyranny of capitalist media market forces. Withholding news coverage to the people, or only very spotty news coverage, is really almost as bad as the outright banning of publications which try to break the news embargo. It is the goal of BANNEDTHOUGHT.NET to help break down both of these forms of suppression of news and ideas, and to combat the ignorance and "dumbing down" of the population which the rulers seek to impose on us.
Much background information on sources below has been provided by researchers from the MLM Revolutionary Study Group in the US; their web site is www.mlmrsg.com, and they can be contacted at: email@example.com
THE 1857 REBELLION: A PRE-HISTORY
Centres of early revolts
THE 1857 rebellion was preceded by a wave of agrarian uprising in the late eighteenth and first half of the nineteenth centuries. The thrust of these uprisings was to contest the nature of changes that were being brought about by the East India Company which was leading the colonial campaign in several parts of the country. The Company's administration tried to re-order an existing feudal order in the first century of colonial rule in order to ensure the political and economic stability of the Empire. This process led to a severe discontent amongst the traditional landholders and the peasantry comprising of cultivators and tenant farmers; as well as other groups like pastoralists, tribals and landless labourers who were intrinsically depended on agriculture and its allied sectors for their survival.
Broadly speaking, there were at least three or four distinct processes that led to the agrarian uprisings between 1757 and 1857. The most important one was the land settlement process which structured all British policies through out this period. The conquest of Bengal led to the permanent settlement, while ryotwari tenures were regularised in Madras, mahalwari tenures in the North and malguzari tenures introduced in several parts of Central India. These land tenures were also accompanied by basic reforms in the process of collection of revenue where the fixing of rents was done by Company officials and not the traditional mirasidars, poligars, zamindars or taluqdars. The British promulgated rules where the lands of revenue defaulters could be auctioned to a new class of land holders especially in the permanent settlement areas. This meant that traditional landholders were converted from people who could govern and administer their own estates to mere revenue collectors and farmers. This created a disgruntled class of displaced zamindars who provided leadership to many protests of the period either themselves or through their militia. Perhaps the most representative rebellion of traditional chiefs and revenue collectors who lost their powers because of colonial measures was the rebellion of the poligars of North Arcot (1803-05). The revolt of the Paiks in Orissa under Jagbandhu, the commander of the Raja of Khurda, in 1817; the rising of the Gujars under Bijai Singh talukdar (1824) in Kumaun and Garhwal and the revolt of the Gumsur zamindars in Ganjam district of Orissa (1835-37) reflected the general dispossession amongst the traditional feudal elite of the period.
Though the traditional elites may have lost their power and privileges because of early colonial penetration, these measures had a far more devastating impact on the peasantry. The peasants were forced to pay higher and higher taxes without any remission because of direct colonial control over fixation of revenue. In fact those landholders who complied with and became agents of the colonial regime were forced to enforce a strict time line in the collection of revenue. In addition they also extracted additional labour and revenue for their own profit, thus subjecting the peasants to double exploitation. Further the peasants were unable to invoke their customary feudal relationships with the landholders to default payments. This accentuated the contradictions between the peasantry and the landholders including the traditional rulers granted tenures by the British. At another level, the increasing indebtedness of the peasantry and its exploitation by a new class of landholders and moneylenders was clearly reflected in the agrarian uprisings. The Sannyasi rebellions (1763-1800) in East Bengal, the Kol revolts (1831-32) in Chhottanagpur, and the Santhal insurrection (1855-56) were conducted against the exploitation of the landlords and the mahajans. Similarly the Mappilla revolts in early nineteenth century Malabar were against the zamindars. Many of these revolts followed the strategy of raiding the properties of zamindars and mahajans and extracting taxes from them. In this sense these classes were firmly identified by these people and institutions as implementers of oppressive colonial policies. This anti-colonial tendency of the peasant movements was evident most clearly in the Khasi resistance in Sylhet (1829-31), resistance by Lallaji Patel, a village headman, in the Satmahals (Malwa, 1831) and the Khond insurrection (1846) in Ganjam.
