Nandigram carnage by Praful Bidwai (Khaalej Times (Dubai))
"The violence was rooted in the CPM's decision to 'capture' two of Nandigram's three blocks, over which it lost control. Their people had got disenchanted with it because it tried to impose a Special Economic Zone on them. The 25,000-acre SEZ was to be created by forcibly acquiring land for Indonesia's Salim group—a front for the super-corrupt dictator Gen Suharto.
"The March attempt [of the state to break the Nandigram peasants' resistance—see anti-caste: CAPITALIST STATE TERROR IN WEST BENGAL: POOR VILLAGERS RESISTING LAND SEIZURE—UNTOUCHABLES AND MUSLIMS, MOSTLY WOMEN AND CHILDREN—CUT DOWN BY POLICE AND PARTY ACTIVISTS IN CPI(M)-RULED STATE (March 22, 2007)] failed. But Nandigram's people were collectively punished through a state-imposed economic blockade. No CPM leader visited them to offer relief or compensation. A multi-pronged offensive was launched on November 5-8 after ensuring the police were withdrawn. On November 10, attackers pushed BUPC supporters into a CPM stronghold, taking 600 'prisoner'. The final assault the next day used the prisoners as a 'human shield' to 'liberate' the entire area.
"A particularly disgraceful part of the operation was sexual violence. Another was the treatment of political adversaries as an alien enemy population. Most egregious was the state machinery's complete subordination to party interests."
India: Urgent Inquiry Needed into Nandigram Violence (Human Rights Watch, January 14, 2008):
"In November, CPI-M supporters and armed thugs forcibly ended the blockade. In retribution for the protest, they attacked villagers supporting the BUPC, burned down their homes, threatened further violence if villagers went to the authorities, and humiliated them by compelling them to join CPI-M rallies. The state administration removed police posts before CPI-M supporters advanced into the area, strongly suggesting governmental complicity in the abuses."
Final Report of an Independent Citizens' Team from Kolkata (March 8, 2008)
"By November there had been a clear gathering of CPI(M) cadres and militia in the area, as well as stockpiling of arms. In early November 2007, the armed Harmad Bahini struck back with the full support of the state. They violently 'reclaimed' the 'lost' villages in Nandigram that had come under the control of the BUPC. The police was conspicuous by its inaction even as frightened villagers, caught in the violent crossfire between the two main contending political parties, fled their homes for fear of death or injury.
"On November 12, when the CRPF [Central Reserve Police Force—India's national guard] finally entered Nandigram, the CRPF director S.I.S. Ahmed said, 'The private armies, comprised CPI(M) cadres, have already captured the area. It was only after that the CRPF personnel were allowed in. Now there is not much that the CRPF can do, except the maintain status quo and protect the private armies.' Finally, ‘peace’ reigned in Nandigram, hooded, bloodied and mauled, witness to the terror writ large on people’s faces.
"The CPI(M) has resorted to rampant sexual violence, using it as a weapon of power and intimidation to browbeat all the women of Nandigram who participated in large numbers in the movement against land acquisition."
And see also:
An inconvenient truth for secular CPM: Nandigram victims’ mainly Muslim face (Indian Express, November 20, 2007):
"'The only good thing with regard to Muslims is that in the last 30 years of Left rule in West Bengal, they were safe. What happened in Nandigram now puts question mark on that, too.'—Manzoor Alam, general secretary, All India Milli Council
"This is, perhaps, the worst-kept secret of the Nandigram violence that’s now being talked about openly. And is reason for embarrassment to the CPM which swears by its secular credentials: a majority of those targeted by its party cadres as they reclaim their turf are Muslim."