“They pointed a gun on my temple and ordered me to cry out ‘Inqilab Zinadabad’. I had no other option but to utter their war cry. Otherwise they would have killed me immediately.”
Kalpana Pal, a middle-aged housewife, was shivering with fear as she talked about the worst moments of her life.
Kalpana was doing her daily chores at her Amgachia home in Nandigram on Tuesday when she heard gunshots. Before she could realise what was on, a group of gun-wielding CPM cadres stormed into her house and held her at gunpoint.
She managed to escape from the clutches of her captors two days later and took refuge at a school, the Nandigram Braja Mohan Siksha Niketan, kilometres away from Amgachia.
The school is now house to the thousands of homeless villagers from across Nandigram Block-I, including Jambari, Satengabari, Ranichowk, Simulkunda, Takapura, Kaikhali, Mahespur, and Rainagar.
Kalpana was, however, one of the fortunate ones who managed to escape unhurt. Everyone who escaped from the clutches of CPM cadres had harrowing tales to relate.
According to eyewitnesses, few houses at Mahespur has a roof, as all of them have been looted and razed. “They took away all our belongings including cash, jewellery, television sets, music systems and whatever they could get lay their hands on.”
“They beat up the men mercilessly until they agreed to join the CPM. The women were gangraped. Before they left, they had a hearty meal of roasted chicken,” said Shyamlal Giri, a resident of Jambari.
Echoing Giri’s views, Shiekh Motaleb, who anyhow managed to rescue his sister Mossamat Akhera Bibi and admit her to the Tamluk sub-divisional hospital in East Midnapore on Saturday, said: “My sister was pregnant and couldn’t run away when the armed CPM cadres stormed inside Satengabari village. She was severally beaten up and then raped by the cadres. Her two teenage daughters Soma Khatoon and Anwara Khatoon too have been raped and then taken away.”
According to Sukanta Gayen, who is still trapped in his Jambari village home, CPM cadres have ordered everyone to keep the doors of their houses open at night. “They are keeping a vigil on almost all major entry and exit points in the village. The villagers are being forced to participate in the rallies organised by them and active Bhumi Uchched Pratirodh Committee (BUPC) supporters have been slapped cash fines to the tune of several lakhs,” Gayen lamented.