INDIA: Statement from Concerned Citizens on the Shameful Events in Nandigram in the last few days

Dear friends,

We wish to share with you the following statement from Article 21-Now, a human rights group based in India regarding the recent attack in Nandigram. The statement issued by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) titled INDIA: The state government of West Bengal is promoting organised crime can be read at AS-265-2007. The AHRC has also issued an Update on Urgent Appeal which could be read at UP-152-2007.

Asian Human Rights Commission
Hong Kong

A Statement from Article 21 – Now forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission

INDIA: Statement from Concerned Citizens on the Shameful Events in Nandigram in the last few days

We the undersigned have been dismayed and revolted by the events of the past few days in and around Nandigram in West Bengal’s East Medinapur district. The manner in which the anti-socials of the dominant party in the ruling front attacked the residents to reestablish the domination over the area exposes the party’s lack of commitment to democratic values, principles and norms. The actions of these people under the benign indulgence of the state administration can only strengthen the criminalised and anti-democratic forces in our polity. For four days since the operation began the media and journalists have not been allowed to enter Nandigram, indicating that there is much to hide.

We condemn the assault by the anti-socials carrying the Red flag and functioning under the protection and encouragement of the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM) on the group of reputed social activists, writers, intellectuals and artists led by Ms. Medha Patkar who were on a visit to Nandigram to find out firsthand what was going on and express their solidarity with the hapless residents evicted from their hearths and homes. Not only were they prevented from entering Nandigram, they were subjected to physical violence and intimidation. The events in Nandigram are inconsistent with the norms of democratic functioning, claims of creating an alternative political culture and the traditions of Bengali culture.

We see in this the application of the so-called “Dum Dum dawai” that a senior CPM Polit-Bureau member approvingly advocated the other day. This is unfortunate since this slogan was coined as a part of the democratic resistance during the memorable food movement in the state in 1966, whereas it is now sought to be applied against the people themselves. All this is reflective of not just intolerance but a strong anti-democratic tendency in the dominant component of West Bengal’s ruling party today. What is happening in West Bengal today is indeed unprecedented in contemporary India and has doubtless besmirched the state’s rich history of democratic struggles so that even the Governor of West Bengal who has shown tremendous restraint has been pained to issue a statement against the unfolding events in the state.

We are dismayed at the attitude of the CPM’s state and central leadership which not only did not rein in its cadres but did not deem it necessary or worthwhile to tender unqualified apology to the group led by Ms. Medha Patkar for the undemocratic actions of their cadres. This suggests that they are condoning such activity.

If such activities continue even for a day more it would be tantamount to the state government abdicating its constitutional responsibility and a breakdown of the constitutional functioning in the state.

We demand that the CPM leadership, both at the centre and in the state immediately put a stop to the undemocratic actions let loose by their cadres.

We also demand that they convey their sincere apology to the people of Nandigram and to the group of citizens led by Ms. Medha Patkar that were trying to visit the area.

We demand a solemn assurance that such things will not recur in the days ahead.

We demand that the state government facilitate the visit of a fact finding team consisting of concerned citizens to visit the area.

We appeal to all democratic forces, representing various shades of opinion, to stand up and defend the very edifice of our democracy which is in peril by taking whatever action they can wherever they are (say, by sending copies of this statement (or one based on this) to the Chief Minister and the Governor and by holding demonstrations and protests.

