Left intellectuals support Left Front Govt. on Nandigram

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New Delhi, Nov 15 (UNI) Under fire from various quartres for its handling of the Nandigram issue, the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government in West Bengal has received support from a group of Left intellectuals, who contend that the agitation in Nandigram is ''a blatantly anti-democratic act'' and ''a means of making the region out of bounds for CPI (M) sympathisers.'' The Left intellectuals said they were in complete sympathy with any segment of the peasantry that was engaged anywhere in struggle against forcible dispossession by or on behalf of corporate interests.

''But in the case of Nandigram, we are of the firm opinion that after the Left Front government's repeated announcements that no chemical hub would be established there, the further continuation of the agitation on this issue was totally unwarranted,'' they said in a signed statement.

They also forcefully argued that it was a means of making the region out of bounds for CPI (M) sympathisers, of preventing the return of refugees who had been driven out of their homes and into refugee camps since January, and of keeping out the administrative personnel of the state.

Without naming the Trinamool Congress, which is spearheading the agitation, the signatories alleged that it was aimed at establishing the unchallenged writ of a coterie over the entire area, all of which violated basic human rights and constituted a blatantly anti-democratic act, reminiscent of what had happened in Kespur in the West Medinipur district a few years earlier.

''No voices of protest other than by the Left Front were raised against this flagrant denial of basic rights to thousands of people whose only fault was that they supported the Left Front,'' they pointed out.

While the state government wisely refused to use the police after the tragic fall-out of doing so in March, peace parleys were generally boycotted by the Trinamool Congress, and the Central Government dithered over sending CRPF to the state.

''In the absence of intervention by the state machinery and civil society organisations, and of willingness for a political dialogue by the opposition TMC, is it surprising that the displaced CPI (M) sympathisers made their own moves to return to their homes?'' they asked.

They also said the real need of the hour was to ensure that this return did not trigger a further round of prolonged displacement, this time for the opponents of the Left Front, and that peace and normalcy returned to Nandigram at the earliest.

''The protests currently being organised against the return of the CPI (M) sympathisers to the area are as unjustified as they are unhelpful for the restoration of normalcy. We believe that the woes of the poor who happen to be Communist sympathisers are no less painful than those of others who are not.'' Those who signed the statement included noted historian Irfan Habib, theatre personalities Saeed Mirza and M.K.Raina and academicians Utsa Patnaik, Prabhat Patnaik and Jayati Ghosh.

Malini Bhattacharya, Mihir Bhattacharya, Indira Chandrasekhar, Rajen Prasad, Sashi Kumar, Parthiv Shah and Shireen Moosvi were the others who appended their signatures on the statement.

Yesterday, writers and filmmakers, actors and painters, singers and activists different walks of life participated in a silent procession in Kolkata to condemn the armed takeover of Nandigram and the inaction of the administration.

Film makers Mrinal Sen and Aparna Sen, painters Jogen Choudhury and Suva Prasanna, novelist Sirshendu Mukherjee, singers Anjan Dutta and Purnadas Baul, theatre personalities Shaoli Mitra, Kaushik Sen and Bibhash Chakraborty, danseuse Mamata Shankar and the Magsaysay award winner social activist and litterateur Mahasweta Devi were among others who participated in the procession.

UNI

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