Stephen Lendman and Arun Shrivastava
RINF Alternative News
Abstract: This review paper documents the events of Nandigram and role of the Communist Party of India Marxists (CPM), Kissinger in Kolkata pushing through Indo-US nuclear deal, Special Economic Zones and their true purpose, and the true character of a Marxist Party that has ruled West Bengal for 30 years, also a partner in the United Progressive Alliance’s Government in New Delhi. The authors wish to thank the many people who were interviewed and who sent their written opinion in a very short time.
Nandigram. Google it and you get over one million hits. Early 2006, it was just another Block of poor and landless Hindu and Muslim peasants. It shot to fame early this year when the people of Nandigram opposed the Chemical Hub of the Salim Group of Indonesia that would require 4000 acres of land under Special Economic Zone dispensation. On 14th March, 2007, the West Bengal Police in league with armed hoodlums of the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist), aka CPM, butchered unarmed people protesting forced sequestration of their farmlands. The savagery of attack and the sheer bestiality of attackers even surpassed those of the Zionists in Gaza strip and the US and NATO occupation forces in Iraq or Afghanistan. It was a naked assertion of supremacy of ruling elite by force of terror.
“Mohammed Salim, the businessman to whom the land was to be turned over, helped bankroll Suharto’s genocide of Indonesian Communists. The Communist-led government of West Bengal is eager to do business with him. If ever proof was needed of the irony of the current conjuncture of the Indian left, or of the way capital swallows up and transcends ideological animosities in its expansionary drives, it is here,” says Aditya Sarkar. (“Nandigram and the deformations of the Indian left”, issue 115; Indian Socialism, 2 July 2007; http://www.isj.org.uk/index.php4?id=333&issue=115)
We believe these events are not political aberrations or deformations but carefully crafted acts of the entrenched ruling elite taking control of natural resources, especially land, and destroying the independent farmers. Particularly the Indian Left parties are more unabashedly modifying their policies to accommodate the demands of the Neoconservatives in Washington. In so doing, the Left is not deforming itself; rather, it is now showing its true colour.
1. CPM’s alliance with neoconservatives
Three decades ago, having failed to engineer workers’ and peasants’ revolution, the Stalinist CPM re-packaged itself as pro-poor and became the ruling party in West Bengal, the first Communist state within India’s federal polity. Since then it has ruled continuously, not because it is popular but through a dependent class of 20-25% people. Through dispensations like petty contracts, allotment of shops and subsidized homes, appointment in government services, control over village councils through which billions of development funds are expended, and other petty privileges, it retains a loyal cadre. It has installed a highly politicized, pliable, and complicit intelligentsia in the universities. Any opposition to its misdeeds has been crushed by brute force.
The party of the poor is now systematically decimating the poor. It perfected the techniques in Marichjhapi (February, 1979 massacring an entire village to cover up its mischief in resettling East Bengal refugees whom it had used politically to come to power. “…the sight of the hopeless refugees living without food and water amid their own excreta on muddy islands attracted global attention. The Central government, which was then headed by Morarji Desai, offered the “friendly” regime in Calcutta a face-saver. The Centre (meaning Central Government in New Delhi) offered to transport the poor intruders back to Madhya Pradesh. But the Marxists were fearful of the political fallout. They owed their rise to power to the refugees, had promised them the moon, and even prevented them from taking up residence in alternative locations offered by the Centre on the Andaman Islands when it was still sparsely populated. Now, in 1979, it was case of a vote-bank paying diminishing returns. So, the Marxist government in emulation of the man closest to its heart, Joseph Stalin, ordered a massacre… Marichjhapi still figures in academic discourse as an example of CPM’s deceit.”
(Udayan Namboodiri; ‘Shame at Singur’; 17 December 2007; Organiser, page 7; http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=161&page=7) Even today no one knows how many were shot to death but some say it was over 3,000. (Prior to 1947 there was an East Bengal and West Bengal; after 1947 East Bengal became East Pakistan and in 1971 became Bangladesh. Many Hindus of East Bengal became refugees and settled wherever they could find vacant land. It is the refugees of 1947, who were massacred at Marichjhanpi by CPM.
