The volcano ready to erupt

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By IMRAN AHMED SIDDIQUI
  • Published 30.05.07
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Nandigram, April 30: Forty-year-old CPM supporter Ganesh Nandi had left his home in Sonachura in January.

He is desperate to return to his village now — not only to be at home again but also to prepare his small plot of land for the monsoon crop, aman.

There are over 2,500 villagers like Ganesh, who could not return home despite the party’s attempts to push them back and politicians’ promises.

Yesterday’s flare-up was waiting to happen.

“There is also the taichun crop, which is almost ready for harvest. It is a now-or-never situation for all of us,” said Amol Das of Gokulnagar.

The more they stay away from home, the more they lose control over their land and property, feel the CPM supporters.

“If we do not strike back now, when will we? We’ll not be able to regain control over our land ever,” said Dinesh Bera of Garchakraberia.

The East Midnapore CPM leadership is also worried that the party might lose control over the Nandigram block I panchayat samiti in next year’s rural polls.

Around 5 pm today, a section of the CPM supporters who have taken shelter at the Bahargunj camp surrounded Gautam Matia, the vice-president of the party’s youth wing in East Midnapore. “Give us arms and we’ll take control of our village,” they chanted.

“The CPM is desperate to regain its turf. We know they will try to recapture their land and that’s why we have also prepared ourselves. If they try to advance again, we will teach them a harsher lesson,” said Sisir Adhikary, a Trinamul Congress leader.

The CPM district leaders admitted being under press- ure from the party’s rank and file. “It’s increasingly difficult for us to calm these people. They want immediate action. We are waiting for the government’s peace process to take off, but people who have been living in camps for months are on the brink of desperation,” said Ashok Guria, a CPM district secretariat member.

A village-level CPM leader said the cadres had been let down. “This resulted in the flare-up. How long can people live in inhuman conditions, far from home? The party has a responsibility towards them. So, some party leaders encouraged them to march to their villages.”

Both camps made it clear that the battle lines are drawn.

“We’ll not allow the CPM supporters to return to the interior villages,” said Abu Taher, a Trinamul leader.