Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Human Tragedy At Nandigram

I write this mail with a profound sense of despair, sorrow, and above all, anger. Many of you are roughly aware of what has been happening in Nandigram, in East Midnapur district of West Bengal, since January this year. However, the scale of the tragedy continues to escalate, and now it has taken on the aspect of a state sponsored genocide of inhuman proportions that almost supersedes the Gujarat violence in the sheer inhuman efficiency of the theatre of violence that the CPI(M) has unleashed with impunity, with no interference and tacit support of the administration which it, in any case, controls. For many months now, Nandigram has been outside the rule of law - with an utter breakdown of all administration and an utter contempt of fundamental human rights and civil liberties. I am at a loss for words when I try to describe the true horror of the situation because my rational mind finds it inconceivable that something like this is happening in my so called democratic country in the year 2007. Suffice it to say that armed militia belonging to the ruling political party have turned the place into a war zone, firing at will at any time of day or night, raping, burning women alive, tearing infants in half, and other atrocities that the mind cannot comprehend. In the latest burst of violence, they fired at an unarmed, peaceful demonstration. Officially the death toll stands at three, whilst the unofficial count goes up to beyond one hundred and fifty. What is most horrifying is that all access to the region is blocked by the CPI(M), so that even the media is unable to get in. The police and district administration are completely passive by-standers in all this. Today, i.e. November 11th, a peaceful protest march was taken out in Calcutta by many leading intellectuals and artistes, including Aparna Sen and Rituparno Ghosh. The police swooped down on this protest march, indiscriminately beating up people for the offence of speaking their minds and singing!
I am part of a citizen's initiative called MASUM (Manobadhikar Surokkha Mancho - Platform for Protection of Human Rights). We took out an impromptu sit-in demonstration at the Brigade Road Residency Road junction this afternoon. While at the venue, we were informed of the atrocities on the artistes in Calcutta. We now plan to organize multiple protest marches in a bigger way, with songs, poetry and theatre as our weapons. I will keep you updated on such proposed demonstrations. Please do spread this around so that the rest of the country is sensitised about this man made tragedy of astounding proportions.
Here are some links about the issue:
(site with detailed blow-by-blow account of the ongoing massacre)

Here are some links about the issue:
(site with detailed blow-by-blow account of the ongoing massacre)

(links to reports by various news channels. In particular see the following:
and )
(text of a message by West Bengal governor GopalKrishna Gandhi condenmning the armed incursions into the state and the way all access has been blocked, even for peace activists carrying relief material. In particular, Medha Patkar and her entourage were roughed up by CPI(M) goons on their way to Nandigram. The party's reaction to this has been that the governor is 'overstepping his limits'.)
(wikipedia article on the issue)
(site detailing the chronology of events)

If you choose to protest, please do so with the following people:

Contact info of people you can register your protest with:-

1. Governor of West Bengal(WB) - Gopal Krishna Gandhi
Phone: 033-2200 1641
Fax: 033 – 2200 2444 / 2200 1649
Email id :

2. Chief Minister (WB) - Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee Tel : (91)(33) 2214 5555/ 5588
Fax : (91)(33) 2214 5480
E mail:

7. Mr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, Fax: +91 11 23016857, Email:
8. Justice Mr. Y. K. Sabharwal, Chief Justice of India, Fax: +91 11 23383792, Email:
9. Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission of India, Fax: +91 11 2334 0016, Email:

Please write to the PM and the president urging the imposition of President's rule in the state.

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