It is the same party that condemned Salvador Allende’s murder (suicide?) in 1973 in unequivocal terms and consistently maintained its opposition to Gen Pinochet’s coup and subsequent brutalization of Chilean people. It opposed the ‘imperialism’ led by the USA everywhere from its Indian base (rats always operate from their hole), although it could never produce a Che Guevara in its long history.
It is the same party that consistently maintained that the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), that ruled India for just under five years to 2004, is a Fascist and anti-minority communal party. However, events of Nandigram clearly show that CPM cadre attacked Muslim (minority) peasants and Dalits. All political parties, particularly the Communists, in India have used these two groups to come to power but excluded their concerns and aspirations consistently since 1947. When Muslim leaders in Andhra Pradesh raised questions in the state assembly about CPM’s oppression of Muslims in Nandigram, the CPM floor leader said that they “have no right to criticize Marxists and Communists.” (Statesman News Service; Hyderabad; November 19, 2007) Folks, if the right to criticize is denied, that usually happens in a Fascist state! And we are almost there.
It is the same party that opposed the ruling Congress Party in India right from 1947 and even sided with China, in a grand treasonous act, when she attacked India in 1962. As alliance partner in the present United Progressive Alliance its ostensible posture is anti-Congress. It was its ostensible anti-imperialist, anti-bourgeoisie ideological position that appeared to almost scuttle the Indo-US nuclear deal. That’s how it looked, but as John McCarthy says. “their argument is with politics, not action.”
And it is the same party that shot and brutalized unarmed men and women and tore young children apart. Can you even imagine what tearing children apart looks like? It is the same party that allowed its workers to rape women and hack them to death. Just watch the video ‘For the sake of development’ for five minutes because I doubt anyone can take it longer: http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=na+hannate&sitesearch=video.google.com And it is the same party that wanted marginal Muslim and Dalit farmers to leave their land for Salim Group’s chemical hub where Dow Chemicals, another criminal corporation in the news early this year for selling un-approved pesticides in India and tainted with Bhopal liability, would also set up its chemical plants. report on Dow Chemical’s criminals acts earlier this year here: http://civillibertarian.blogspot.com/2007/02/bhopal-criminals-at-it-again-this-time.html
The short-changed Bhopal survivors condemned the CPM led West Bengal Government for inviting Dow Chemicals, (See here: ‘West Bengal Government complicity with Dow in Nandigram’, Bhopal survivors condemn government of West Bengal for colluding with Dow Chemical, June 05, 2007 http://www.bhopal.net/blog_act/archives/2007/06/bhopal_survivor_2.html
This time these corporations are looting land while the party of the poor facilitates the loot and watches the loot from the grandstand.
And it is the same party that welcomed Dr. Henry Kissinger, the butcher of Vietnam and at least 60 other nations, in Kolkata.
2. Kissinger in Kolkata?
Kissinger was not in Kolkata to express his condolence for the Nandigram raped, nor to tell the Chief Minister of West Bengal to ensure peace, democracy, justice and equity. That is not the way the US Government works or has ever worked. Kissinger, the neocon global salesman of death, was here to sell nuclear reactors. Each nuclear reactor costs US$3-5 billion (120 to 200 billion rupees). (http://www.neis.org/literature/Brochures/npfacts.htm)
He wanted West Bengal’s Communist Chief Minister to use his influence with national Politburo members, chiefly Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechuri, the Tweedledee and Tweedledum of the CPM to not oppose the deal, which would bring a windfall US$27-45 billion dollars worth of business to Kissinger’s friends in the US like General Electric and others and open up India to nuclear holocaust. ‘He said that the 123 deal would benefit both the countries,’ which is a lie. It should be noted that due to powerful grassroots anti-nuclear movement in the US, the industry had been languishing for 30 years until energy short India became an opportunity. “Nuclear reactors kill slowly” as Frieda Berryhill says, a leading anti-nuke activist in the US. Knowing the fact that low level radiation emanating from the reactors has turned sparsely populated America into a diseased nation, CPM never opposed the deal on health and environmental grounds. The latest report from Austria ‘Nuclear Power, Climate Policy and Sustainability’, 2007, clearly warns of the dangers of nuclear reactors. See here http://www.nirs.org/climate/background/austriangovtreport607.pdf.
