Blood stains on the hands of Buddhadev Bhattacharya

Dibakar Bhattacharjya

[Comrades Amalendu Bhusan Choudhury, Dibakar Bhattacharjya, Dr.Debashis Mukharjee, Dr.Shanta Sabuj Das, Dr. Samir DasGupta, Dr. Kamal Saha, Dr. Partha Hazari and Chaitali Sen went to Nandigram several times in the past few months to carry on political propaganda among the masses and mobilise them to the 25  May Shaheed Minar Rally. Here is a summary of what they saw and heard there. The narrator was a member of the CPI(ML) team that visited Nandigram on 4 January this year and was arrested and detained by the police on false charges for two weeks.]

“All of a sudden bullets started flying in from different directions. We just ran. On the way I met my father. “Have you seen your mother?” he asked me. But I didn’t see my mother. While running, I saw two guys falling on the ground with bullet injuries. After a while, I saw a few people carrying one injured person. When I came nearer, I saw she was my mother. Then I and my father carried my mother and ran all the way from Bhanga Bera to Sonachura. Mother was bleeding profusely.  There was a cycle van, but no driver was present. I myself drove that van from Sonachura to Nandigram hospital. The bullet had pierced my mother’s head. The hospital authorities told us that my mother was no more.”

We were talking to Souma Kanti Jana, son of Supriya Jana. Souma Kanti sat for the Madhyamik examination last year. We were told that after 14 March 2007, the day of the massacre, he did not speak a single word for four to five days. Now gradually he has started saying a few words.

We asked Souma, “Which party did your parents belong to?” He answered, “We were all in the CPI(M).” The same answer we got from the parents or relatives of Biswajit Mity, Bharat Mondol, Sk. Salim, Puspendu Mondol and many others martyrs. Many women who were raped also said they were CPI (M) supporters.

Who are the murderers, we asked.  The common answer was -- the police administration in connivance with CPI(M) cadres. And as the night deepened we heard the sounds of bullets and bombs hurled from Khejuri, the den of CPI(M) hoodlums.

We went to the house of Martyr Biswajit Mity, who was only 14 years old. His grandfather, the octogenarian Beni Madhab Mity, told us about the Tebhaga movement, in course of which he was incarcerated and faced other forms of state repression. He said that in the past they fought against the landlords and this time the movement is against the government but in both cases the slogan is the same-“we will not part with our land.”

We suppose you belong to left, but at the moment which party are you associated with? We asked him. He told, “Now I am with the Zami Bachao Andolon (save land movement).  How do we survive if we lose our land?” We told him that the government has promised not to grab land in Nandigram any more. Beni Madhab babu said, “Today they say something, tomorrow they will say something else. We don’t trust the government”. We asked him, now that you are associated with the zami bachao committee, how do you look at the red flag? “We have fought the Tebhaga movement with this red flag”, said he, "and we seized land to.  The red flag is great. ”

Next we talked to the parents of Bharat Mondol. Bharat’s father said, “Buddhadev Bhattacharya sent a letter to each martyr family, saying that we should participate in his mass meeting at Heria and take a reward of Rs. One lakh for each martyr family. But none of us went there. We declared firmly that we will not take a single rupee from the murderers.”

Bharat’s mother took us to the field where Bharat himself sowed the seedlings of brinjals.  She gave us a few brinjals. With tears on her eyes, she told us, “my Bharat sowed these brinjals -- you must eat these.” We could not utter a word for quite some time.

Then we went to the house of martyr Pushpendu Mondol. Bharat was murdered on 7 January and his cousin Pushpendu on 14 March. The father of Pushpendu told us “Puspendu was missing from 14 March. We frantically searched for him at Nandigram, Tamluk and Kolkata hospitals, the local police station, and everywhere, but in vain.  Five days later we heard that Puspendu's body was lying in the Tamluk morgue.  When the dead body was brought to our house, it was so swollen that we could not understand how he had died.”

Next we met Chabi Mondol.  We asked her whether CPI(M) activists were barred from staying at Nandigram.  Her reply was, “all these are just nonsense. I was the secretary of CPI(M)’s women’s wing and also a party member. No body has asked me to leave Nandigram. Almost everybody in this village used to vote for the CPI(M). But today the situation is quite different. Nobody will associate himself or herself with that party any longer”, she remarked. She too was associated with the Zami Bachao Committee.
The bodies of most of the victims of the 14 March massacre are still untraced. The dead body of Subrata Samonta was snatched from his sister and aunt, and it remains untraced to this day. Botokrishna Patra, Manashi Mondol, Durgapada Mity and many others are still missing.
The street-corner meeting of CPI (ML) near the Nandigram police station on 11 May became a talk of the town. Since January 3 the CPI(M) could not organise a single meeting in that area. People in the area were scared and had become averse to the red flag. But even in such a situation, the street-corner meeting started 2 hours before the Peasant Awakening Jatha from Naxalbari to Nandigram reached the spot and was highly appreciated. The local people cooperated in organising the meeting with great zeal and enthusiasm.     

One day we were distributing the party's invitation letters to the 25th Shaheed Minar rally.  It was already dusk.  Martyr Bharat’s father told us “There are so many people whom you should invite. You can hand over these letters to me. I shall deliver these to the proper persons.” At 8 pm, when we were returning from Sonachura Bazar, we saw Bharat’s father looking for and contacting those people to hand over the letters. We were greatly impressed to witness the sincerity of a father who had lost his own son and inviting others to join the struggle.

15 out of 17 martyr families along with 133 people of Nandigram joined the 25th rally. Even a number of injured persons participated. It is evident that though they have lost faith on the red flag that the CPI(M) carry, they still nurture high hopes on another red flag that the CPI(ML) holds aloft.

On the way from Nandigram to the Shaheed Minar rally and back, we came to know many unheard chapters of their life, their woes, their struggles, their experiences of utter betrayal by the CPI (M). But above all, the voice of martyr Biswajit’s father still rents our ears, “When you come again at Nandigram, make it a point to come with fluttering red flags on your vehicles. We assure you, we will stand by you.”