Taking a serious view of unabated violence in Nandigram, the National Human Rights Commission on Monday sought a report from the West Bengal government on the situation in the area and asked the Union Home Ministry to take steps to restore peace in the trouble-torn parts of the state.
The NHRC will also send its team to Nandigram to "study" the situation and suggest remedial measures.
"The state chief secretary has been asked to submit a report within 10 days on the condition prevailing in Nandigram. The home ministry will have to file the report within two weeks on the steps taken to ensure peace," said an NHRC statement in Delhi.
The commission's move comes on a petition filed by advocate Sanjay Parikh who alleged that the disturbed and volatile conditions in and around Nandigram were likely to result in grave violation of human rights.
The petitioner had also forwarded to the commission a message received from social activist Medha Patkar, requesting urgent intervention of NHRC, the statement said.
Quoting the activist, the commission said, "According to the message, a war like situation was prevailing due to presence of thousands of Communist Party of India-Marxist cadres surrounding Nandigram from at least three sides. Senior police officers were present in the area and seemed to support their programme to attack Nandigram."
In her message, Patkar also expressed "fear that the gherao of Nandigram might lead to serious and unprecedented bloodshed."
"Patkar has expressed apprehension over the willingness of the state government to stop the violence or not. The petitioner had asked for every possible move to compel the West Bengal government and the ruling party to withdraw the gherao around Nandigram," the NHRC statement said.
The commission had earlier taken suo-motu cognisance of the police firing in Nandigram in March 2007 in which a few people were killed.
The commission had asked for a factual report from the state chief secretary and the director general of police on the incident.
In its report, the state chief secretary had blamed certain political organisations and locals for the incident, the commission said, adding that the current situation in the area has also been highlighted by newspapers which suggest the connivance of local police with criminal elements.
Under these circumstances, the commission felt it imperative to take immediate steps for protection of the people and their human rights, it said.
The West Bengal Human Rights Commission has already directed the West Bengal government to submit a report to it within two weeks.