The bright yellow sunflower beds looked out of place at noon amidst the gloom that had descended upon the villages of Sonachura at Nandigram — three days after the bloody massacre.
As the long cavalcade of Leader of the Opposition in the Parliament and the head of the nine-member NDA delegation LK Advani passed through Heria and Khejuri and reached Sonachura the eerie silence, empty fields, razed dwellings, destroyed buildings and police camps said it all.
This was the very place that witnessed the massacre of March 14, when the police and the CPI(M) cadres clashed with the villagers that left more than 20 dead, more than 300 injured and hundreds missing from the villages. "I just can't believe that such barbarism and atrocity could be inflicted upon the people by its own government in Independent India," said a shocked Advani.
The moment his cavalcade stopped at Sonachura, children, women and men began to come out of their houses from nowhere to tell their plight to the leader and narrate some of the most harrowing moments experienced by them at the hands of the police and the CPI(M) cadres.
"I saw the deep anger and intense anguish in the eyes of the women. They cried and narrated how they have been maltreated (raped) and also about their children and men who are still missing since that day. The men also cried. This reminded me of the Jallianwala Bagh incident where General Dyer killed innocent people. The Marxists have repeated the same incident. History will never forget Sonachura and never forgive the Marxists for what they have done," said Advani amidst cheers from the villagers.
Covering 440 kms in his whirlwind visit to Nandigram that began at 7 am and ended at 6.30 pm, Advani expressed shock about how the CM of Bengal has lost the confidence of the people. "Everywhere I went people cried hang that man. Buddha has lost the support of his allies who have condemned him and also his mentor (Basu) who has reprimanded him for acting arrogantly. In fact, Sonachura and Nandigram has witnessed unwanted and unnecessary use of force," said Advani.
Leaving Sonachura at 1.30 pm, Advani rushed to the Nandigram hospital and Tamluk District Hospital to meet the victims of bullet injuries who are admitted there. Talking to the patients, Advani got the idea of the war that was razed on March 14 at Nandigram.
Unable to find any words, Advani said: "The CM needs to do some introspection. The CPI(M) just cannot disregard the voice of the people. Even the Governor and the High Court has condemned this barbaric act. The Left Front allies have criticised the CM and the CPI(M). Today, the CM and his government is isolated from everyone in the country," said Advani.
"March 14 will be recorded as the Blackest Day of the 30-year-old CPI(M) regime in Bengal. It exposed the Stalinist mindset of the party and also how over the years their cadres have come to run a parallel government in the state," alleged Advani.
Criticising the role of the Centre in this incident, Advani said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and AICC president Sonia Gandhi must introspect whether they can allow such incidents in Independent India. "It seems in one pocket of the country, democracy has ceased to exist. And the only party that has not said a single word about this barbaric act and the massacre is the Congress," criticised Advani.
Advani said the least he can expect from the Centre and the state is that they should ensure that the CBI enquiry is conducted impartially.
Everywhere Advani went in Nandigram people came to hear him out and requested that he ensure justice for them from the Centre. When passing through the CPI(M) pockets in Khejuri, he witnessed their silent anger. And while returning, he got to see some of their traits when they uttered war cries and slogans as his car left Nandigram.
"NDA will stand with Nandigram," said Advani on return.