Appeal against the proposed deployment of CRPF Battalions sign now

Sri Gopal Krishna Gandhi,
Hon'ble Governor of West Bengal,
Raj Bhavan,

Subject : Appeal against the proposed deployment of CRPF Battalions
in Nandigram


The Government of West Bengal has reportedly requested the Central Government
to send CRPF battalions to enable the state government to "bring back peace" in Nandigram. We, the undersigned, earnestly request you to ensure that no CRPF battalion is deployed in Nandigram. We strongly emphasize that the recent situation in Nandigram calls for a political and not a military or a paramilitary solution. We should urgently bear in mind that the people of Nandigram have, indeed, had a bitter experience in March this year of the deployment of the armed forces (in that instance, armed battalions of the West Bengal Police), which effectively became a joint initiative of the police and CPI(M) cadres to massacre the innocent people and sexually assault the women in Nandigram. A fresh deployment of armed forces will only further traumatize the people of Nandigram and create an even darker atmosphere of distrust, foreclosing any possibility of restoring peace in the area. Furthermore, the track record of military and paramilitary forces deployed in different situations in different parts of the country in the past is by no means a commendable one. Violation of the human rights of men, women and children have almost invariably followed in the perceptible trail of such deployment.

We, the undersigned, therefore, urge you to persuade the West Bengal Government to take appropriate and credible steps towards restoring peace instead of exacerbating the disturbed situation through further coercion that the deployment of paramilitary forces is bound to unleash. The West Bengal Government has to be reminded that the genesis of
the six-month-long turmoil in Nandigram lies in the notification about an impending acquisition of land issued by Haldia Development Authority, which drove the people of the village into a fit of desperate anxiety to somehow save their land and livelihood. So the responsibility of restoring the trust of the people of Nandigram squarely hinges on the West Bengal Government. The Government can solve the Nandigram crisis only if it recognizes that that a political and social solution is needed for Nandigram, where the question is really one of people's livelihoods, that has been threatened, and people's human rights that have been seriously violated under the aegis of the State.

We urge you to ensure that such a crisis is handled with all empathy, sensitivity,
sense of justice and understanding that it deserves, none of which can be ensured by paramilitary intervention. The West Bengal Government should immediately do the following:
(1) Fully and properly acknowledge the massacres, the rapes and the sexual assault inflicted on the people of Nandigram so that the very first step towards reassuring
a traumatized people can be taken at all.

(2) Ensure the identification of all people adversely affected by the succession of events since 6th January, 2007 through an independent enquiry conducted by competent and responsible citizens who have no association with the Government or the party in power.

(3) Ensure that all such affected people, irrespective of political affiliations, are compensated and cured of their trauma.

(4) Ensure that the CBI probes into the massacre and the related incidents of March 14, 2007, is restarted.

(5) Ensure that the hearing and the judgment on the writ petition filed in the Calcutta High Court in connection with the incidents of 14th March, 2007, is expedited.

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Lacy JacobsonBy:
Petition target:
Hon'ble Governor of West Bengal


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