The despicable Indo-US nuclear deal is through, after CPM gave its nod; the salesman of death rules okay, and the wheeler dealers of death rule okay too and that includes the CPM in India (http://in.news.yahoo.com/071116/43/6ncfd.html)
Secondly, Kissinger wanted to impress upon the Marxists to use their clout in Delhi not to have any energy deals with Iran because ‘Iran is facing international (US sponsored and illegal) sanction.’ He advised the Marxist Chief Minister to oppose Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project because Iran is a rogue state. Indians should note that a number of countries possess nuclear weapons outside the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, including Pakistan, North Korea, India, and Israel; yet the US Government has not taken military action. Iran is forging ahead with its nuclear policy within the constraints imposed by IAEA, which again exposes Kissinger’s lie. Iran is not a rogue state and India needs Iran’s energy resources, not American nuclear reactor, as Arjun Makhijani of IEER has forewarned. (For high quality information on dangers of nuclear power, see Institute for Energy and Environmental Research at http://www.ieer.org)
He said that in Kolkata in order to spare great embarrassment to the Marxist-Neoconservatives in Delhi who back-seat drive the Prime Minister of India. Energy short South Asia is heading towards a major economic crisis. Kissinger nudged CPM to ensure total compliance of India’s Left-leaning [hellish] elite to lean more towards Neoconservative energy agenda.
Thirdly, Kissinger supported America’s stand on Iraq that a solution would be found soon, that India’s 9% growth is sustainable, and the two countries have common interests. This is the lousiest of all lies. More than 1.2 million Iraqis have been killed (http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/iraq/iraqdeaths.html) and over 5 million are refugees. Children as young as six are being used as sex-slaves by the Americans in Iraq. In Afghanistan, a South Asian country, over 40,000 are dead, hundreds of thousand homeless. Worse, the depleted uranium weapons, used in these two Asian countries will continue to kill innocent civilians for thousands of years. ‘This relatively new monster, DU, has been around since 1943 and classified as a weapon of mass destruction when used as an area deniability weapon, as in contaminating an area to disallow human penetration, for ever,’ says John McCarthy, a weapons expert and a Viet-Vet. (Go to this page: http://johnmccarthy90066.tripod.com/id245.html to see what war crimes this US Government has committed). And John McCarthy is also on record saying that this sort of genocide has ‘Kissinger’s hand all over it.’ So, if Kissinger says that India’s 9% growth is sustainable, that sustainability is contingent upon utter subservience of the ruling coalition in Delhi to a global genocidal agenda. Despite two Asian countries rendered uninhabitable forever, the CPM laid red carpet for Kissinger.
Excerpt from its mouthpiece shows that the CPM knows about depleted uranium: “That Tony Blair, whose government sells lethal weapons to Israel, has sprayed Iraq and Yugoslavia with cluster bombs and depleted uranium and was the greatest arms supplier to the genocidists in Indonesia, can be taken seriously when he now speaks about the “shame” of the ‘new evil of mass terrorism’ says much about the censorship of our collective sense of how the world is managed.” (People’s Democracy; Volume XXV; No 38; September 23, 2001; quoting John Pilger. (http://pd.cpim.org/2001/sept23/2001_sept23_usattack_pilger.htm) That was in 2001, note the date. For six years these criminals in CPM have kept the brutal facts under wraps never bringing it up in policy discussions. So has the Leftist mainstream media in India.
US and NATO forces used depleted uranium /weapons in Afghanistan that contaminated the entire Northwestern India. The mutagenic, tumorigenic and neurotoxic effects of depleted uranium is becoming clear as is evidenced from a number of excellent studies conducted by experts (See, Brice Smith & Arjun Makhijani; “Emerging Pictures of Uranium’s Health Risks; Science for Democratic Action; Vol 13, No 2; June 2005). Dr Chris Busby found it over the British atmosphere as well. The global is ‘radiated’! Right now, as many scientists are saying, we are breathing aerosolized depleted uranium and none of us will complete our natural life. Neither will the CPM leaders. What sort of abominable minds they have belies our imagination, for they haven’t even raised their voice against these war crimes! The whole world is being Nandigrammed in a variety of ways.
