As violence sweeps through Nandigram, “miscreants” have found out a way to know their support base. They have branded several people with hot iron rods, identifying them as their foes for life.
One of the victims narrated his experience to the Hindustan Times on Tuesday. Sheikh Gulsan, a youth from Sonachura village, said : “On the day violence broke out, leading to the death of six persons, CPI-M workers dragged me to the other side of the canal to their side and beat me till I fell unconscious. When I regained consciousness after seven hours, I was branded with a hot iron rod on my left hand so that I could be identified as a CPI-M opponent.” According to Gulsan, the CPI(M) cadre in Nandigram have managed to stamp three persons other than him, so far. The other two are Sherfarzul and Md. Alam.
While “outsiders creating trouble in the area” has been an issue in political circles, local villagers of Sonachura alleged that efforts were on to screen and identify people who are not at the forefront of the protest, but were “anti-special economic zone at heart”. The trio has been branded so that they can be identified as enemies during conflicts.
Nishikanta Mondal of the Krishi Bhumi Ucched Pratirodh Committee said, “We are being tortured by the CPI(M) everyday. We are confused on whether to approach the police for assistance. We know the police might take their side and even torture us once they are allowed into the villages,” he said. Rubbishing allegations against the CPI-M, local leader Sadhin Pramanick said, “The charges are false. We have not branded anybody’s hands with hot iron rods. We are not torturing anybody, but if we are attacked, we will retaliate.” In another incident, unidentified men hurled ten bombs at Tekkhali bazaar, an anti-SEZ bastion. The bombers had covered their faces with cloth. People came out of their homes and blew the conch shells to alert adjoining villages.