While the settlement of property rights provided the basic context of the pre-1857 revolts, the commercialisation of agriculture through the introduction of cash crops and the establishment of European plantations for this purpose was seen in the case of the indigo growing areas. The cultivation of indigo was determined by the needs of the English cloth markets as well as those of remittance trade. The Indigo Commission also highlighted the importance of trade to the tune of two million pounds sterling a year and political importance of having a large body of European planters. Thus for 22 years (1780-1802) the Company directly promoted indigo factories and placed India amongst the foremost indigo producing nations of the world. Though the plantation of indigo was a private enterprise the East India Company not only encouraged the planters in various ways but also gave them legal and administrative protection against the peasants who worked on their plantations who were forced to grow indigo in place of food crops. Several economic and non-economic oppressive practices including torture were routinely practiced by the planters many of whom colluded with the zamindars to maintain their dominance and deal with their problems in administering those areas. The discontent of the raiyats was because of three reasons: lack of remunerative prices for indigo – indigo was not lucrative as it was planted at the same time as food crops – and loss of fertility of the soil because of indigo.
It is significant that many uprisings of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century opposed the planter raj by either refusing to grow indigo in the lands where they were originally growing food, and also by refusing to pay their taxes. The first phase of revolts in Eastern India started in the early part of the nineteenth century under Biswanath Sardar who looted the Neelkunthis (or the estates of Indigo planters). Two decades later the first signs of trouble again emerged when the cultivators of Saran, Tirhut, Munger, Bhagalpur and Purnia refused to plant indigo. In Madhubani subdivision they formed a body and refused to plant indigo. Another major revolt against the indigo planters and their zamindars was that led by the Wahabi peasant leader Titu Mir in 24 Parganas of Bengal (1831) who provided leadership to both Muslim and Hindu lower caste peasantry.
The third instrument of colonial oppression over the peasantry was monopoly merchant capital through a series of unfair measures that were in evidence throughout the country. The East India Company appointed its agents for indigo and opium trade and passed regulations that made indigenous trade illegal. In other areas like Khurda they put a tax on the production of salt and ensured that salt could only brought from agents who had been given leases by the Company. Thus ordinary peasants were forced to buy salt from the agents at exorbitant rates. In Chhittagong the British started the method of revenue collection from cotton and gave over the collection rights to speculators through the establishment of karpas mahals. This affected the Chakmas (who were essentially shifting cultivators) adversely as they cultivated cotton on their sterile lands and exchanged it for rice, salt and other necessities. They reacted under the leadership of Janbox Khan in 1782 and gathered the people to stop payment of cotton. They also destroyed the storehouses of the lease holders who protected their stocks with the help of the British. A similar pattern was also seen in the case of the Kurda revolts where peasants made salt in violation of the Company's orders and attacked and looted the stores of the salt agents. This clearly showed that it was not only the land tenure and tax policies but also the trading practices in commodities of daily use that had impacted the peasantry and spurred it into rebellion.
Velu Thambi, Diwan of Travencore
Scholars from the 1960s onwards have classified these movements as restorative (Katheleen Gough, 'Indian Peasant Uprisings', Economic and Political Weekly 1974) and messianic movements which used religious symbols and relying on revivalist, nativist and syncretic leadership (Stephen Fuchs, in his book Rebellious Prophets, Asia Publishing House, 1965). Thus Titu Mir's movement, the Sannyassi and the Mappilah rebellion, amongst others, are seen as movements that have communal overtones and religious base. This characterisation however comes out of the lack of understanding of the nature of agrarian discontent and the political philosophy that guided these movements.
The first point to remember is that these agrarian uprisings from the mid eighteenth century till the 1857 rebellion spanned the entire length and breadth of the country and often followed the trajectory of colonial expansion. Their existence also showed that the penetration of colonialism was a contested process and the colonists met resistance wherever they tried to establish their authority. Six major uprisings were identified in Bengal, five in Bihar, three in Assam and fifteen in Central and South India. This meant that the pre-colonial society of the time was providing an important challenge to colonial annexation which was bringing about a realignment of classes through its interventions. And this realignment of forces only sometimes and not always articulated a restorative agenda. In other words, though anti-colonialism was a more general characteristic of these movements, the restorative agenda depended more on the local co-relation of forces in these movements.
