Does Nandigram Resonate or Remains Forgotten? The Quint Revisits

The Quint travelled to Nandigram seeking answers to key questions linked to the upcoming elections from its people.

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In 2007, the CPI(M)-led Left Front government had invited the Indonesian Salim group of industries to build a chemical hub, as part of a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Nandigram.

In order to establish the SEZ, land was required. And in this case, it was primarily farmland. While a few farmers consented to giving away their lands in return for compensation, a substantial number refused to part with their ancestral dwellings.

Anticipating forcible seizure of their lands, around 2000 villagers from Nandigram blocked all the entrances to the area by digging up roads and building blockades. On 14 March 2007, police, along the harmads —a state-funded militia —came down heavily on the villagers.

A reported 14, and an estimated 50 died in the police firing and the ensuing violence. Women were raped, and in the following infighting among parties, a large number of people left their home.

In 2011, the 34-year-old Left Front government was soundly defeated by Mamata Banerjee and her party. It won’t be entirely wrong to state that the Nandigram incident was one of the major influencers in perpetrating Banerjee’s victory.

It has been nine years since that incident. The Trinamool has been in power for 5 years now. And it’s time for another election. What development, changes has Nandigram undergone? Were they for better or worse?

The Quint travelled to Nandigram seeking answers to these very same questions from its people.

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