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Nandigram: Village cries revenge

Nandigram, Jan. 7: Sonachura village wears the look of a battlefield where guns had fallen silent.

But the look is deceptive. An undercurrent of anger runs through the villages, many of whose residents had voted for the CPM for years.

“This is the first time blood has been spilled in this agitation. The deaths will only stoke the fire. Ashuk Lakshman Seth ba Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, punte rekhe debo (Let Lakshman Seth or Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee come here, we’ll bury them alive),” says a raging Sheikh Jahangir, whose 11-member family depends on his 13-bigha plot.

His neighbour Moin-ul Haque nods in agreement.

“If they think they can shoot us, we will retaliate with whatever we can lay our hands on. So what if we’ve voted for the CPM all these years? We don’t care for the party any more,” says Moin-ul.

Thousands from neighbouring Gangra, Kendiamari, Jadubarichak and South Khali villages gathered at Sonachura this afternoon in a silent show of solidarity.

Death greets a visitor to the village. In the bazaar, a dog gnaws at a charred body. From the nonchalance of the onlookers, it is plain that it is that of a local CPM loyalist.

A kilometre away, the house of CPM leader Debanshu Sashmal has been torched. The battle had definitely not been one-sided.

A crowd stands on the Talpatti bridge as some people reach out to a body floating in the canal.

Watching a procession with the body pass, Panchanan Bera, a small farmer, says: “Blood has started flowing... this agitation will go far. This government doesn’t understand what land means to us.”

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posted by Bimal 8.1.07,


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