At a second level however, many of these movements can also be seen as ones that had incipient anti-feudal characteristics which also used religion for political mobilisation and articulation of their goals. For example sannyasis and fakirs rebellions of the late eighteenth century were led by settler sanyasis from the Giri and fakirs from the Madari sects who had settled in Mymensigh as peasants. Many of them had turned to agriculture and were regular peasants who were a victim of British merchants. Similarly Titu Mir's Wahabi protests found a mass base in lower caste Hindu and Muslim peasantry because of its agrarian programme. In both cases the leaders of the movements belonged to religious traditions that were outside the pale of organised mainstream religion that formed the basis of most feudal authority. Similarly K N Pannikar ('Peasant Revolts in the Malabar', in A R Desai eds., Peasant Struggles in India) has effectively shown how the class conflict between the Muslim peasantry and Hindu landlords structured the contours of the nineteenth century protests where religion gave them both moral strength and a potent language to articulate their demands.
Thus, more than anything else, the use of religion as also the restorative agenda of some of these movements revealed the inability of the peasantry to articulate their own politics especially where the peasants were led by the traditional elites. In other cases it reflected the 'tunnelled' vision of the peasant leadership and the lack of a vocabulary to articulate the agrarian agenda in the first century of colonialism. In this sense the agrarian uprisings preceding the 1857 rebellion were both structured and limited by the imposition of colonial measures on a feudal system. This ensured that they remained pre-modern in character and consciousness.
Long Live People's Resistance in Nandigram
Thursday, April 5, 2007
Long Live the People's Resistance against Aggression of Globalization! Long Live the People's Occupation of Nandigram!
[As observed by Jiten Nandi, Shamik Sarkar, Md. Helaluddin, Subhapratim Roychowdhury, Anupam Das Adhikari and Amita Nandi on behalf of Manthan Samayiki, a bi-monthly Bengali little magazine from Kolkata, West Bengal.]
We, associated with a Bengali bi-monthly little magazine, 'Manthan Samayiki', went Nandigram three times during January to March. Being the residents of Metiabruj in Kolkata, we are neighbored by the people involved in garment industry, a community-based industry of muslim bengalees. Thousands of male villagers (about seventy-five thousand, according to Morsalin Molla, MLA, Mahestala, South 24 Parganas) from Nandigram block stay in Metiabruz and around temporarily for working in the community garment industry. We went Nandigram each time along with these people. We visited there on 18th January, 17-18 March and 27-29 March 2007. We travelled within Nandigram by bicycles and van-rickshaw.
Nandigram is almost 160 km away from Kolkata. There are three blocks, Nandigram I, II, and III in the district of East Medinipore. Nandigram I block is mostly dominated by muslims and lower caste hindus. People survive by cultivation, fishing, and engaging themselves in garment industry. Haldia township and industrial belt, being just opposite to the Haldi river, promised them a huge opportunity of getting employment in modern industries. But in reality, most of the workers who got jobs there, were driven off once the construction works were finished. They realized that, in modern industries only highly educated elites could manage a respectful job. Village people are going to get nothing from there. Still now, some villagers go Haldia, for purely temporary contractual jobs with miserably low salary. We heard about the Jellingham Project at Nandigram Block 1, where about 400 acres of land had been acquired in 1977 for ship repairs. One hundred and forty two families lost their land. The Project stopped functioning after five years and the site today lies deserted.
Nandigram fought British colonial rule gloriously, almost occupied itself from British Raj in 1942. It took part in the tebhaga movement afterwards, under the leadership of legendary Communist Bhupal Panda. The indomitable spirit of the community (the chashi-samaj) Nandigram was carried positively by the leadership of Communist Party of India in tebhaga movement. Time and again, Nandigram village-folks dug trenches on roads to fight the aliens. In 1982, a movement under the leadership of Bhupal Panda originated in Nandigram with the demand for development (roads, sanitation, water supply, electrification, etc.). Police fired on the agitation and killed a student, Sudipta Tewari. Again, village-folks dug trenches in Nandigram to prevent police from entering into the villages.