November 16, 2007



1. Sumit Chakravarty, Journalist
2. Surendra Mohan, Political Leader
3. Meher Engineer, Social Activist
4. Prashant Bhushan, Lawyer
5. Arvind Kejriwal, Social Activist
6. Amit Bhaduri, JNU
7. Sumit Sarkar, Retd. Delhi University
8. Manoranjan Mohanty, Delhi University
9. Ramaswamy R. Iyer, Retd. Civil Servant
10. Madhu Bhaduri, Retd Ambassador
11. Achin Vanaik, Delhi University
12. Praful Bidwai, Journalist
13. Arundhati Dhuru, Social Activist
14. Sandeep Pandey, Social Activist
15. Thomas Kocherry, Social Activist
16. Anand Patwardhan, Film maker
17. Ambarish Rai, Social Activist
18. Sanjay M G, Social Activist
19. Vijay Pratap, Social Activist
20. Yogendra Yadav, CSDS
21. Sukumar Mukhopadhyay, Retd. Civil Servant
22. Vitusha Oberoi, Journalist
23. Mythili Bhusnurmath, Journalist
24. Pankaj Bisht, Journalist
25. P. Chennaiah, Social Activist
26. Rami Chabra, Social Activist
27. Mira Shiva, Social Activist
28. Mani Subramanian, Retd. Police Officer
29. Suhas Borkar, Social Activist
30. Ashok Aggrawal, Lawyer
31. Smitu Kothari, Social Activist
32. Fr Cedric Prakash, Social Activist
33. Dr. A.S. Ravindra Rao, Doctor
34. Ms. Jayashree Rao, Businesswoman
35. Sukla Sen , Social Activist
36. Mukta Shrivastava, Social Activist
37. Prasad Chacko, Social Activist
38. Kalpana Mehta, Social Activist
39. Atal Behari Sharma, Social Activist
40. Gaurang Raval, Social Activist
41. Kavita Das Gupta, Social Activist
42. Nimmi Chauhan, Social Activist
43. Meenakshi Ganguly, Social Activist
44. Asit, Social Activist
45. Sauquat Hussain, Social Activist
46. Satya Sivaraman, Social Activist
47. Jimmy Dabhi, Social Activist
48. Nityanand Jayaraman, Independent Journalist
49. Sunil Gupta, Social Activist
50. Vijay Parmar, Social Activist
51. Saurabha Bhattacharya, The Other Med! ia
52. Kalyani Menon-sen, Social Activist
53. Rudy Herdia, Social Activist
54. Sridevi Panikkar, Social Activist
55. Gabriele D, Social Activist
56. Sister Celia, Social Activist
57. Suniti S.R, Social Activist
58. Simpreet Singh, Social Activist
59. Vijayan MJ, Social Activist
60. Rasmi Ranjan, Advocate
61. Dhruva Narayan, Publisher
62. J Saikia, Academic, Assam
63. Arun K Bidani, Social Activist
64. Persis Ginwalla, Social Activist
65. Pradeep Gawande, Social Activist
66. Alpana Khare, Social Activist
67. Elizabeth Cherian, Social Activist
68. Geetha Ramakrishnan, Social Activist
69. R Leelavathy, Social Activist
70. Hiren Gandhi, Social Activist
71. Saroop Dhruv, Social Activist
72. Jayesh Solanki, Social Activist
73. Mahendra Solanki, Social Activist
74. Rehana Kureshi, Social Activist
75. Laxmi, Bhupat, Social Activist
76. Bipin, Social Activist
77. Mahesh, Social Activist
78. Waqar, Social Activist
79. Pallavi Sobti-Rajpal, Social Activist
80. Subhash Lomte, Social Activist.
81. Akshaya Kumar, Social Activist
82. Ravela Somayya, Social Activist
83. Maj Gen (Retd) S.G.Vombatkere
84. Arvind Shukla, Economist
85. Haridwar, Economist
86. Harish Dhawan, Delhi University
87. Sunil Dharan, Delhi University
88. Srijit Mishra, Economist
89. Rohit Prasad, MDI
90. N P Chaubey, Academic, Allahabad
91. R. C. Tripathi, Academic, Allahabad
92. T Karunakaran, Academic, Tamil Nadu
93. Ghanshyam Shah, Academic, Ahmedabad
94. Mahendra Verma I.I.T. Kanpur
95. Rahul Varman, I. I. T. Kanpur
96. Sujata Patel, Academic, Pune
97. Romar Correa, Mumbai University
98. Anil Sadgopal, Delhi University
99. Santonu Basu, Academic, UK
100. B. Vivekanandan
101. Saumen Chattopadhyaya, JNU
102. Ritu Priya Mehrotra, JNU
103. Krishnendu Dastidar, JNU
104. Avijit Pathak, J! NU
105. Shashi Kant Jha, JNU
106. Pradipta Chaudhury, JNU
107. Satish Jain, JNU
108. Anjan Mukherji, JNU
109. Promod Yadav, JNU
110. Alokesh Barua, JNU
111. Birendra Nath Mallick, JNU
112. Arun Kumar, JNU
113. Kirity Roy, HR activist

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Document Type : Forwarded Statement
Document ID : FS-043-2007
Countries : India,