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Shameful Events In Nandigram

By Concerned Citizens

14 November, 2007

We the undersigned have been dismayed and revolted by the events of the past few days in and around Nandigram in West Bengal's East Midinapur district. The manner in which the anti-socials of the dominant party in the ruling front attacked the residents to reestablish the domination over the area exposes the party's lack of commitment to democratic values, principles and norms. The actions of these people under the benign indulgence of the State administration can only strengthen the criminalized and anti-democratic forces in our polity. For four days since the operation began the media and journalists have not been allowed to enter Nandigram, indicating that there is much to hide.

We condemn the assault by the anti-socials carrying the Red flag and functioning under the protection and encouragement of the ruling CPM on the group of reputed social activists, writers, intellectuals and artists led by Medha Patkar who were on a visit to Nandigram to find out first hand what was going on and express their solidarity with the hapless residents evicted from their hearths and homes. Not only were they prevented from entering Nandigram, they were subjected to physical violence and intimidation. The events in Nandigram are inconsistent with the norms of democratic functioning, claims of creating an alternative political culture and the traditions of Bengali culture.

We see in this the application of the so-called "Dum Dum dawai" that a senior CPM Polit-Bureau member approvingly advocated the other day. This is unfortunate since this slogan was coined as a part of the democratic resistance during the memorable food movement in the State in 1966, whereas it is now sought to be applied against the people themselves. All this is reflective of not just intolerance but a strong anti-democratic tendency in the dominant component of West Bengal's ruling party today. What is happening in West Bengal today is indeed unprecedented in contemporary India and has doubtless besmirched the State's rich history of democratic struggles so that even the Governor of West Bengal who has shown tremendous restraint has been pained to issue a statement against the unfolding events
in the State.

We are dismayed at the attitude of the CPM's State and Central
leadership which not only did not rein in its cadres but did not deem it necessary or worthwhile to tender unqualified apology to the group led by Medha Patkar for the undemocratic actions of their cadres. This suggests that they are condoning such activity.
If such activities continue even for a day more it would be
tantamount to the State government abdicating its constitutional
responsibility and a break down of the constitutional functioning in
the State.

We demand that the CPM leadership, both at the Centre and in the State immediately put a stop to the undemocratic actions let loose by their cadres.

We also demand that they convey their sincere apology to the people of Nandigram and to the group of citizens led by Medha Patkar that were trying to visit the area.

We demand a solemn assurance that such things will not recur in the days ahead.We demand that the state government facilitate the visit of a fact finding team consisting of concerned citizens to visit the area.

We appeal to all democratic forces, representing various shades of opinion, to stand up and defend the very edifice of our democracy which is in peril by taking whatever action they can wherever they are (say, by sending copies of this statement (or one based on this) to the Chief Minister and the Governor and by holding demonstrations and protests on November 12th at 1. 00 pm.

1. Sumit Chakravarty, Journalist.
2. Meher Engineer, Social Activist.
3. Prashant Bhushan, Lawyer
4. Arvind Kejriwal, Social Activist
5. Amit Bhaduri, JNU
6. Sumit Sarkar, Retd. Delhi University.
7. Manoranjan Mohanty, Delhi University.
8. Ramaswamy R. Iyer, Retd. Civil Servant
9. Madhu Bhaduri, Retd Ambassador
10. Achin Vanaik, Delhi University
11. Praful Bidwai, Journalist.
12. Arundhati Dhuru, Social Activist
13. Sandeep Pandey, Social Activist.
14. Thomas Kocherry, Social Activist.
15. Ambarish Rai, Social Activist.
16. Vijay Pratap, Social Activist
17. Yogendra Yadav, CSDS.
18. Sukumar Mukhopadhyay, Retd. Civil Servant
19. Vitusha Oberoi, Journalist
20. Mythili Bhusnurmath, Journalist
21. Rami Chabra, Social Activist.
22. Mira Shiva, Social Activist.
23. Mani Subramanian, Retd. Police Officer
24. Suhas Borkar, Social Activist.
25. Ashok Aggrawal, Lawyer.
26. Smitu Kothari, Social Activist.
27. Fr Cedric Prakash, Social Activist.
28. Dr. A.S. Ravindra Rao, Doctor.
29. Ms. Jayashree Rao, Businesswoman
30. Sukla Sen , Social Activist.
31. Mukta Shrivastava, Social Activist
32. Prasad Chacko, Social Activist.
33. Kalpana Mehta, Social Activist.
34. Atal Behari Sharma, Social Activist.
35. Gaurang Raval, Social Activist.
36. Kavita Das Gupta, Social Activist.
37. Nimmi Chauhan, Social Activist.
38. Meenakshi Ganguly, Social Activist.
39. Asit, Social Activist
40. Sauquat Hussain, Social activist
41. Satya Sivaraman, Social Activist
42. Jimmy Dabhi, Social Activist
43. Nityanand Jayaraman, Independent Journalist
44. Sunil Gupta, Social Activist.
45. Vijay Parmar, Social Activist.
46. Saurabha Bhattacharya, The Other Media.
47. Kalyani Menon-sen, Social Activist
48. Rudy Herdia, Social Activist.
49. Rasmi Ranjan, Advocate
50. Dhruva Narayan, Publisher
51. J Saikia, Academic, Assam
52. Arun K Bidani, Social Activist
53. Persis Ginwalla, Social Activist
54. Pradeep Gawande, Social Activist.
55. Arvind Shukla, Economist
56. Harish Dhawan, Delhi University.
57. Sunil Dharan, Delhi University.
58. Srijit Mishra, Economist.
59. Rohit Prasad, MDI.
60. N P Chaubey, Academic, Allahabad
61. R. C. Tripathi, Academic, Allahabad
62. T Karunakaran, Academic, Tamil Nadu.
63. Ghanshyam Shah, Academic, Ahmedabad
64. Mahendra Verma I.I.T. Kanpur
65. Rahul Varman, I. I. T. Kanpur
66. Sujata Patel, Academic, Pune
67. Romar Correa, Mumbai University
68. Anil Sadgopal, Delhi University.
69. B. Vivekanandan, Formerly in JNU.
70. Saumen Chattopadhyaya, JNU.
71. Ritu Priya Mehrotra, JNU
72. Krishnendu Dastidar, JNU
73. Avijit Pathak, JNU
74. Shashi Kant Jha, JNU
75. Sudhir Vombatkere,NAPM
76. Pradipta Chaudhury, JNU
77. Satish Jain, JNU
78. Anjan Mukherji, JNU
79. Promod Yadav, JNU
80. Alokesh Barua, JNU
81. Birendra Nath Mallick, JNU.
82. Arun Kumar, JNU
83. Sridevi Panikkar, Delhi Solidarity Group
84. Thomas Kocherry, NFF
85. Geetha Ramakrishnan, NCC-USW
86. Sanjay M.G, NAPM
87. Gabriele D, NAPM
88. Sister Celia, NAPM
89. Anand Patwardhan, Film Maker
90. Suniti S.R, NAPM
91. Simpreet Singh, NAPM
92. Vijayan MJ, Delhi Forum
93. (Rt. Major General) Sudhir Vombetkere



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