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Leaders claim situation peaceful, but Nandigram still uneasy
November 15, 2007 19:45 IST
Last Updated: November 15, 2007 19:47 IST
An eerie silence prevailed on Thursday over Nandigram, 'recaptured' by the Communist Party of India-Marxist, with many houses in the former Bhumi Ucched Pratirodh Committee strongholds remaining deserted.
Driving through Reyapara, Hanschara and interior areas of Nandigram, this correspondent found many houses deserted, while at interior places where the CRPF were not on rounds, CPI-M men flying the party flag went around on motorcyles.
Many shops were also closed in the market areas.
CRPF officers visited relief camps at Nandigram bazar and talked to the around 1,500 refugees who have taken shelter there.
When the women complained of not being able to enter their villages without security, the officers assured them of doing everything possible for their safety.
"We are taking a little time to settle down, we will do everything for your safety. We will catch all trouble-makers," they told the refugees.
Azanur Islam, a BUPC supporter, said, "Things are peaceful now and shops are opening. I was a neighbour of CPI-M local leader Ashok Guria, but had to flee to Haldia for a few days during the recent violence."
He said the CPI-M was now in total control of Nandigram Bazar areas, which was the last BUPC stronghold to fall after the CPI-M 'recaptured' Nandigram.
Pijush Kanti Dasadhikary, who is staying at a relief camp since the last eight days with his family, accused the state administration of acting in a partisan manner.
"If the state administration acts in such a partisan manner and we are beaten up, and women molested, how can we go back home?" he asked.
Dasadhikary added that though he owned ten bighas of land, he had no idea about what had happened to his crops.
Basanti Das of Adhikaripara, a local woman, also asked whether there was any administration and claimed that the police were not helping at all. "Does any government do this?" she asked.
"Jyoti Basu was chief minister for so many years. Did anything like this happen then?" Basanti asked.
The local CPI-M leader, Himanshu Dey, said that according to his estimates, around 400 to 500 BUPC supporters were still staying in relief camps.
"We are assuring them that our men will not trouble them. We have told our people not to hold out enmity to anyone. Those now in camps were forced to follow the dictates of BUPC leaders and are misled," he said.
"Now everywhere there is peace," claimed Dey.
The leader was irked at Nandigram being visited by political leaders and social workers.
"These people don't know Nandigram, what will they do?" he asked.
While Dasadhikary claimed that his house was burnt on November 10 when the CPI-M were 'recapturing' Nandigram, Rabindranath Pramanik alleged that he was severely beaten up by supporters of the Marxist party.
Pramanik, who was at the Nandigram Block Hospital, said that he had been told by the CPI-M to return home as it was now safe.
"But when I tried to return to my home village of Sat Number Jalpai, I was accosted by CPI-M men who asked me where the BUPC had hidden arms. When I told them that I did not know, I was beaten up mercilessly," he said.
Ashit Pradhan of Gangra village, whose right hand was broken after CPI-M cadres attacked a BUPC procession on November 10, said he was worried about his crops.
"If we cannot harvest our crops we will not have anything to eat. On the other hand, if we return, we might me harassed by the CPI-M," Pradhan said.
At the relief camp, little children were seen begging for money. Asked if they were not being fed, a boy said, "We will be given food only in the afternoon. We have had nothing to eat since morning. We are hungry."