Nanoor massacre

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Nanoor massacre refers to the massacre of eleven landless labourers allegedly by CPI(M) activists in Suchpur, near Nanoor and under Nanoor police station, in Birbhum district in the Indian state of West Bengal, on 27 July 2000.[1][2][3]

Background[edit]

Nanoor is located in the south-eastern corner of the district which is an alluvial plain between Ajay River and Mayurakshi River. It has hot and dry summers, spread over March – May, followed by the monsoon from June to September. 78 per cent of the rainfall occurs during this period.[4]

Per historical records there have been at least 13 intensive droughts between the years 1799 and 1855. The drought of 1836-37 was particularly severe.[5] Floods also wreak havoc. Some 7,000 mud houses either collapsed or remained in bad shape in Nanoor and three other blocks, affecting around 15,000 villagers in 2004.[6]

Nanoor Block covering 24 villages, is economically backward. It has many artisan families who live below the poverty line. A large section of the population is either Muslim or belong to the Scheduled Castes and Tribes. Although the population is talented they hardly had an opportunity to earn a decent living.[7]

Nanoor was described by The Statesman in 2003 as "the most politically disturbed area in Birbhum district".[1] With acute poverty it has been a disturbed area for ages.

Massacre[edit]

Victims of Nanoor massacre[8]
Seikh Nizam
Rasul Bax
Sabur Seikh
Seikh Salamat
Harai Seikh
Saran Mete
Safikul Seikh
Seikh Safiq
Asraf Seikh
Saifur Seikh
Seikh Ali Hossain

Immediately after the Nanoor massacre, the CPI(M) had tried to confuse the public by initially referring to those killed as dacoits and so on. However, when a spate of reports appeared in the press they were forced to admit that they were indeed landless agricultural wage workers, who were killed because of a land dispute.[3]Somnath Chatterjee, then speaker of the Lok Sabha, in whose parliamentary constituency Nanoor fell, described those killed as "hired goons, dacoits and dreaded anti-socials".[2] The CPI(M) had earlier been trying to analyse what happened in Nanoor as a fight between farmers and landlords desperate to recapture land they had lost earlier but they late changed course.[9]Anil Biswas and Biman Bose, both politburo members and senior leaders of CPI(M), condemned the Nanoor killings and also the violence caused by political rivalry resulting in deaths earlier in the area.[10]

The Hindu wrote, "On a long term, the killings, symbolizing the birth of a new theater of violence after Keshpur in district Midnapore - where deaths and maiming in political clashes have become a bizarre routine - constitute an extremely disturbing augury for the society in Bengal".[10] The West Bengal Chief Minister, Jyoti Basu, said that at least 800 Left Front party workers, mostly belonging to the CPI(M) had been killed in clashes with the supporters of the Trinamool-BJP combine. He felt that everybody, including Left party workers had the right of self-defence, but appealed to them to restrain themselves even in the face of atrocities.[11]

Aftermath[edit]

Abdul Khalek, the prime witness to the Nanoor killings, and his guard, Jahangir Alam, were injured in an attack allegedly by CPI(M) activists, on May 12, 2005.[12] Four people were arrested for the attack, the next day. Although local people thought of the arrested as having links with the ruling party, police were yet to ascertain their political connections.[13]

The Statesman in an editorial wrote, "The sole purpose in attacking the prime witness in the gruesome Nanoor massacre of July 2000 in which 11 Trinamul Congress supporters were slaughtered by armed CPI(M) cadres was to shield those responsible and abort their trial, by hook or by crook. The irony is that although five years have elapsed since the occurrence of the horrendous killings by the Marxists, the trial of their 79 accused comrades had not begun". In 2005, The Statesman in an editorial said, "Repeated postponement of hearing (at least seven in the last two years) because of failure of the accused to turn up in court has made the outcome uncertain."[2]

Just before start of the Nannor massacre trials in 2005 CPI(M) cadre were allegedly creating panic in the area threatening the witnesses repeatedly.[14] A Trinamul Congress delegation visiting the villages to is reported that though there were a few police camps, the villages in the area were still in the grip of CPI(M) men.[15]

Two main accused in the Nanoor massacre, Nitya Chatterjee and Manirujjaman, filed nominations as CPI(M) candidates for the panchayat polls in 2003.[16]

In 2004, the West Bengal Government was reprimanded by Kolkata High Court for slow progress in the Nanoor massacre trial.[17][18]

Political equations[edit]

