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Scars of turmoil still linger in Nandigram

November 17, 2009 11:36 IST

Two years after the turmoil and violence in Nandigram in East Midnapore where police firing left 14 dead, the pain and suffering lingers across the political divide.

The violence, which erupted in January 2007 over fear of land acquisition for a chemical hub in this hitherto little known corner of West Bengal, continued till November that year.

Residents turned the area into a no-man's with roads dug up and the police unable to enter with the issue rocking the Parliament.

"Several people, who were injured then, can still be found in each village in Nandigram. They have not yet fully recovered," Trinamool Congress legislator Firoza Bibi, whose son was among the 14 victims of the 14 March 2007 police firing, told a visiting PTI correspondent.

CPI-M's Nandigram Zonal Committee, Secretary Ashok Guria, has the same tale to tell.

"Many of those injured in attacks were crippled permanently."

Superintendent of Police Bastab Baidya said cases of injury were still under investigation by the Criminal investigation Department.

The villagers, primarily farmers and landless agricultural labourers, bore the brunt of attacks and counter attacks by the Trinamool Congress-backed Bhoomi Ucched Pratirodh Committee and CPI-M, police said.

Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH), East Midnapore, Rabikinkar Nayek, says many of the injured have not recovered fully.

"Wounds caused by bullets and explosions take time to heal. The chemicals used in explosives worsen injury," Nayek said.

A tailor of Nilpur village, Sk Akram, who was grazed on the left side of his head by a bullet during a rally at Amgachia village, said the wound turns painful during monsoon and summer.

"I avoid combing the left side of my head. Sometimes when I bend while stitching I still experience pain," he said.

Akram's income dropped because of his poor health and he depends on his brothers.

Another resident, Makhnuj Rehman, of Charkendamari village said he could not work long hours after a bullet pierced his stomach and he had to be operated upon. "I need to wear a waist belt all the time."

A landless agricultural labourer, Avijit Giri of Kalicharanpur village was being treated at Hyderabad for a radial nerve damaged by bullets, with donations from fellow villagers.

Doctors of Nandigram hospital said wounds were taking long to heal because of poor post-operative care, malnutrition and tension.

Citing figures, health official said, 35 men and women were admitted to the Nandigram hospital on and a day after the 'recapture' of Nandigram on November 10 that year.

District Magistrate, Choten Dhendup Lama, said "some assistance was provided to the injured with money received from the Chief Minister's Relief Fund."

Amitava Das in Nandigram
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