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Peace remains elusive in Nandigram

The Bhangabera bridge on the border between Nandigram and Khejuri is where the first spark of violence erupted early January

india Updated: Nov 22, 2007 09:50 IST

The Bhangabera bridge on the border between Nandigram and Khejuri is where the first spark of violence erupted early January, leading to the divide between the Bhumi Uchhed Pratirodh Committee and the CPI(M).

The signs of the division over land acquisition for a proposed SEZ are still evident. Torched and damaged houses are visible, people who have chosen to stay on despite the mayhem are few as the red hammer and sickle flags of the Marxists are fluttering once again after the recapture of Nandigram.

The measured tread of boots as the CRPF personnel patrol is reassuring and the only sign of the fragile peace since mid November there.

On January 6, three people of BUPC, Sk Selim, Bharat Mondal and a student of class VIII, Biswajit Maity, were killed allegedly in firing from the house of a CPI(M) leader Sankar Samanta. The rest is history now.

Nearly 15,000 residents from nearby villages like Sonachura and Garchakraberia burnt Samata's house and he perished in the blaze. Others in his panic-stricken family swam across the canal and reached Khejuri-I, a CPI(M) stronghold. Shortly to follow them were another 400 families of Bhangabera.

"We could not even take clothes when I and my wife fled our home. When we reached the other side of the canal, our party supporters gave us shelter. If we had not found shelter, we would have been dead now," recounts Sankar's brother Bhabani.

Eleven months later on November 10, the CPI(M) hit back by "recapturing" Bhangabera, Sonachura and nearby areas.