Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi waded into the war-zone of Nandigram on Sunday, iterating his commitment to peace with the slogan ‘Jai Hind, Jai Shanti’.
Gandhi walked through village lanes for hours under a hot sun, listening to hundreds of villagers — supporters of both CPI(M) and Bhumi Ucched Pratirodh Committee — who told him of life in the shadow of fear.
At one point, Gandhi was stopped by CPI(M) supporters who shouted slogans against him, demanding to know why he hadn’t visited when alleged Trinamool goons controlled Nandigram.
Gandhi replied he had wanted normalcy to return before he visited. “I see a lot of reason for hope,” he said. An anguished Gandhi had described the CPI(M) ‘recapture’ of Nandigram as “unlawful and unacceptable”, provoking angry attacks on him by Bengal’s ruling party.
The governor joined some boys at cricket at the Sitananda College ground. He was bowled out first ball — but it was the delighted youngsters who appeared to have been bowled over by his visit.
(With Ashok Bera)