Hitting back at Left-leaning intellectuals who criticised Bengal government on the Nandigram issue, senior CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat on Sunday said she was "puzzled" by their silence when hundreds of villagers were not allowed entry there for the past several months.
The party politburo member said they did not raise their voice when about 3,500 villagers were out in camps for about 11 months and denied entry to Nandigram.
"I respect the works of many of these intellectuals and artists. But I am a little bit puzzled. For 11 months, when 3,500 people were out in the camps (Trinamool Congress chief) Mamata Banerjee said it was a drama. Did they accept that," Brinda told Karan Thapar's 'Devil's Advocate' on CNN-IBN.
"Where were they? I want to know. I am puzzled about that," she said.
Asked about noted historian Sumit Sarkar's criticism of CPI(M), she said she did not want to go into the criticism raised by individuals. "He has never been in support of CPI(M)."
Defending party colleague Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, Brinda said he is the only chief minister in the country who had declared that there will be no land acquisition if people do not want it.
"He has the support of the people of Bengal. This is the only chief minister who attempted to bring the opposition to confidence.
"But there is a motivated political alliance from Maoists to BJP to Congress to Trinamool who oppose him," she said.
Asked whether her party was embarrassed at the developments in Nandigram, Brinda said, "It is not a question of embarrassment, but it is a question of concern."
She alleged there was a lot of misreporting of the incidents in Nandigram.
"There has been one-sided reporting. That is why I am saying we are concerned. CPI(M) cadre were at the receiving end for the last 11 months," she said.
Asked about rape of women in Nandigram, the 59-year-old leader said if there is any veracity in these reports, the West Bengal government will take "strict and stringent" action against the culprits.