The first batch of CRPF personnel finally reached within kilometres of battle zone Nandigram on Sunday. But they came a bit too late.
<b1>For, before any CRPF jawan could set his foot on the trouble spot, the fight had already ended between the CPM cadres and the Bhumi Ucched Pratirodh Committee (BUPC). CPM cadres regained almost all of Nandigram.
In most places, the CPM cadres entered the villages firing indiscriminately and following it up with looting and arson. In a move reminiscent of medieval warfares, the CPM organised a huge rally placing 500 captured BUPC members, all tied up, on the forefront as human shields. This served two purposes-one, it make BUPC think twice before firing on the rally and two, if there are any landmines, then the "human shield" would bear the impact.
Meanwhile, a press release issued by the Center said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who reached Moscow on Sunday night, was closely monitoring the situation and had spoken to West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya. Earlier, speaking to reporters on board the prime minister’s special aircraft en route to Moscow, National Security Adviser MK Narayanan said, "It is a tricky situation. It is a matter causing a great deal of concern. Delhi is concerned, Kolkata is also concerned." He added that an officer had been sent to Bengal from Delhi to assess the situation and file a report. Narayanan did not rule out the possibility of a Maoist hand in the violence.
There was no conformation of how many people were killed or injured, as the media was barred with CPIM cadres guarding all entry and exit points to the areas where most of the fighting was taking place. They didn’t even allow the police superintendent’s convoy to enter Nandigram.
Even Trinamool leader Mamata Banerjee’s effort to reach Nandigram was blocked. The motorbike on which she was pillion-riding was obstructed by hundreds of CPM cadres. The farthest she could go was till Tamluk Hospital where she met injured BUPC members.
Though there was no official confirmation from the police, CPIM district secretariat member Ashok Guria said "all the homeless CPM supporters, who were thrown out of their houses at gun point, has been returned to their homes till the Kendemari area. Now there are no homeless people in Nandigram Block-I."
But, Trinamool MLA Sishir Adhikari claimed that CPM is yet to get control of five out of 17 blocks of Nandigram and that they would again enter the places on Monday, which CPIM tried to enter today with more than 50,000 people. However, a local SUCI leader Bhabani Prasad Das present at Nandigram Bazar said all is lost for BUPC in Nandigram and now fleets of homeless are coming to the relief camps for shelter.
Later in the evening, a dejected Mamata Banerjee told the media, "what will CRPF do now in Nandigram? Will they guard the broken houses and empty villages. CPM goons have destroyed everything.”
When questioned on whether she would go to Nandigram and protest, Mamata said "I wanted to see the villagers, not the CPM goons”. Then she went on saying, “was my silent protest not enough".