Thursday, May 03, 2007
In the wake of Nandigram
A call by concerned citizens
The valiant struggle of the peasantry in Nandigram against the acquisition of their land and homesteads for the proposed chemical hub SEZ has drawn nationwide attention. Despite the massacre of March 14 and the continuing reign of terror unleashed by the police and the hired killers of the ruling party in the state, Nandigram has remained defiant and refused to surrender. On the contrary, it has sparked unprecedented mass protests across West Bengal and elsewhere. People’s movements in various parts of the country against the forcible acquisition of farmlands, forests and other natural resource base of the poor in the name of SEZ and for the so-called industrial projects have also drawn inspiration and sustenance from Nandigram.
The time is now ripe to bring all the people’s resistance movements across the country under one coordinating network. Towards this end, we are proposing an All India People’s Convention, followed by a huge Rally, in Kolkata on 2-3 June, 2007 (before the onset of monsoon). We call upon all our friends in the people’s movements and people’s organisations, irrespective of political or ideological moorings, to come forward and actively participate in this programme. May the Convention/Rally become the launching pad for a united nationwide resistance struggle against government’s land acquisition policy for SEZs and other industrial projects.
The convention/rally, and the countrywide movement to be launched from there, will be raising the following demands:
1. Scrap the SEZ Act, 2005 that aims to set up ‘extra-territorial’ authorities within the country and acquire huge tracts of farm and forestlands for the corporate capitalists while endangering the lives and livelihoods of millions.
2. Abolish or reformulate (in consultation with the people) the colonial and draconian Land Acquisition Act of 1894 that serves as the chief instrument of land acquisition by the government.
3. The Chief Minister of West Bengal, who has owned up to the responsibility for the mass murders in Nandigram, must resign. Everyone who has had a hand in the Nandigram massacre, directly or indirectly, must be punished.
4. People’s institutions at the grassroots must be allowed the autonomy to act so that a life of peace and dignity returns to Nandigram and wherever conflict has erupted over land acquisition.
Send your endorsement ("I ENDORSE") with your name, phone, e-mail contacts and how you would like to describe yourself, e.g. professor, filmmaker, activist, etc. or your organisational/ institutional identity) to the following e-mail addresses:
Read more about the People's Convention here.