11/12/2007, 00.00
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West Bengal, general strike in the wake of massacre ordered by communists

by Nirmala Carvalho
Members of the Communist Party yesterday attacked the storage centres of local small farmers, to convince them through violence to give in to their lands being requisitioned. The opposition declares the shit down of the entire State.

Kolkata (AsiaNews) – The great strike of  West Bengal began today, organised by the opposition in response to the massacre which took place yesterday in rural Nandigram carried out by the local Communist Party. According to sources in Trinamul – companies which oppose the communist government – the strike will last until tomorrow night.

It is still unclear what exactly took place yesterday in Nandigram, even if some eye-witnesses tell AsiaNews: “Communist Party members carried out raids on the crop storage centres.  They beat men and raped women, while the police remained completely indifferent”.

Tension in the area is high. The government had legislated for the expropriation of lands in  Nandigram to create a “special economic zone”, to attract investment through cheap land and low taxes.  But the programme was cancelled after months of popular protest and clashes with the police who on March 14th shot at the crowd killing 14 people.

Despite this clashes have continued between Communist government supporters and Trinamul, who have the backing of local farmers.  According to some yesterdays attack was programmed to “convince farmers once and for all that their lands must be taken”.

Lenin Raghuvansi, a well known human rights activist, commented to AsiaNews: “Nandigram is symbolic of the hypocritical democracy in India and also a shame on the international trumpeting that India is a growing global economic power”.

Communist leaders he explains, “want to control the state and remove democracy from W. Bengal.  There is also the grass root presence of the Maoists in Nandigram which compounds the problems from the poor people in this eastern state, and the Union government is doing nothing to stop this”.

Now concludes the activist, “The urgent concern is primarily to establish the ‘rule of law’ and democracy in Nandigram and also to do a serious rethink on the Special Economic Zone and development in general. This is the crisis in India today, not just in Nandigram : “How to reconcile Globalization with the real presence of Marginalization.  ”.


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