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‘Nandigram still simmering’

Special Correspondent

A delegation of Muslim League leaders visit the area

KOCHI: Former Minister and Muslim League State secretary M.K. Muneer has said that Nandigram is still simmering and that violence may erupt again anytime.

“Nandigram might return to lawlessness once the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) leaves,” he said. Dr. Muneer, who had just returned from a visit to Nandigram as part of a delegation of Muslim League leaders, headed by national president G.M. Banatwala, feels that the condition in Nandigram was much worse than what the media conveyed. At a news conference here on Tuesday, Dr. Muneer showed pictures and video clips from Nandigram.

CPI(M) control

He said that despite the presence of the CRPF, some villages were off-limits for even security agencies and the media. They were under the absolute control of the CPI(M) cadres. The Muslim League team could go into the village with the help of Union Ministers A.K. Antony and E. Ahmed and with the escort of CRPF soldiers.

Warning to residents

The CPI(M) cadres openly warned the villagers that once the CRPF was out, those who had complained against them would be “finished off.” However, the peasants had vowed not to allow the government to take over farmlands to set up industries.

Dr. Muneer alleged that Nandigram was a case of State-sponsored violence. Parallels could be drawn with the 2002 Gujarat carnage, he said.

However, he pointed out that he did not suspect any Muslim-specific attacks. The majority of those attacked and killed were Muslim, but then Muslims comprised three-fourths of the population.

The area was in the grip of fear, gloom and uncertainty. Poverty, illiteracy and backwardness were of unimaginable scale. There was no water supply or electricity. He said during the violence scores of women were raped. Many rape victims named the CPI(M) cadres who had raped them.

‘Face of fascism’

Hundreds were still missing and one woman counted up to 26 missing people, including her husband.

Most young men were either keeping off the village or had been killed. “You can see the real face of fascism in Nandigram,” he said.

Dr. Muneer said the team visited the site where five people had been burnt to death. Such murders had taken place at many places in Nandigram, he said.

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