Before 29th December 2006
A rumour was there in Nandigram for more than a year that some of the mouzas or villages and cultivation land might be acquired by the State Government for instituting an industrial zone, Special Economic Zone (SEZ). A land acquisition row was already there nearby for increasing the area of Kulpi port which would take lands from coastal area belonging to mostly fisherfolks and farmers. A committee, dubbed as Krishak Uchchhed Birodhi O Jonoswartho Roksha Committee (Committee Against Eviction Of Peasants And To Save People's Interest) was formed during August 2006 by Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI) along with Indian National Congress for propaganda work against forced land acquisition. Another committee started to function in Nandigram and adjacent Khejuri block, called Krisi Jami Raksha Committee (KJRC) (Committee To Save Farmland). It is a state-wide initiative led by main parliamentary opposition party, called Trinamul Congress, formed in the pretext of land acquisition row in Singur of district Hooghly for a Tata Motor's manufacturing unit. Another initiative, called Gana Unnoyon O Jana Odhikar Sangram Samity (GUJOSS) (Association For The Struggle Of Mass Development And People's Right), comprised of Jamait I Ulema Hind and Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) (Santosh Rana faction), established in Bhangar of district South 24 Parganas in the last quarter of 2006 to fight forcible eviction of peasants there for setting up of an industrial zone, started working in Nandigram during November 2006. Meanwhile, State Government occupied and fenced ( kanta-bera ) Singur land imposing section 144 of penal code of India despite protest and refusal to take compensation for land from a large section of villagers. And Ministers and ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist) leaders started talking publicly of setting up a huge chemical hub in Nandigram under the Selim group of Indonesia. GUJOSS started setting up some village committees comprising villagers cutting across the boundary of party affiliation after conducting a survey in some villages in Nandigram which showed that almost 99 percent villagers were ready to 'give their lives before leaving their motherland'.
29th December 2006 to 3rd January 2007
A public meeting was held on behalf of ruling CPI(M) in Nandigram market on 29th December 2006 where MP from Tamluk and East Medinipore district leader Lakshman Seth urged farmers to pave the way of development and industrialization in Nandigram by giving up their lands, both farmland and residential land, against compensation. He also urged people to take the opposition at gunpoint, alleged the villagers. He gave a list of the names of the villages (mouzas) those would be taken for the proposed chemical hub, on behalf of Haldia Development Authority of which he is the chairperson. Later that document was found in District Land Reforms Office. Male-folk returned to their villages hearing the news. A large number of male-folks, predominantly muslims, who worked in Metiabruz or elsewhere came to their villages for Idujjoha on 1st January 2007. They also became agitated hearing the news that their birth-place (matribhumi) is going to be forcibly occupied by the government. On 3rd January 2007 a Governmental car entered into Nandigram
Samiran Bibi and her husband CPI(M) leader Rejjak told them that a UNICEF for a government project for Nirmal Gram Prokolpo or Fresh Village Project. People
marched back, but in their way to Garchakraberia, they found some four police vans with armed police force arrived there in Osmanchawk. The procession asked the police why they came. Police replied with lathicharge and gunfire which left 4 persons wounded. People got furious and chased the police van. One police van had been torched in Garchakraberia Bhuta More. All the police personnel left rapidly. Traditionally the peasant community of Nandigram is hostile to police administration. In 1902, villagers burnt a Daroga, called Raimohan in Gumgarh village of Nandigram who was backing a mahajon (money lender) called Gopal, and attacked Nandigram police station. Several villagers were hanged later for that offence by the British rulers. This memory is still alive among villagers through folklores and songs. One such song goes like "Ki khela khelili Gopal Nandigramer bajare/ Khelar tape Gumgarh kanpe/ Raimon daroga pure more/ kharer gadar bhetore. (Gopal, what a trick you played in Nandigram market./ The trick trembled Gumgarh,/ leading Raimohan daroga to be burnt in a heap of paddy-grass). Till the day, i.e. 3rd January the agitation was mostly dominated by male-folk of the villages. After this incident women-folk from both communities, Hindu and Muslim came out of their homes. Within an hour (in the afternoon) all the village populace started digging the roads in their villages for preventing police to enter into the villages. Within 12 hours, people dug more than hundred places, cut small concrete bridges, blocked the roads with tree-trunks, huge trees, boulders and bricks all through the villages proposed for acquisition for the chemical hub SEZ. People occupied their own villages. It was a huge show of people's power and uprising. Sumit Sinha, a member of CPI(ML) (Santosh Rana faction) was present there at that time. He described the event like one when 'people's knowledge and initiative surpass leaders' episteme and craft'. He said that he was reluctant to believe the incidence in North Bengal when over 100 km rail-track was eliminated within a night by people during Khadya Andolan in 1950s. Now, seeing this mass initiative he started believing the actuality of that incidence.