And, finally, “The US had never thought India would lean towards that country,” said Kissinger, quoted in one newspaper report. Or is it something more sinister? (Lest we forget, it was Kissinger’s great ‘tilt’ towards Pakistan’s drunkard General Yahya Khan that resulted in the genocide of 1.5 million Bengalis, 10 million refugees from East Pakistan into India and a major war with Pakistan (1971), eventually leading to the formation of Bangladesh.) If India has ever leaned so unabashedly towards the US, it started with Manmohan Singh’s tenure as Finance Minister (1991), evolved through the two hotchpotch coalitions 1996 through to 1999, and further evolved under the ‘Hindu-Nationalist’ (as the Neoconservative sidekick BBC wants the world to believe) BJP. During events of 911, the Hindu-Nationalists were crawling on their knees to be recognized as most ‘dependable anti-Muslim terrorist ally’ but unfortunately lost to Parvez Musharraf. When the US and NATO forces invaded Afghanistan to grow opium poppy, and lilies over forty thousand dead civilians, and later Iraq to steal its oil, all parties kept mum. There has been a quiet tilt for over 17 years and Kissinger as usual is lying. Under normal circumstance, the Nandigram civil war would have forced the Central Government of Manmohan Singh to dismiss the state government of CPM and force an election within six months in accordance with the Constitutional provisions. Kissinger’s deal was that CPM drops its opposition to 123 and the Central government allows the barbarians to continue and retain their hold over West Bengal and that nefarious deed is done. The filthy hands of this supine coalition called United Progressive Alliance stands exposed.
So, Kissinger’s co-opted rulers are safely ensconced, not only in Delhi, but also in Kolkata, Islamabad and Dacca.
We believe that Kissinger’s visit was to ‘secure’ India’s diplomatic and military cooperation as a junior partner in Washington’s quest to expropriate oil and gas and redraw West Asian map. The map, copyright Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters 2006), is cited in Prof Michel Chussodovsky’s article here: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=4347.
Kissinger’s Kolkata meeting with CPM, alliance partners of the ruling UPA, was to ensure that US-NATO plan in West Asia, exposed by Chossodovsky, goes ahead unhindered. The neoconservative brotherhood expresses itself in various ways.
3. Special Economic Zones (SEZ) (a euphemism for land loot) (For Government data and policy statements see http://sezindia.nic.in/)
SEZ are 21st century’s mighty kingdoms. The concept was borrowed from China that has six mega SEZ. The previous BJP rulers thought of setting up ‘many.’ The present Commerce Minister, Kamal Nath, increased that to 500; India will set up 500 SEZs on Nandigrammed farmers.
Except for issuing their own currency notes, SEZs are Indian territories in private hands. By May 2007, 234 were approved and 162 SEZs approved in-principle. These are all-tax-exempt zones: exemptions from excise duty, custom duty, sales tax, octroi, turnover tax, as well as income tax for ten years are some of the inducements. The fiscal sops extended to SEZs would cause a revenue loss of Rs. 1000 billion (US$25 billion) by 2009-10, which the Government itself has accepted. In water and electricity short India, the UPA government has assured round-the-clock electricity and water supply. The SEZ promoters have also been given a waiver from carrying out Environment Impact Assessment which is required in any infrastructure project. Promoters of SEZ can have their own security laws; Indian Police will not enter. For instance, Halliburton can acquire a SEZ, handover security to Blackwater, and invite armament manufacturers to reprocess depleted uranium into weapons of mass destruction; no questions asked.
SEZ owners are authorized not to permit any inspection of their premises by any official of the government and for conducting search and seizure operations without prior permission of the owners.
No restriction of capital flows
100 per cent foreign direct investment is permitted in these post modern fiefdoms. “They are permitted external commercial borrowings up to US $ 500 million without any maturity restrictions. They are free to bring in export proceeds without any time limit and make foreign investments from it and are exempted from interest on import finance. They are allowed to set up off-shore banking units with income tax exemption for three years and subsequently 50 per cent tax for another two years. And if they were to sub-contract production to local manufacturers, there would be duty drawbacks, exemption from state levies and income tax benefits. In the scheme of SEZ the livelihoods of small farmers and environmental concerns have been brushed aside.
