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Nandi glare on govt

Calcutta, March 13: Some pro-Trinamul intellectuals and rights activists today criticised the Mamata Banerjee government for “failing” to book those responsible for the 2007 Nandigram police firing, a day before the sixth anniversary of the atrocity.

They also accused the government of not taking care of the “victims of year-long atrocities by the CPM and the joint forces” before and after the firing that killed 14 people.

“Ritualistic remembrance of the day and the victims would not suffice as the assurances made to those affected and the civil society are yet to be implemented,” said veteran theatre personality Bibhas Chakraborty.

The deaths of the 14 people stoked a cycle of violence in Nandigram and political turmoil in the state that led to the ouster of the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government in 2011.

Chakroborty was addressing a news conference organised by Friends of Democracy (FOD), a forum of pro-change activists. “Many police officers, bureaucrats and intellectuals who had opposed the Nandigram movement have changed their stance now,” Chakroborty said.

Asokendu Sengupta, the convener of the FOD and one of the government-appointed interlocutors in the failed peace initiative with Maoists in Jungle Mahal, listed the outfit’s “grievances”.

He said the government’s efforts to punish those who were responsible for the firing did not yield results.

According to Sengupta, many of those who had suffered bullet injuries in the police firing and the alleged CPM atrocities in Nandigram did not receive medical attention and compensation “despite the government’s assurances”. Many women who had been allegedly raped and assaulted made similar complaints.

Chhoton Das and Prasun Bhowmik, former members of the government’s team of interlocutors, demanded “investigation into the plan at the higher political level that led to the carnage”, an apparent allusion to Bhattacharjee, who was also the home minister at the time of the firing.

The Trinamul government recently tried to prod the CBI to interrogate the former chief minister but without success. Bhattacharjee has time and again denied ordering the firing but admitted that he made a “mistake” by sending the police to Nandigram during the land agitation.

Das and Bhowmik said the Trinamul government had neither moved to “punish the top cops involved” in the police firing nor revoked “politically motivated false cases” in Nandigram as it had promised.

While both the FOD leaders pointed at “bureaucratic hurdles”, Das urged the government to overcome them with “political will”.