Upto 7th January 2007
From 4th January 2007 people urged for unification of three above-stated committees. On 5th January 2007 a meeting was held in Etimkhana (muslim orphan house) in Tarachand Bar beside Nandigram market involving all block or district level leaders of political parties who were involved in those three committees. A unified committee, called Bhumi Uchchhed Protirodh Committee (BUPC) (Committee for Resistance to Eviction from Homeland) was established from the meeting and resolution was taken that nobody would hoist their own political flags within Nandigram excluding the case when a political party was organizing a meeting or march on its own. On 6th January noon, a huge public meeting was held in Bhuta More, Garchakraberia announcing the formation of BUPC. Meanwhile, the agitation led by KJRC in Khejuri was brutally suppressed by State administration and CPI(M) cadres there and all the agitating villagers were made silent or 'proponent of industrialization' at gunpoint. Nandigram and Khejuri are separated by a 50ft wide canal called Talpatti Khal. A bridge separates two newly made (2004-2005, under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Jojona or Prime Minister Village Road Project) pakka roads or pitched roads, Nandigram's one connects Talpatti Khal to Basulichawk (16.2 kms.) and Khejuri's one connects Talpatti Khal to Rasulpur. Historically, Nandigram was attacked time and again by Portuguese armada (Harmad in colloquial tongue) or Pirates and British invaders through Khejuri. Nandigram people used to resist them. Nandigram was again attacked on the onset of 7th January 2007, from Khejuri, with bombs and bullets. It was a foggy morning. Thousands of people from the adjacent villages (Bhangabera, Sonachura, Gangra, Adhikaripara, Gokulnagar, Tekhali etc) started thronging at Talpatti Khal bridge, to resist the invaders, the 'army of industrialization', the 'harmad bahini', the 'cadres of Lakshman Seth', carrying sticks, Da (bamboo cutting knife), Banti (knife used for domestic vegetables cutting). Three persons died of bullets during resistance, namely, Bharat Mandal, Sekh Selim and Biswajit Maiti (12 year old). A landlord of Bhangabera, Shankar Samanta (His two storied fort-like residence, gardens and ponds constitute at least 20 acres of land, leaving aside the farmland he owned. Almost all of the other houses in Bhangabera are made of mud. This family was traditionally with Indian National Congress, also his father Sudhangsu Samanta, but turned into CPI(M) two decades ago) was allegedly showing the invaders the key persons of the resistance for killing them, villagers alleged to us. People chased him, captured and burnt alive. His mansion was ransacked and torched also. Invaders stopped shooting after the sunset. Thousands of people decided to dig the pakka road to cut the link between Talpatti Bridge and Nandigram. The 16.2 km long pitched road was ornamented with several ditches, trenches, tree-trunks, boulders, bricks. The war began.
7th January to 14th March 2007
As the war situation unfolded, formation of village committees, the organization from below, virtually stopped. Instead political leaders of BUPC started leading the whole resistance. People already started night-vigil to resist the invaders. When they found any intrusion in night, they started chanting Shankha from households and making call of alert ( ajan ) from mosques. Hearing this everybody used to come out of their households and marched towards the Talpatti Khal, which was started to be termed as border, colloquially. In a war like situation, people couldn't resist the sophistically armed police and cadre force without weapons. And so weapons including guns started to come in the hands of villagers through some heavyweight political leaders of parliamentary opposition.