Anti poor Left Parties
The Left parties, headed by the notorious CPM, enamored with the Neoconservative ideology, are not lagging behind in the race. The CPM in West Bengal has gifted over 900 acres of prime farmland in Singur to India’s Tata group for their NANO car project: two farmers opposing the acquisition of their land were beheaded and heads were kept as trophies by CPM hoodlums. Shamelessly, it has approved seven SEZ and given in-principle approval to fourteen more. The Left front ruled Kerala has approved ten SEZ and in-principle approved two more. SEZs kingdoms are slated to come up all over densely populated India.
The Great Land Loot
The official website says that for setting up of 396 SEZs 1750 sq km land would be required — all would not be on farmlands. Farmland would constitute only 1393.53 sq km. Krishan Bir’s estimate, however, points out that the loss of farmlands would be much more as has happened in the past. For example, the Russian backed Heavy Engineering Corporation project in 1960 required only 800 acres; instead 8,000 were acquired, and many farmers have not been compensated to this day. The government claims that with an estimated US$13.39 billion investment in 100 notified SEZ, 1.57 million additional jobs would be created; this is a complete hoax. Existing SEZs have not created the projected jobs with investments already made. Some of the best farmlands are gone and farmers have been forcibly uprooted. Once a SEZ, always a SEZ; there is no provision for returning the land to farmers, even if the industrial economy is devastated and modern mechanized manufacturing firms fold up.
Killing thousands to accommodate Salim Group
The Salim Group’s founder was manufacturing noodles in his backyard when accidentally he came across the young Suharto, the butcher of Indonesian communists. As Suharto grew in power, so did Salim group. Today, Suharto’s sons are stock holders in Salim Group and control many companies.
When Suharto was overthrown, Salim Group was in a financial mess. Tony Salim relocated to Singapore and used his considerable clout to restructure and expand. The patriarch had changed his name to a Muslim sounding one to appease the Muslims of Indonesia. They are Chinese and have also made huge investments in real estate in China. Majority of real money spinning firms of Salim group are closely held, not quoted on any stock exchange, leading some to remark that it actually fronts for Suharto ill-gotten gains.
And this fiefdom is expanding its hydra-headed tentacles in West Bengal, India, under the rule of ‘Peasants and Workers party,’ unraveling of CPM’s Chinese connections.
Since the CPM has signed a deal with the murderers of Indonesian communists, CPM has lost its credibility and it is now clear that it is complicit in Neoconservative agenda of looting whatever natural resources, especially land, remain in India.
4. Comments of a Nobel laureate
Dr Amartya Sen, was interviewed by Sambit Saha of The Telegraph on land acquisition for industrialization, the most important issue facing Bengal and India. Here are a few excerpts:
“Where there is a mistake in the government’s thinking, and I think it is a big mistake of a tactical kind, is not to recognize that if this land were available for industry in general, and not just for the Tatas (one of India’s largest conglomerates who were given lands at Singur), the value of the land would have been much greater. While the compensation paid is greater than the value of the land seen as agricultural land, the compensation paid by the government is less than what the value would have been had it been free for competition with industries. If you are part of the market economy, then you have to take into account what the value of the land would have been had it been freely available for industry. So there is an issue to be addressed. I think it is a mistake, an honest mistake and it can be corrected in the future…… “Nandigram is a much more complex issue. There is a question whether that kind of operation was needed, whether it was the right place. But I have not studied it in the way I have studied Singur. So I won’t comment,” said Dr Amartya Sen
(Full interview: http://www.telegraphindia.com/1070723/asp/nation/story_8094453.asp)
Dr Sen should know the essence of land as a factor input. Since the amount of land available is fixed, it confers a monopoly on land owners and that monopoly in case of poor peasants must not be expropriated to favor big business, especially by invoking antiquated Land Acquisition Act of 1894, an act that was created and misused by the British particularly in the central Indian tribal region. Land to Indian peasants constitutes an inherited capital along with inherited wisdom of over six millennia that can’t be valued in cash terms. In fact this asset is immeasurable in terms of its intrinsic survival value given the present contingencies as elaborated by Heinrich, discussed below.
