Call for calm, 10 days later

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  • Published 24.03.07

New Delhi, March 24: More than a week after the Nandigram firing, a group of intellectuals sympathetic to the CPM today appealed for calm even as the party struggled to stem the waves of criticism over the massacre.

“Nobody belonging to the Left would ever justify repressive action against peasants or workers who are the basic classes of the Left,” said a statement released by economist Prabhat Patnaik.

The statement is, however, silent on why they took so long to wake up to the police action on the villagers.

“We appeal to all concerned not to let the wounds of Nandigram become festering sores,” it said while appreciating the steps the state took after the March 14 firing that killed more than a dozen.

“The Left Front government… has announced the removal of the police force from Nandigram, has reiterated… that no land will be acquired for industrial purposes without the consent of the peasants…, has put on hold all land acquisition, and has put a halt to the construction of SEZs (special economic zones) until the central legislation on SEZs itself… is suitably amended.”

Under these circumstances, the statement added, “all efforts must be made so that tension subsides and normalcy returns to the area”.

Among those who signed the statement are Amiya Kumar Bagchi (Institute of Development Studies, Calcutta), theatre activist M.K. Raina, Malini Bhattacharya (who was with Jadavpur University), Utsa Patnaik, Jayati Ghosh, Mohan Rao (all three are with JNU), Nasir Tyabji (Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi) and activist Teesta Setalvad.