Here's a report from Nandigram by my friend Dr Sajal Basu of the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL).
The peasants with a holding of 1-3 acres of agricultural land are opposed to any proposal of industrialisation in the form of hub, complex or SEZ. This is the majority opinion of Garchakraberia, a village in Nandigram block I, East Midnapore.
A team of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties visited the village on 24 January to make an inquiry about the violent incidents at Nandigram causing seven (officially) or 11 deaths on 7 January. The PUCL team interviewed the villagers of Garchakraberia. The data provided by Sheikh Harun Rashid, Upapradhan of Kalikapur, and other members of the resistance committee reveal that the villages to be affected are double crop area plus fish and betel leaf areas. Both betel and prawn are export potential products yielding high returns. After paddy cultivation, khesari has been produced with much effort.
Villagers are the least interested in industry as they know from experience that they would not get jobs, whereas their land and homestead would be taken away. The Gangra Jellingham project undertaken by Burn Standard and ONGC on the seaside has been closed, the owners of 250 acres of land are yet to receive the compensation money.
“During the past 30 years, the government hasn’t bothered to improve our villages. Let it install electricity, we will set up cottage industry.” The main contention of the villagers is why are the government and the ruling party forcing them to give up their land without any consideration of their interests and will?
The basic fundamental rights of the villagers have been violated at gunpoint. As our findings reveal, the villagers are vigilant in protecting their land, but armed forces of the police and CPI-M backed goons may soon launch another attack against the villagers of Sonachura and Garchakraberia.