Dr Sen’s interview was published on 23 July, 2007, over four months after the Nandigram massacre. There are two basic issues that Dr Sen is inexplicably silent on. (a) Is the sort of industrialization policy being pursued by the ruling elite sustainable, given the impending energy crisis and threats posed by climate change? And (b) Should the farmers at all be forcibly removed from fertile farmlands when plenty of wastelands are available all over India and when one of the direct consequences of energy crisis would be food scarcity? Instead of strengthening India’s food production system, the present Governments, at Centre and States, are implementing the Neoconservative agenda of industrialization of farming, corporatization of food production, Walmartization of distribution, and concentration of most fertile lands in the hands of large corporations.
If ‘development’ means “Americanization of India, Corporatization of its agriculture, and Walmartization of its distribution, then this developmental model is a prescription for mass culling, famine on a scale unknown, starvation, civil unrest, perhaps food wars and water wars amidst rural poor thronging the cities as beggars for food and none to produce that food because best lands would be gone to SEZ. It is inconceivable that CPM top brass does not know about these issues Governments are extremely well briefed by top experts.
5. Chavez’s visit to India
President Hugo Chavez visited India March 2005 and was feted everywhere. During his visit the CPM courted him; the pro Neoconservative, peddling the dope of being pro-poor, had to court the genuinely pro-poor Chavez. Excerpts from Chavez interview here:
“… Mr. Chavez made it clear that he would like to have an energy relationship with India, and that Indian companies would be welcome to help exploit the oil resources of Venezuela. Indeed, the scope for cooperation is enormous despite the distances. Apart from New Delhi benefiting by extracting Venezuelan oil for use in India or sale through swap agreements (which would reduce the dollar hegemony), Caracas gets to further diversify its markets and reduce the monopolistic power of the U.S. Indian companies like IRCON are also well placed to assist Venezuela in the construction of railway lines and roads, not to speak of low-cost housing, which is a priority area for Mr. Chavez. His visit last week has done a lot to exorcise the ghosts of previous agreements that fell through at the last moment. The crucial factor in all this is the determination to follow through.”
(Full report here: http://www.hindu.com/2005/03/11/stories/2005031101881000.htm)
While Mr. Hugo Chavez was outlining an alternative plan to the ‘New American Century,’ the rogues in CPM were planning to stab him in the back. This, despite the fact that one Indian company (ONGC) has significantly contributed to successful extraction of heavy oil in Venezuela (Sam Hopkins, ‘Indian Innovation in Heavy Oil,’ www.energyinstitution.org; October 24th, 2007). It remains to be seen how the CPM does the balancing act of working simultaneously to deprive India of energy resources from Iran under Kissinger’s pressure and of Venezuela, a country also in the crosshair of the criminals in DC. If Indian farmers are denied access to cheap energy till such time that the farmers have transited to low-energy food production and distribution, agriculture productivity will fall steeply causing mass starvation in both rural and urban areas.
All evidences suggest that this is the intention of CPM in India, leaders. Effectively, CPMWashington’s agenda of ensuring an energy-enslaved India, the ability to grow foodAnd because this party believes in industrialization-through-destruction-of-peasantry, it does not even have a strategy to help Indian farmers move towards low energy agriculture. While the Bolivarian circles are achieving in less than six years what the CPM could not achieve in sixty, it is driving small farmers out of the most fertile lands.
6. The massacre at Nandigram:
The people of Nandigram were massacred on 14th March. Survivors continued to oppose, till the Government of West Bengal (GoWB) withdrew Salim’s project. But the attack by CPM cadre on unarmed people continued. From 29th October to 8th November 2007, there were nine major events of violence. The civil war is going on unabated. Media persons have been beaten up. Delegation of civil society, including artists, writers, and intellectuals were prevented from visiting Nandigram. Here’s the brief time line:
March 31, 2006 A basic understanding between GoWB and Salim Group was arrived at wherein the Salim Group would set up a SEZ (a Chemical hub)
October 6, 2006 On the recommendation of GoWB, the empowered committee of the Government of India approved Salim Group’s SEZ
January 3, 2007 Facing farmers’ opposition to acquisition of lands for SEZ, the Police indiscriminately fired at unarmed farmers.
