Amnesty International criticizes Nandigram incident in its annual report

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New Delhi, May 28 : Annual report of Amnesty International, has criticized Nandigram violence in West Bengal in which around three dozens people were killed.

The West Bengal Government is alleged of conspiring with party workers and accused of killing and raping villagers opposed to selling land for an industrial project.

Nandigram has been the flashpoint of a conflict between mostly poor farmers and the State Government since early 2007 over the refusal of the villagers to sell their land for a chemicals industry complex.

Reportedly, nearly three-dozen people were killed, and police have also found several unmarked graves in the area. According to villagers the toll could be much higher as people remain missing or deaths could have been concealed.

"We have seen that the excessive police forces and the private militia by ruling parties in West Bengal, Orissa and Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, leading to unlawful killings, forced evictions, violence against women, harassment of human rights defenders, denial of excess of information to the media and human right groups, and denial of justice to victims of violence, specially in the context of people's right over the actual resources, and in the context of Special Economic Zones (SEZ)," said Mukul Sharma, Director of Amnesty International, India after releasing the report in New Delhi on Wednesday

"We have seen Nandigram, private militia owing close alliance to the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)) and arms supporter of the local organisation battling for the territorial control. In Orissa, 50 people were injured during year long protest by farmer groups against forced displacement because of a steel plant project," added Sharma.

The report also highlighted violation of human rights by the security forces in the militancy or Maoist affected Jammu and Kashmir, Chhattisgarh, Assam and Nagaland.

"The Report also highlights the security and it's impact over human rights. Jammu and Kashmir, Chhattisgarh, Nagaland and Assam remain very much a red-light zone in terms of human rights. State and non-state actors continue to enjoy the impunity for torture, death in custody, unlawful killings and disappearances. This is (despite) progress made in the peace initiative over Kashmir and Nagaland," added Sharma.

Over 45,000 people have been killed in militancy related violence since it broke out in 1989 in Kashmir. Human rights groups put the toll at around 60,000 dead or missing.

Thousands of people have been killed since the Maoists began their insurgency in the late 1960s.

The Maoists say they are fighting for the rights of poor peasants and landless labourers and routinely call strikes, attack government property and target local politicians.

Their influence has been growing and now stretches across large parts of rural eastern and southern India.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called the rebels the biggest challenge to the country's internal security.

ANI

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