Thursday, November 8, 2007 (Kolkata)
Social activist Medha Patkar was on Thursday assaulted allegedly by CPI(M) activists at Kapaseberia in East Midnapore district while on her way to strife-torn Nandigram.
''There were CPI(M) men carrying red flags who blocked my car and some other vehicles which were going along with mine to Nandigram. I was hit on the face and they tried to pull my hair and was about to drag me out of the car,'' Patkar said over the phone from the spot.
Patkar said she and her associates squatted on the road in protest against the attack.Inspector General of Police (Law and Order), West Bengal, Raj Kanojia said in Kolkata that one of the vehicles in Patkar's convoy was damaged. It's been three days since the clashes in Nandigram erupted but the tension has not died down. Although no fresh clashes have been reported so far, another body was found floating in the Chandipur canal on Thursday morning, taking the number of dead to 5.
According to the anti-SEZ group involved in the clashes, the body is that of a CPI-M supporter.A turf war between CPI-M and Trinamool workers has claimed five lives, left thousands homeless and dozens injured and now all roads to the city are blocked.
Citizens who had demonstrated for an enquiry into the Rizwanur case have now found a new cause.
A candlelight vigil began at 6 pm on Wednesday and will continue for the next 100 hours, demanding the restoration of peace in the troubled war zone. The venue for the vigil is not far from where the vigil was held for Rizwanur, outside St Xavier's College.
The 100-hour vigil has been started by the same group of people who went on a vigil for Rizwanur. It worked last time and are hoping the initiative will work again.''The message is again that we need peace in Nandigram.
No political statement, no political message, no political demand but very simple peace in Nandigram. It is a very big irony that India should be at peace but Nandigram should be at war,'' said Mudar Patharya, Investment analyst.
Initial response last evening was a mere trickle. But as word about the vigil gets around, organisers are sure more Kolkatans will join in the stand for peace.
People of Kolkata do not want to just sit back at home and see what is happening on TV screens. They want that, whosoever does the administration, at least bring peace and look after the people in the village.
The first and last time a candlelight vigil was held in Kolkata was in the Rizwanur Rehman case where the public demanded a CBI inquiry into his death. They got what they wanted. This time it is a call for peace in Nandigram, a message they hope politicians and administrators in the state will hear.(With PTI inputs]