Villagers reorganized the barricades and trenches on roads in a manner so that one could move by walking, bicycle or even Ricksaw, but no car or speedy motorbykes could move in or out. The ferry service connecting Nandigram and Haldia through Haldi River was cut out by ruling CPI(M) cadres temporarily, Haldia town being a stronghold of them. The supply of cash crop and labour from Nandigram to Haldia was halted. Haldia market faced a huge price rise. Fearing unrest in Haldia, ferry service resumed after seven days. But labourers from Nandigram were systematically manhandled in Haldia by CPI(M) cadres. Especially Muslims were targeted. It is very special. CPI(M) is known internationally as the strongest critique of Gujarat communal riot and Hindu fundamentalism. Cadres belonging to that party in Haldia, started provoking muslim sentiment by targeting them specifically. The Nandigram-Metiabruz buses were systematically searched by CPI(M) cadres in Nandakumar, some 40 km away from Nandigram, and people belonging to those villages proposed for chemical hub SEZ were got down from buses and were advised to go by walking as 'they were opposing industrialization, they should not be allowed to go by buses'. These things were done by CPI(M) cadres after a state level leader of CPI(M), Benoy Konar called for 'making the villagers' lives a hell encircling them from three directions' before media. The three directions were Nandakumar, Khejuri and Haldia. Meanwhile Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya said before media that the proposed chemical hub would not be set up at Nandigram, if villagers didn't want it there. He also announced to tear apart the Haldia Development Authority's notice, before media. But Lakshman Seth, the Tamluk MP and Haldia's strongman, urged for setting up the SEZ in Nandigram. Nirupam Sen, state industry minister, also said in that way. No official notification was issued any further.
The everyday life of village-folks hampered in a big way. Cultivation, schools and food supply and external communications were hampered. People overcame those, just by solidarity within community. People even ate raw khesari leaves and cereals during these two and a half months. Help came in the form of rices and cereals from adjacent villages. Village life, in a contrast to the city dwellings, can live on its own resources, crops from fields, fishes from ponds, quoak doctors etc. People survived by the virtue of their own resources, despite the barricades and trenches they organized to occupy their own villages. No festivals or ceremonies had been held in those villages during this period, be it marriage ceremony, or tajia of Muharram. A handful of strong CPI(M) followers from those villages left voluntarily fearing atrocities, or been driven away in some cases. The total number wouldn't cross 120, the villagers urged. All the rest of CPI(M) followers took up the call of resistance to save their home land and livelihood. Some of them led the resistance also. The martyr, Bharat Mandal was one of them. These villages were dominated by CPI-CPI(M) followers traditionally. All the villages became united showing huge communal amity. BUPC remained the only organization left there.
On the eve of 14th March 2007
After a state wide, two-month long campaign for industrialization, CPI(M) organized a big mass meeting in Kolkata on 11th March under the banner of Krishak Sabha, the party's peasant wing. The home secretary of the State Government, Prasad Ranjan Roy ordered the administration to RE-OCCUPY the Nandigram villages on 14th March 2007. BUPC organized a mass deputation at Nandigram police station on 13th March. The mass deputation was thronged by women-folks in thousands. After a meeting in state assembly between East Midnapore district leader of Trinamul Congress, MLA Subhendu Adhikari and Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharya, Subhendu assured the BUPC leadership that police would come on 14th March to repair the trenched and barricaded roads only. Police would use tear gas or fire blank from guns at most, BUPC leadership perceived. They urged the villagers to organize a peaceful demonstration of at least 10 thousand by the side of the Talpatti bridge and send back all their weapons. In a way, one can say that BUPC leadership disarmed the village-folks on 12th and 13th March, who were indulged in a war with the invaders for saving their homeland and saving themselves from eviction. Villagers followed BUPC leaders' advices.
On 14th March 2007
The villages by the Talpatti canal were mostly populated by hindu community. And the heart of the resistance was Garchakraberia, a muslim dominated village, which is 10 km away from the Talpatti Khal. The shankhadhwani by hindu women-folk started as early as at 3 am on 14th March. Children and women gathered beside the Talpatti bridge at 3 am and started puja of Gouranga idol and Singhabahini, the community believes that the goddess save their land and lives. Muslim women and children came a little late, at 4 am and started reading from Koran Sharif. Thousands of villagers, mostly children and women were present there by the dawn. No prominent leaders of BUPC were available at the spot, but local village level leaders were there.
