Nandigram: Horror Stories Emerge
Fact finding report of the delegation deputed by the Calcutta High Court
23 March, 2007
Report of the team who went to Nandigram in the district of Purba Medinipore in terms of the order of the Hon’ble High Court dated 15.03.2007 passed by the Hon’ble Division Bench comprised of Mr. S.S. Nijjar, Chief Justice and the Hon’ble Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghosh in a writ petition filed by the Association for Protection of Democratic Rights and Paschim Banga Khet Majdoor Samity.
1. That soon after getting a plain copy of the order of the Hon’ble High Court a team consisting of the following persons proceeded towards Nandigram from the High Court.
i) Sri Amit Dyuti Kumar, representing the Association for Protection of Democratic Rights;
ii) Sri Prasad Roychowdhury, Secretary, Association for Protection of Democratic Rights;
iii) Dr. (Mrs.) Subabrata Bhadra, Association for Protection of Democratic Rights;
iv) Sri Raghu, Association for Protection of Democratic Rights;
v) Smt. Anurada Talwar, representing Paschim Banga Kheth Majdoor Samity;
vi) Sri Jeeban, - do –
vii) Ms. Panchali Roy - do –
viii) Sri Sandeep -do-
ix) Sri Chiro -do-
x) Sri Pramod -do-
xi) Sri Gangyly,
xii) Sri Sadhan Roychowdhury, representing Manabidhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM);
12. Sri Subrata Roy, representing Manabidhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM);
13. Sri Arjun Das , representing MASUM
xv) Bibek Tripathy, Advocate, High Court , Calcutta
2) At about 8 PM on 15.03.2007 a team went to the office of the District Magistrate, Purba Medinipore where Mr. Anup Agarwal, District Magistrate, Purba Medinipore was present. The team expressed their strong will and desire to go to Nandigram and sought for security escort or necessary police protection to enable the team to proceed for Nandigram immediately.
3) The District Magistrate, Purba Medinipore, however, flatly refused to entertain any such request for rendering police protection to the team on various counts or grounds saying that the District Magistrate, Purba Medinipore is not a party in the writ petition and that the said District Magistrate, Purba Medinipore has no legal or moral obligation to entertain any of the requests on the subject. Then the District Magistrate, Purba Medinipore advised the members of the team not to go to Nandigram on the ground that seeing the members of the team the people of Nandigram may be charged thereby there will be apprehension of breach of law and order.
4) All persuasions made by the team for allowing the members of the team to go to Nandigram failed.
5) At about 8.30 PM the team went to the office of the Superintendent of Police, Purba Medinipore but in the said office of the Superintendent of Police, Purba Medinipore no one was present. The night guard also could not provide the team with any information as to where the Superintendent of Police, Purba Medinipore will be available or telephone number either of the office or residence of the Superintendent of Police, Purba Medinipore. Mrs. Anurada Talwar from her own sources after making several calls could get mobile phone number of the Superintendent of Police, Purba Medinipore and tried for several occasions to talk to the said Superintendent of Police, Purba Medinipore but the said Superintendent of Police, Purba Medinipore did not pick up the telephone on any occasion.
6) Then the team proceeded for Tamluk Sub-Divisional Hospital. The team could get the following informations from the hospital -
i) All together 36 persons both male and female were admitted with bullet injuries, head injuries and different types of other severe injuries. Four police personnel were also admitted in the hospital but in the said hospital record there is no mention as to the nature of injury allegedly suffered by such police personnel. From records it could be ascertained that few patients have been referred to the PG hospital and 4 police personnel have been referred to Nilratan Sarkar Medical College and Hospital. The members of the team then were allowed by the hospital authorities to talk to the patients and a few numbers od the tem entered into the ward where the victims of the incident narrated the entire episode as to how and in what manner such persons were subjected to indiscriminate, reckless firing committed by both police personnel and the goons of the rulling political party.
ii) Then the team could ascertain that several bodies have been brought dead in the hospital and such bodies have been kept in the morgue. Some bodies have been claimed by the relatives but there were still some bodies which were not claimed by the members of family of the deceased victims. In the Sub-Divisional hospital the team could find that a CBI team headed by Sri B.B. Misra, Joint Director of CBI, already arrived there to conduct investigation in terms of the order of the Hon’ble High Court. Then the team at about 00.30 AM left the Tamluk Sub-Divisional Hospital and then stayed at Tamluk at night. In the morning on 16.03.2007 the team preceded for Chandipur Police Station.At about 8.00 AM the team could reach the Chandipur Police Station where the team could meet Mr. Kalyan Banerjee, Additional Superintendent of Police in Charge, Purba Medinipore. The said Additional Superintendent of Police in Charge in a diplomatic way told the team that being a police official the said Additional Superintendent of Police in Charge should not say that the team should not go to Nandigram in violation to the Constitutional guarantee but the said Additional Superintendent of Police in Charge advised the team not to go to Nandigram in the same and similar tune and version of the District Magistrate, Purba Medinipore. The said Additional Superintendent of Police did not receive the copy of the order of the Hon”ble High Court on the alleged ground that the said Additional Superintendent of Police is not a party to the writ petition. The team told the Additional Superintendent of Police that the team will convey the decision of the team after sometimes and accordingly after about 45 minutes the team intimated the said Additional Superintendent of Police in Charge that the team has taken a decision to go to Nandigram. After communicating the decision of the team to go for Nandigram at about 10 AM the team started for Nandigram and could reach at Nandigram Hospital at about 10.45 AM.
