Even three years ago, Payel Bag was a regular on Mamata Banerjee’s dais, and also on her lap, not only in Singur but also at different functions in Bengal. Now eight years old, the girl had become a symbol of Singur’s anti acquisition struggle in 2006 after the 18-month old baby landed in jail for two nights with her mother for taking part in Mamata Banerjee’s gherao of the Singur BDO office on September 25.
One of the staunch antiacquisition activist families, the Bags are now bitter about their experience of the land struggle. On a day Supreme Court deferred till July the hearing of state government’s appeal against the Calcutta high court verdict, the Bags told HT that they want the government to go for out of court settlement with Tatas.
“The legal issue would drag so long that we are losing hope of getting justice through the legal system. During the movement, the Trinamool Congress leadership never alerted us of any such long-drawn legal battles,” Krishna, Payel’s mother, told HT on Friday.
Payel now studies in class IV and her elder sister Anamika would appear for Madhyamik this year. The family is finding it tough to pay for the two private tutors for Anamika and one private tutor for Payel. So, Payel had to quit dance and drawing tuition two months back.
Krishna Bag’s husband, Arun, was beaten up and jailed for four days for obstructing the police from taking possession of their land in December 2006. Her father-in-law, Haradhan, committed suicide in February 2007, apparently because of depression after police took possession of their land at Beraberi village.
“My husband has heart and nerve ailments. Yet he has to go to Howrah everyday to work as carpenter at a furniture shop. His health is steadily deteriorating and I’m all the more worried with that,” Krishna Bag said.
Shyamali Das, another staunch anti-acquisition activist from Beraberi Purbapara, is at one with Bag. She, along with her husband, spent seven days in jail for obstructing police in taking possession of their land on December 2, 2006. She even named her grandson as Paribartan (Change), who was born two days before Singur went for general elections.
“Are we supposed to wait for eternity? How would we live? Mamata Banerjee had promised us land within 24 hours of her coming to power. Now it’s already 19 months and no one knows how long the case is going to linger or the government would at all win the case,” Das said, adding that they want to government to sit with the Tatas and settle the issue amicably.