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After Red terror, nightmarish camps

During the past few days, red terror struck Nandigram so badly that many of them are now mentally unstable, reports Rakeeb Hossain.

india Updated: Nov 15, 2007 01:12 IST
Rakeeb Hossain
Rakeeb Hossain
Hindustan Times

Sedatives are in high demand at the relief camps, now home to thousands of people of Nandigram who survived the CPM’s bullets and torture. It’s the only way they can sleep at night.

During the past few days, red terror struck Nandigram so badly that many of them are now mentally unstable.

After the killings, assaults, rape and arson, living in fear of groups of bike-riding cadres is taking its toll on the ordinary people in Nandigram.

“People are so terrified that we had to give high doses of sedatives to many who kept on having horrible dreams. In a relief camp like this, there should have been some sort of trauma centre. But when basic things like clean drinking water is lacking, what can one expect from the government? The camp is so unhygienic that an epidemic is just waiting to strike,” said Dr Subhas Dasgupta of Medical Service Centre, who came on Tuesday with social activist Medha Patkar and a relief team.

In fact, apart from the Bharat Sevashram Sangha, the relief team headed by Patkar was the first to come with some help. Neither any political party nor the state government has done anything till now for the distressed.

Even CPM members who came back home after 11 months from their relief camps at Khejuri are left without any help to restart their lives. Many of them do not even have basic things like utensils; neither do they have the money to buy them.

Patkar said the deployment of the CRPF is of no help and there should be a political solution to problem.

“All the parties should decide uniformly not to bring in outsiders and throw away arms to bring in peace in Nandigram,” she said.

Even on Wednesday, three days after the CPM regained Nandigram from the Trinamool Congress-led Bhumi Ucched Pratirodh Committee, many people were admitted at the Nandigram hospital after being beaten up by CPM cadres. Many more have reached the relief camps.

“I was having my morning cup of tea when a group of CPM cadres came to our house, called us out and ordered us to join their procession. When I refused, they beat me up severely. It was such a shame that my own students beat me up,” said Abdul Odud, the 62-year-old retired headmaster of Garchakraberia primary school. He and his son Md Mujdafa Ali are now in hospital with serious injuries.

And that’s not all. Farmers have been ordered not to touch their harvest without permission from the local CPM leaders. Villagers have been slapped with a fee of Rs 10,000 to Rs 30,000, depending on the size of their land, to take home their harvest. For BUPC supporters, the amount is much higher.

With bike-riding armed cadres roaming the villages every day and night, there aren’t many who would dare say no.

First Published: Nov 15, 2007 01:10 IST