iii) In the hospital at Nandigram which is a Primary Health Centre the team could ascertain that all together 69 persons (male, female and children) have been admitted in the said hospital. Several cases of bullet injuries and various other injuries due to blasting of tear gas shell and hand made bombs have been recorded in the record. A few cases of rape by the police personnel and other persons have also been reported by the victims to the hospital.
iv) The team could find that the hospital do not have any facility for rendering treatment to the victims. The members of the victim family were waiting outside the hospital are all trauma stricken. A deep sense of frustration was prevailing in the entire hospital compound at Nandigram. The patients have not been provided with food and minimum medicines which they require. There is no ambulance in the hospital and one ambulance provided by some NGO is not functioning properly. The Block Medical Officer of Health admitted that thre is an acute problem for transportation of the victims to Tamluk due to shortage of ambuance and vehicles.
7) At about 2.30 PM the team proceeded for Sonachura which place is situated at about 20 Kms. from Nandigram Hospital. On their way to Sonachura the team could find thousands of persons were sitting on the road or assembling jointly in some areas.Upon seeing the team reaching the area all the villagers started narrating their story as to how and in what manner the poor villagers have been subjected to torture by the police and the murderers of the ruling political party. The nature of allegations made by the villagers is as follows:
i) On 14.03.2007 the villagers assembled near Bhangabera which is a bridge connecting Nandigram and Khejuri. At Bhangabera. the villagers of both the communities were offering prayers to God and the gathering for offering prayers to the God were comprising of women and children mostly. All on a sudden the police personnel without any notice to the villagers proceeded towards the the villagers offering prayers and without any notice started indiscriminate firing of rubber bullets, killing bullets and tear gas. Several persons were killed at the spot by such indiscriminate police firing. Just after opening of the fire of the police upon the gathering the villagers were trying to escape to a secured place and such villagers were surrounded by the murderers of the local political party who were also in uniform but sandle in their feet and fully armed with local made arms and ammunitions. Children were murdered indiscriminately; bodies have been thrown to nearby Chuniburi river. The children of Primary Schools at least 8 in numbers have been killed by the murderers and then all those children were buried in a particular place near Bhangabera area.
The police and hooligans then ransacked the huts of the villagers, indiscriminately fired the residential huts of the villagers and captured upto the village Sonachura and the adjoining villages. The team could find that a good number of persons who have received various kinds of injuries including bullet injuries not less than 100 in numbers, receiving such bullet injuries are in their respective huts in their village. Such persons could not dare to go to hospital because of threats perpetrated by police and the murderers of the political party. A good number of women have complained that they have been raped, sexually abused and molested by police personnel and the murderers of the political party. The team could ascertain a good number of persons not less than 60 in numbers still remain untraced. The exact figure as to the particulars of the untraced persons could not be ascertained because villagers of some villages could not return to their home so as to ascertain as to how many members of persons are remaining untraced. The team could ascertain that the CBI team reached Bangabhera for the purpose of investigation. The team could not ascertain the exact numbers of victims of killing, rape, injured and untraced.
ii) The team returned to Nandigram Hospital at about 8.00 PM to start for Kolkata.
This brief report is supported by the statements made by the victims recorded by the members of the team personally and also the video clippings and footage.
8) Observation of the team from the trend of statements made by the victims of the incident and the villagers in general.
i) The people of Nandigram have been subjected to torture by the police and the political hooligans in a concerted way;
ii) The villagers, the police have started operation at the first instance for mass killing and the job has been completed by the murderers of the political parties. The peaceful movement of the people of Nandigram to oppose acquisition of land and/or for establishing Special Economic Zone by the State Government under the approved scheme of the Central Government has been sought to be broken and/or demolished by the ruling political party in aid and abatement of the police and the local administration.
iii) A good number of persons have been killed in the action. The exact number of the dead persons, untraced persons, victims of rape and the persons who have been severely injured could not yet been finalized because the villagers of Adhikari Para, Sonachura and the adjoining villages could not return to their respective huts as yet.
iv) The administration have shown their total callousness in securing minimum force for providing medical assistance and for building up confidence upon the people of Nandigram.
vi) The indefinite attitude of the District Magistrate, Purba Medinipore, Superintendent of Police, Purba Medinipore and the other functionaries of the Purba Medinipore administration clearly suggest that those officials have had their definite knowledge and participation in the whole operation of causing indiscriminate firing upon the people of Nandigram.
vii) There is no presence of administration at Nandigram either through the District Magistrate, Purba Medinipore, Superintendent of Police, Purba Medinipore or the other administrative persons.
viii) The dignatories indicated in the order of the Hon’ble High Court to the best of the information received by the team include Mr. Lakhman Seth, the Member of Parliament who is personally responsible for the incident of this mass killing. Informations have collected by the team to the effect that Lakhman Seth deployed professional murderers to commit murders of the villagers at Nandigram and that police started the operation but the rest of the operation has been conducted by the professional murderers engaged and deputed by Lakhman Seth, M.P. and the functionaries of Haldia Development authority and the local CPIM murderers at Haldia.
ix) CBI team conducting investigation may not be successful in unearthing each and every incident of murder, kidnapping, rape and other various kinds of offences in its meticulous details because that CBI team do not have sufficient and adequate expert officials of the CBI and the team constituted by CBI is a skeleton team and is too inadequate to conduct investigation over the incident at Nandigram occurred on 14.03.2007.