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'We want the nation by Singur's side'
Indrani Roy Mitra in Kolkata and Singur | February 08, 2007 13:45 IST
Though Ratan Tata claimed to be 'happy with the progress of work at the proposed car unit in Singur', things were far from peaceful in and around Singur.
Peasants and rural people, mostly women, dug up the roads on Wednesday to resist 'police atrocities'. "Under the cover of Section 144, police are not letting the media and common people enter the place, but they themselves are unleashing violence on us," said a group of agitators near Singur
Though Section 144 imposed by the state government barred this correspondent from taking a look at the 'acquired land', one could easily feel the tension in the air.
Armed forces patrolled the area round-the-clock, but that could not deter the protestors from chalking out their course of action.
In fact, they went to the extent of saying that they were ready to take on the police directly if need be.
"We have resolved to protect our land come what may. The government and the Tatas should go back," screamed the group holding hands, determination written all over their faces.
Back in Kolkata, the peasants' protests have found a voice of support in Trinamool Congress and its leader Mamta Banerjee as also among the Bengal intelligentsia. On Wednesday, they organised a huge rally wherein a clarion call was given to the people of Kolkata to stand by the helpless farmers.
Says economist Amlan Datta, "We are not only fighting against the acquisition of farmland, but we are here to protect the norms of democracy."
Writer and activist Mahasweta Devi sounds irked over the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist's attempt to give a communal colour to the entire event. "The CPI-M government has not done any good in the last 30 years. It's time they stepped aside."
To singer, activist and journalist Kabir Suman, attempts by rural people to dig up roads are "but sowing seeds of democracy. This is what we need the most at the moment."
Trinamool leader Mamta Banerjee thinks poltics aside, people of the state should put up a unified resistance against "illegal acquisition of land in parts of Bengal. It's the people who should come together and drive the outsiders away. If people think Trinamool Congress should not meddle with the protest movement, it is even ready to stand aside."
In the meantime, some of the activists have decided to help the movement travel beyond boundaries so that it finds support at the national level.
"We are toying with the idea of seeking the help of actress and activist Shabana Azmi and her husband poet Javed Akhtar. We want the nation to come forward in expressing solidarity. Singur is burning and we want the nation to witness it," says an insider.