Police started the operation on 10 am. They fired tear gas and within some minutes began firing. Armed CPI(M) cadres came along with the police. The cadres wore police uniform for camouflage. State reoccupied Sonachura, Bhangabera, Adhikaripara, Tekhali (3 km from the Talpatti bridge) with police, special combat force, sophisticated weapons, and CPI(M) cadres. Within one hour wounded persons started to come to ill-prepared Nandigram Hospital. By the evening, 60 people came with injuries, mostly with bullet injuries in upper parts of the body. So the firing was intended to KILL the protestors, not to disperse them. 14 deaths have been reported immediately by government. Party flag entered into those villages of Nandigram after two and a half months. The victory of state over the villagers was celebrated there, and the rest part of the East Medinipore district by hoisting innumerable brand-new hammer-and-sickle marked red flags. Meanwhile, a district wide 12 hour strike was issued at the afternoon of 14th March by CPI(M) trade union wing CITU, to prevent the miscreants from hampering the process of reinstallation of administration in Nandigram, according to 'The Hindu', a media source. Everywhere in the district, CPI(M) cadres took the streets with flags, blocked roads, and prevented the parliamentary opposition leaders, the Governor and the media from entering into Nandigram. The ambulances carrying seriously wounded to Tamluk hospitals were also attacked. Reports of huge death and disappearance of body, rape started coming from Nandigram. Sonachura, Bhangabera, Adhikaripara, Tekhali were completely under the control of police and armed CPI(M) cadres by the night of 14th of March.
After 14th March 2007
Under the direction of Kolkata High Court, CBI team arrived at Nandigram on 15th March. Police and cadres in Sonachura village organized the villagers there at gunpoint for leading a procession for re-occupation of Garchakraberia on 16th March. But their attempt failed, as almost 50 thousand villagers from other villages, led by BUPC, came to sonachura on 16th March morning. Cadres escaped the villages. Police forces presented their begged for lives. Red flags had been replaced with a handful of black ones of BUPC, and predominantly with tri-coloured Trinamul Congress flags. After the red ones, entered the tri-coloured party flags. After severe protests in and outside of West Bengal and condemnation of state sponsored mass killing of unarmed villagers, facing opposition from ruling coalition partners of decades, Left Front Government decided to withdraw the police force from Nandigram systematically, issued a notice on behalf of East Medinipore district magistrate stating that no land acquisition would be held in Nandigram. It was the second official notice related to Nandigram SEZ. First one was issued on behalf of Haldia Development Authority at the end of December 2006 providing the list of mouzas to be acquired in Nandigram, as stated above.
The struggle of Nandigram is still continuing. Now the land grab fear is over. But the anguish and grief of losing a number of their comrades remains. Villagers are asking for the punishment of the murderers and rapists. We asked the female-folk about what kind of help they needed. They urged us to join the struggles 'like them'. The CPI(M) party cadres are still bursting bombs at night, from the side of Khejuri. BUPC asked most of the 'driven out' or 'left out' of the villages for their CPI(M) affiliation to come back, but urged for the arrests of a few of them who were involved in the violent attack and massacre on 14th March.
The residents of 38 villages, mostly a peasant population, predominantly poor and marginal, in Nandigram fought a severely uneven fight for last 3 months. It was a genuine people's resistance against globalization in its present aggresive form. Global capital is installing SEZs, neo-colonies in India. Almost 200 SEZs are already working in our country. Gujarat, Haryana, Orissa, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand etc are prominent states in SEZ maps of India. All state governments, be it Congress led or BJP led or else, are asking for SEZ and advocating it for industrialization and development. The SEZ Act was planned during BJP led NDA government, and implemented in 2005 by Congress led UPA government. It was passed by parliament without even any debate. The country-wide people's resistance sent the act under review and sanction of fresh SEZs was stopped, in January, immediately after the people's uprise and occupation in Nandigram. Village-folks are resisting the land grab and forced eviction almost everywhere, at Kalinganagar-Jagatsinghapur in Orissa, at Raigarh in Maharashtra, in Jharkhand, in Uttarpradesh etc. Nandigram was one among them. And it emerged VICTORIOUS. Chemical hub SEZ in Nandigram died before its birth. It's a successful local resistance, a people's resistance against globalization with a broader and immediate implication.