Nanoor was traditionally considered one of the strongest bastions of CPI(M) in Birbhum district. However, the Nanoor massacres brought about a considerable change in the scenario. The Trinamul Congress started building on the unfortunate and has developed a base in the area.[19] The changing scenario has been rather noticeable. In 2003, the CPI(M) charged Trinamul Congress with terrorising voters in the area, and demanded fresh polling in a majority of the booths in the Thupsara panchayat area in Nanoor block.[20]

The Nanoor area has continued to be turbulent, with political clashes and murders continuing.[21] There are certain villages in the area which are known as Trinamool Congress strongholds and CPI(M) has been trying to capture such villages.[22] On the basis of a FIR (first information report) lodged with the police against CPI(M) men, the police made arrests and in August 2001 the police submitted charge sheets against 82 accused. The trial started in 2000 and continued for eight years. During the trial 10 accused persons have died. The police has not been able to arrest five of the accused. Thirty-two witnesses have appeared in court. The court verdict is expected in November 2010.[23]

Verdict on Nanoor[edit]

The session court delivered verdict on Nanoor Massacre case in 2010, when 44 persons were convicted and sentenced to Life Imprisonment. Out of the 44, four were CPI(M) members.[24][25]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "CPM brings terror charge against Trinamul". The Statesman. THE STATESMAN LTD. 23 April 2003. Archived from the original on April 30, 2008. Retrieved 2007-09-14. 
  2. ^ a b c "Editorial: Attack in Nanoor". Editorial. The Statesman, 20 May 2005. Retrieved 2010-10-14. 
  3. ^ a b "CPM ticket for Nanoor massacre accused". The Statesman, 18 April 2003. Retrieved 2010-10-10. 
  4. ^ Choudhuri, Tapan, Unnayaner Alokey Birbhum, Paschim Banga , Birbhum Special Issue, February 2006, (in Bengali), pp. 60-61, Information & Cultural Department, Government of West Bengal.
  5. ^ Gupta, Dr. Ranjan Kumar, The Economic Life of a Bengal District: Birbhum 1770 – 1857, p. 114, The University of Burdwan, 1984.
  6. ^ "Floods render 15,000 homeless". The Statesman, 25 September 2004. Retrieved 2010-10-10. 
  7. ^ "Institute of International Social Development (IISD)". Success Story. Election Commission of India. Retrieved 2007-08-24. 
  8. ^ Times of India, Kolkata edition, 11 November 2010
  9. ^ Jawaid, Rifait. "Did CPI-M's land reforms movement backfire?". rediff.com. Retrieved 2008-01-13. 
  10. ^ a b "Landless in W. Bengal tilting towards Trinamool Congress". The Hindu, 30 July 2000. Retrieved 2007-09-14. 
  11. ^ "Basu asks Left parties to be tolerant". The Hindu, 1 September 2000. Retrieved 2007-09-14. 
  12. ^ "CPM goons attack Nanoor witness". The Statesman, 13 May 2005. Retrieved 2010-10-11. 
  13. ^ "4 held for Nanoor witness attack". The Statesman, 14 May 2005. Retrieved 2010-10-11. 
  14. ^ "Pre-trial terror reigns in Nanoor". The Statesman, 5 March 2005. Retrieved 2010-10-11. 
  15. ^ "Clashes persist in Nanoor". The Statesman, 6 November 2004. Retrieved 2010-10-11. 
  16. ^ "CPM ticket for Nanoor massacre accused". The Statesman, 18 April 2003. Retrieved 2010-10-11. 
  17. ^ "Targeting the CBI". Editorial. The Statesman, 18 July 2007. Retrieved 2010-10-11. 
  18. ^ "Court rap for Nanoor delay". The Telegraph, 17 January 2004. Retrieved 2007-09-14. 
  19. ^ "CPM brings terror charge against Trinamul". The Statesman, 23 April 2003. Retrieved 2010-10-11. 
  20. ^ "Somnath visits Nanoor, party wants repoll". The Statesman, 12 May 2003. Retrieved 2007-09-14. 
  21. ^ "Trinamul man shot; 5 injured in Nanoor bomb explosions". The Statesman, 7 September 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-11. 
  22. ^ "A game of one-upmanship in Nanoor". The Statesman, 10 September 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-11. 
  23. ^ "Court to give verdict on Suchpur massacre". The Statesman. THE STATESMAN LTD. 23 September 2010. Archived from the original on 6 June 2012. Retrieved 7 September 2016. 
  24. ^ "Court rap for Nanoor delay". The Telegraph. ABP Pvt. Limited. 16 January 2004. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 7 September 2016. 
  25. ^ "CPM 44 given life term in Nanoor killing". The Telegraph. ABP Pvt. Limited. 11 November 2010. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 7 September 2016.