The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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No mercy on even the unborn
- Nandigram mother forced to give birth at home

Nandigram/Midnapore, June 25: An unborn child bore the brunt of the Nandigram battle over land last night.

Kamalini Das was stopped from going to hospital to deliver her baby, allegedly by Bhoomi Uchchhed Pratirodh Committee activists, because her husband is a CPM supporter.

In labour since Saturday, the 28-year-old resident of a Nandigram village gave birth to a girl around 11pm yesterday at home with the help of some neighbours who turned midwives for a night.

Residents of Simulkundu village near Tekhali, about 160km from Calcutta, where Kamalini lives, said Pratirodh Committee activists would not let them take her to a hospital or to the health centre in Maheshpur, a kilometre away.

Her husband Biswajit, who fled home in February and has been staying at the CPM camp at Sherkhanchowk in Khejuri, had been repeatedly sending feelers to the Pratirodh Committee leaders in Simulkundu, urging them to take Kamalini to hospital, but in vain.

“Whenever I contacted the Pratirodh Committee members, they told me to come and take my wife to hospital. But I knew it was a trick. Had I gone, they would have either killed me or held me hostage and fined me thousands of rupees,” Biswajit said.

Yesterday morning, when Kamalini’s condition worsened, he contacted his mother-in-law, Basanti Das, in Tajpur, six kilometres away.

Basanti went to Kamalini’s home in the afternoon. She requested the Pratirodh Committee activists to let her take her daughter to hospital.

“But none of them came forward as my daughter has been boycotted by the Pratirodh Committee,” Basanti said.

At the Sherkhanchowk camp, Biswajit approached CPM leaders. Rabin Giri, the party’s local committee member, contacted Nandigram police station.

Officer-in-charge Champak Chowdhury then set out for Kamalini’s house with a team of policemen. “The roads were dug up, so we had to leave our jeep on the main road and walk for about half a kilometre,” the officer said.

By the time the police reached, Kamalini was in the process of giving birth.

“It was not possible to shift Kamalini out of her house then. I have instructed officers to take her to hospital a couple of days later,” Chowdhury said.

The Pratirodh Committee accused the CPM of spreading rumours about its activists. “We had, in fact, gone with a cycle van to Kamalini’s house to take her to hospital. But it was not necessary as she had given birth by then,” said Swadesh Das, a Pratirodh Committee leader in Simulkundu.

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