Land reform continues in West Bengal
The primary point of distinction between Left-led and all other State governments in India is that, on coming to power, every Left-led government has confronted the agrarian question directly. Land reform has been integral to the policy of the Left in government from the outset.
The importance of agrarian issues in the programme of Left governments is illustrated by the speed with which these governments have turned their attention to land reform. The first Communist government in India, led by E.M.S. Namboodiripad, was sworn in on April 5, 1957; the government's first Ordinance on land reform was promulgated on April 11, just six days after the government was formed. In West Bengal, too, land reform has been and remains a foundational feature of the power of the Left, and was perhaps the earliest item on the administrative agenda of the Left Front.
New data presented by the Minister for Land Reforms in the West Bengal Legislative Assembly indicate how significant a contribution West Bengal has made to India's aggregate land reform effort.
Net area sown in West Bengal as a proportion of net area sown in India was, according to the Union Ministry of Agriculture, 3.9 per cent in 2003-04. At the same time, as Table 1 shows, the extent of agricultural land distributed under land reform in West Bengal as a proportion of land distributed in the country as a whole is 22.6 per cent. Of the total number of gainers from land distribution programmes in the country, more than half — a full 54.5 per cent — are from West Bengal.
The absolute numbers give us an idea of the sweep of land reform. As a rough measure, the aggregate, as on February 15, 2008, of the total number of recipients of agricultural land under land reform (2,971,857), the number of recorded bargadars (1,510,657) and the number of recipients of homestead land (557,151), is 5,039,665 beneficiaries. (As an indicator of the obstacles to land reform, it is worth noting that 179,878 acres cannot be distributed because they are under legal injunction.)
The current data (that is, as on March 15, 2008) show that, among the recipients of agricultural land under land reform, the proportion of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe recipients (55 per cent) was significantly higher than the proportion of Scheduled Castes and Tribes in West Bengal's population (which was 28.1 per cent).
Another interesting feature of the data is that, as on February 15, 2008, the number of new joint pattadars (that is, persons who had received new joint title deeds to agricultural land under land reform) was 581,000, and the number of new women pattadars was 159,400. Assuming that half the new joint patta holders were women, a total of 449,900, or about 4 lakh and a half, women received title deeds to agricultural land under land reform. I have no comparative data for other States on this matter, but the number indicates a noteworthy response to a long-standing demand of the women's movement (although it still falls far short of creating conditions of equality in this regard).
A myth of "reversal"
Despite this achievement, there has been recent criticism, particularly since late 2006, that the Left Front government, in pursuit of its policy of industrialisation and industrial modernisation, has actually reversed its land reform programme. On the face of it, this allegation seems somewhat implausible: what could be the motive for a government to be so obviously self-destructive (or, in Jyoti Basu's blunt formulation, "We are not out of our mind that we would destroy our agriculture…")?
Current data show the allegation also to be untrue.
Table 2 shows that, in each of the last three years, the extent of land acquired by the State government for industrial and infrastructural purposes was a fraction of the agricultural land distributed under land reform (and this does not even include the extent of homestead land distributed). Even in 2006-07, when acquisitions peaked, the extent acquired was 4,135 acres, and the extent distributed under land reform was 10,848 acres; in other words, in that year, the extent of agricultural land distributed under the land reform programme was no less than 2.62 times the extent acquired for industry and infrastructure.
Although it is true that more land was distributed in the first two decades of Left Front rule than at present, the fact remains that even today, with a narrower base of land available for redistribution, the extent distributed is much greater than the extent acquired.
The freedom of the government to implement land reform in West Bengal has been hemmed in historically by the constraints imposed by the Constitution and obstructed by counter-land-reform action and endless litigation. Nevertheless, the data show unequivocally not only that land reform swept the countryside in the late 1970s and 1980s, but also that the process of land distribution continues in rural West Bengal today.
Article courtesy, The Hindu.