Central Committee Statement

On Nandigram and Related Issues

The Central Committee heard reports from the General Secretary and the West Bengal Chief Minister on the situation which developed in the Nandigram area after the incident on January 3, 2007 and the developments thereafter that led to the police action on March 14. The Central Committee adopted the following statement after discussing the issues:

1.The Central Committee it its meeting held from January 2 to 4, 2007 had discussed the Singur car project. It had endorsed the plan of the CPI(M) and the Left Front government to go ahead with the project. It had rejected the charge that land had been forcibly acquired for the project. The Left Front government had taken the steps necessary to ensure that fair compensation is provided for landowners and sharecroppers displaced by the project in Singur.

2.On January 3, an attack took place on the Kalicharanpur Gram panchayat office where a group of people who were misled into believing that a team of officials had come for land acquisition. Following this, in an organised manner, Nandigram Block I was cut off with all roads, culverts and bridges being dug up or destroyed. Widespread attacks on CPI(M) workers and elected panchayat members took place. This led to around 2500 people having to leave their homes in the area. A thousand of them, even today, are staying in relief camps in adjoining areas. What happened in Nandigram in the weeks following was an organised and reprehensible attack. On January 7, a CPI(M) panchayat member, Sankar Samanta was burnt alive; on February 7, a policeman Sadhucharan Chatterjee, was attacked and killed near Haldia; on February 10, Sunita Mondal, a class ten student was raped and murdered; on March 3 a women from a CPI(M) sympathiser’s family was gangraped.

3.All these attacks continued even after the Chief Minister had publicly declared on February 9 that no land will be acquired in Nandigram against the wishes of the people. Repeatedly, the Chief Minister stated that the proposed chemical hub would not be situated in Nandigram if the people did not want it. Despite this, the gang up of the Trinamul-Jamaat-SUCI-naxalites continued with their violent activities.

4.If the issue was land, then with the Chief Minister’s announcement, the agitation should have been called off. But what has developed in Nandigram is a political gang up of the Trinamul Congress with the most disruptive elements like the SUCI, Naxalites and Maoists.

5.The decision to send in the police after two and a half months of anarchy and lawless violence was motivated by the need for restoring the roads and communications in the area for bringing about peace restoring the administration. This was decided after repeated all party meetings called at the district level. In the confrontation, the police firing that took place and the loss of lives (not all due to police firing) is deeply regrettable. It is unfortunate that ordinary people have died in the violence. This should not be repeated again.

6.The Central Committee has noted that some mistakes have been committed in the handling of the affair as stated by the Chief Minister. The Central Committee has asked the West Bengal State Committee of the Party to examine the entire circumstances and the handling of the matters that led to the police action on March 14.

7.The CPI(M) had wanted a judicial enquiry into the events in Nandigram. However, the Kolkata High Court intervened and ordered a CBI enquiry. The matter is still pending before the High Court. After the enquiry, if any police excesses are established, action should be taken.

8.The Central Committee wishes to point out that the Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) has already stated in its February 17-18 meeting that as per the announcement by the Chief Minister, no new SEZs will be set up in the state till the all India SEZ Act and rules are changed for which the Left parties have already submitted their proposals. The CPI(M) has also demanded that the Land Acquisition Act of 1894 be revised and new provisions be made so that the rights of land holders and those dependent on land for their livelihood are protected and adequate compensation and rehabilitation measures put in place.

9.The Polit Bureau had also decided that all projects requiring large-scale land acquisition will be reviewed. Projects which do not entail large-scale land acquisition or have the people’s consent will be proceeded with.

10.The Central Committee is of the opinion that the implementation of land reforms and the development of agriculture, laid the foundations for industrialisation. The land use policy adopted by the West Bengal government should be the basis for conversion of land for non-agricultural purposes. The CPI(M) is committed to consolidating the success of the land reforms and will protect the interests of the peasantry while pursuing on the path of industrialisation.

11.The Central Committee noted that there is a concerted campaign by the right wing parties, the naxalites and certain NGOs against the CPI(M). Allegations and charges are being fabricated and purveyed about large number of deaths and sexual assaults on women in Nandigram. These are the heinous methods adopted by the anti-communist forces in Bengal time and again.

The Central Committee called upon all its Party units to launch an intensive campaign to counter this false propaganda. The Party will go to the people to explain the role of the CPI(M) and the Left Front government in implementing land reforms, protecting the rights of the peasants, in developing agriculture and the need for industrialisation.