January 4, 2007 GoWB sought modifications in SEZ rules from Government of India
January 6, 2007 Formation of Bhumi Ucched Pratirodh Samittee, or BUPS, (People’s Committee to oppose acquisition of lands).
January 9, 2007 Mamta Bannerjee, opposition leader, demands President’s rule in West Bengal.
Violence of ruling party cadre continued through these months; Krishi Bhumi Raksha Samittee (KBRS) (Save Farmlands Committee) formed.
March 14, 2007 Police and CPM cadre fire indiscriminately at unarmed women,
children and men. Nandigram Massacre begins. Women are beaten up, raped and hacked to death; children torn apart.
No one knows the true figure of dead and ‘missing’.
No one knows how many women & children were brutalized.
March 15, 2007 The West Bengal High Court orders inquiry into the events by the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) (Our version of the FBI).
April 29, 2007 BUPC and KBRS confront CPM, more violence
May 24, 2007 All Party meet to resolve the Nandigram issue fails.
July 30, 2007 BUPC calls for State-wide Bundh; successful.
October 29, 2007 CPM cadre entered Takapura, Kamalpur and Ranichowk and at least 16 homes torched.
October 30, 2007 CPM hoodlums fired on a peaceful rally of thousands of farmers who were on their way from Nandigram to Tekhali. There was bombing and firing from Khejuri, a CPM stronghold. Armed miscreants, allegedly hired by the CPM, attacked Ranichowk village and set fire to two homes of BUPC supporters and looted a few. There was one death and 10 injured. Media persons and opposition leaders…were not spared either. Three journalists were beaten up.
October 31, 2007 CPM cadre bombed Bhangabera to terrorize the villagers.
November 02, 2007 CPI(M) cadre from Khejuri started firing while policemen deployed in the area turned a blind eye. All entry points into Nandigram have been sealed off by the cadres and there were attempts to take control over villages in Nadigram.
November 03, 2007 Further intensification of terror as armed CPM cadre reduced Satengabari to a virtual graveyard and the firing continued unabated. More than 200 thatched houses were burned to ashes after they were looted and ransacked, rendering approximately 1,000 people homeless. Women molested.
November 4, 2007 CPM Politburo member Brinda Karat, wife of Prakash Karat, the CPM supremo in Delhi, prescribed “Dum Dum Dawai” (harsh medicine, like severe beating – a slogan of the sixties advocating public thrashing of the corrupt) as a solution. She blamed the opposition politicians for the continuing trouble in Nandigram in the presence of Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, the same man who would entertain Dr Henry Kissinger. Instead of fading out gracefully, Brinda in her middle age is advocating violence.
November 6, 2007 In a repeat performance of 14th March, a savage attack was mounted by CPM cadre. Nine villages were torched. At least 15,000 people were hounded out of their homes The state home secretary Mr. Prasad Ranjan Roy admitted that firing started from Khejuri, indicating that CPI-M cadres unleashed the violence.
November 7, 2007 Yet another attack on villagers, over 3000 rendered homeless.
November 8, 2007 Prominent citizens attempting to enter Nandigram were attacked, women members (particularly Anuradha Talwar and Medha Patkar) were slapped, insulted and beaten up, cars wrecked and drivers assaulted.
7. The parallel with China
“At the Center the sky is blue,
In the provinces clouds are gathering,
In the counties there is flooding,
In the townships people are drowning
And are running for their lives”
(Quoted in Thomas P Bernstein’s ‘Unrest in Rural China: A 2003 Assessment.’ This is also called ‘the peasant’s cries’ (Nongmin de huhan) as explained by Yang Hao, 1999)
There have been over 248,000 peasants’ unrest in China in eleven years ending 2003. (Albert Keidel, ‘The Economic Basis for Social Unrest in China,’ The George Washington University, 2005; page 1) Among other issues, social unrest has been caused by land acquisition for industry and ‘modernization.’ People have been arrested, beaten up, perhaps tortured, because lower level officials and the security forces are as bad as in India. ‘The peasant’s cries’ sums up the normal brutality of lower level officials and cadres but the Chinese peasants believed that by petitioning higher authorities they would get some solace. Not there. Not here in India either.
