Barely a month after the Nandigram massacre – where the clash between the CPI(M) cadres and the villagers left 14 dead and several injured over acquisition of land for the chemical hub – the CPI(M) is once again going inside the troubled zone on April 19.
This time the CPI(M) is going to flex its muscle in the heart of the war zone – the Nandigram Bazar – by holding a public meeting ostensibly to mark the CPI(M)'s statewide demonstration by industrial workers and farmers for their 10-point demand from the Centre.
This meeting would be addressed by West Bengal Pradeshik Krishak Sabha Secretary Samar Baora, CITU State Secretary Dipak Dasgupta and East Midnapore Zilla Parishad Sabhadhipati Niranjan Sihi. And from this platform, the leaders would stress on having industries along with agriculture.
This public meeting would be the culmination of various other political programmes that the CPI(M) launched from Saturday in different parts of Nandigram. In the run-up to the April 19 meeting, the CPI(M) is organising para baithaks, anchal conventions, party workers' meeting, block meetings and processions in all the villages of the district.
"We couldn't have gone inside if we knew that the people were still against us. People are seeking our help to drive out the armed goons controlling Nandigram. And this process started from March 30, when barely 500 people came to attend a meeting of Bhumi Uchched Pratirodh Committee inside Nandigram," said CPI(M) East Midnapore District Secretariat member in-charge of Nandigram Ashok Guria.
"Again on April 1, the self-styled leaders of Nandigram called a Mahamichil. But only 1,300 people attended. Today, 71,000 people of Nandigram are being held hostage by a group of heavily-armed 165 men. People are not enjoying the siege any more. And if our information is right then Nandigram would soon welcome the CPI(M)," added another District Secretariat Member Kanu Saha.
In a confidential note sent to CPI(M) State Secretary Biman Bose, the district leaders of the party have claimed that it took 30 months to get back Keshpur and Garbeta from the Jodhyas in 2001, but Nandigram would be regained much earlier.
In the note, the district CPI(M) leaders say that heavy extortion – anything between Rs 500 to Rs 5,000 – for being provided security against the CPI(M) – and rapes are isolating the Nandigram leaders from the people. The CPI(M) leaders said that they have been told by some of the inhabitants that in order to cultivate their own land, they have to pay a tax of Rs 200 per bigha.
"Nobody is going to like this. Our feeling is that just before the sowing of seeds during the monsoon season, people of Nandigram will drive these mercenaries out and declare independence. After all, if they can fight the government for the land, they can do the same with the mercenaries. For the last three-and-a-half months, people of Nandigram are under siege," said Ashok Guria.
In its analytical report, the CPI(M) leaders claimed that people have started turning against the Bhumi Uchched Committee leader since March 19, when the state government announced that no land would be taken from Nandigarm for the chemical hub.
And the CPI(M) leader feel that the change is palpable among the people in all the five gram panchayats of Nandigram – Sonachura, Kendemarijalpai, Mohammadpur, Kalicharanpur and Bhekuti – that are under the control of the Krishi Jamin Bachao brigade.
They did not allow the CPI(M) to hold any public meeting inside Nandigram for at least 100 days. And during this period, facing threat to their lives, at least 3,000 CPI(M) supporters came out of Nandigram to live in the camps set up by the party along the border.
"Also out of Nandigram are CPI(M) local leaders like the Zonal Committee member of Sonachura Badal Mondol, Local Committee secretary of Sonachura Joydeb Paik, panchayat member Anup Mondol, Local Committee secretary of Radharamchok Niranjan Mondol, Zonal Committee secretary of Manikchok Sunirmal Giri, Ashok Mondol and Kanai Das of Dengra, etc," pointed out a local CPI(M) leader.
What is the CPI(M) strategy now? To intensify their political movements in Haldia, Chandipur, Bhagwanpur, Khejuri and on the banks of river Hooghly that share border with Nandigram. This movement is going to go on till Nandigram becomes free from the mercenaries, as the CPI(M) doesn't want them to spread their fangs beyond the Nandigram border.
And finally, before May, the CPI(M) wants to push in all the 3,000 supporters and 25-odd leaders thrown out of Nandigram by the Krishi Jamin Bachao leaders.
"We will not use force. But with Nandigram turning on its head, we believe time has come to go inside and connect with the people. After all, Nandigram needs the CPI(M)," said Ashok Guria.