India doesn’t have 248,000 peasants’ movements but getting uncomfortably close. Despite the Governor of West Bengal and the Home Secretary (in-charge of internal security) saying that the situation is bad (meaning very bad because Home Secretaries always understate the facts), the centre took its own time sending special protection force (Central Reserve Protection Force or CRPF). They have finally managed to enter Nandigram and recovered arms and explosives from the homes of CPM supporters.
8. The role of the media and the intelligentsia in this episode
Surprisingly, even the Leftist intellectuals have eventually decided to raise their voice against this genocide. The Internet is buzzing in the middle-class intellectual homes to oppose the “massacre at Nandigram.” Some have shown spine, most are spineless. Those who have shown spine are also much guarded in what they say and much of what they say appears that what CPM has done is a bit of aberration that can be ‘corrected’ by their pressure group, that its ‘expansionary drive’ can be curbed and reformed. Famous Leftist icons come out in support of the farmers but as one Nandigram activist, who blogs from Kolkata, said ‘they are there when the TV cameras are there’ (Palash Biswas in conversation with the authors). Over fifty ‘leading Leftists’ signed a ‘protest note’ opposing the acts of the CPM in Nandigram but instead of exposing the true Machiavellian machinations of the CPM, they merely denounced their acts in Nandigram. One ‘intellectual’ went so far as to say that events of Nandigram have been engineered by ‘communalist forces’. Do we need colonialists when we have home grown criminals to loot our natural resources?
The parties of the peasants and workers have history of exterminating the peasants. A researcher, R.J Rummel (We question many of his assumptions because he almost condones the American Democides, but he is right about Soviet Russia and China during their collectivization phase), has calculated that the Soviets under Stalin killed about millions of domestic citizens and China under the Communists killed about 35 million, majority peasants, some dissidents, two most lethal regimes of the 20th Century. (Details are here: http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/NOTE1.HTM) We do credit Rummel with having coined the phrase ‘Democide’ or death by governments. CPM ruled West Bengal has killed people in Nandigram and that is “Democide.”
The Communist parties are experts at turning the educated middle-classes into supine, spineless core support base. The so-called Leftist intellectuals in India’s top universities owe their positions not because they are serious thinkers but because they support the Left parties. The Communist Party of India, allied with Soviet Russians supported Indira Gandhi’s emergency (total dictatorship) in June 1975, just as the CPM is now allied with the UPA, inching towards total dictatorship.
Essentially totalitarian in nature, the Communists have found the small farmers difficult to control. The small farmer invariably is forced to take a stand against them because he/she can grow food and has land to grow food, no matter how small. In India’s case, the small farmers brought CPM to power in West Bengal but in the grand old Communist tradition of governance they are up against a Frankenstein monster.
As one wit told the author recently: politically correct disposition ensures material wealth and recognition! The politically correct disposition in India Today is to be Leftist, when Leftists are treasonous sycophants of Anglo-American Neoconservatives. If they fail, Washington will need a different strategy to pummel South Asia, a far worse hubris. The question is this: should India succumb to the terrorists? Or should the people of India, including conscientious socialists, resolve to demolish this UPA monster backed by CPM and other self serving Leftists and make an example of this democidal group?
10. CPM’s hubris
CPM, a party that ruled by manipulating ballots now rules by bullets. It is now openly stealing lands from poor peasants as part of the global Neoconservative strategy of destroying the independent farmers. It is determined to make an example of the people of Nandigram as part of the tribute to its traditional masters.
In trying to set an example for the rest of the country, the ruling coalition in Delhi is also banking on successful crushing of Nandigram revolt. In this hubris lies the success of the ‘sustainable 9% growth rate’ fondly blessed by mass murderer Kissinger, and eagerly sought by a small clique of former World Bank and IMF economists shaping the policies of India and South Asia. Framers’ suicides, taking place on a daily basis in India, is the real cost of Washington based Neoconservative’s agenda in which our present government is complicit.
Nandigram is a Democide; it is the beginning of a wholesale culling of farmers in India; the CPM must stand trial for Democide. All Politburo members of India’s CPM must stand trial for Democide.