NHRC sends notice to Chief Secretary, West Bengal, on Nandigram incidents: investigation team of the Commission to visit the area

New Delhi November 12, 2007
The National Human Rights Commission has sent notice to Chief Secretary, West Bengal, directing him to submit a factual report within 10 days on the conditions prevailing in Nandigram and around. A team of the Investigation Division of the Commission would also visit the disturbed areas in Nandigram to study the situation and suggest remedial measures. The Commission has further requested Secretary, MHA, to take all necessary steps to restore peace in the area, protect human life, dignity and property and submit an action taken report within two weeks.
The Commissionís move comes on a petition filed by Shri Sanjay Parikh, Advocate, which had said that the disturbed and volatile conditions in and around Nandigram were likely to result in grave violation of human rights. He also forwarded to the Commission a message received from Smt Medha Patkar, requesting urgent intervention.
According to the message, war like situation was prevailing due to presence of thousands of CPM cadres surrounding Nandigram from atleast three sides. Senior Police officers were present in the area and seemed to support their programme to attack Nandigram. Smt Patkar had expressed fear that the gherao of Nandigram might lead to serious and unprecedented bloodshed. She had expressed apprehension whether the State government would be willing to stop the violence or not. The petitioner had asked for every possible move to compel the West Bengal government and the ruling party to withdraw the gherao around Nandigram.
The Commission had earlier taken suo-motu cognizance of an incidents in March 2007, in which some people had died in police firing. The Commission had asked for a factual report from the Chief Secretary and DGP, West Bengal on the incidents. A report dated March 29, 2007, received from the Chief Secretary, West Bengal had blamed certain political organizations and the local population for the incidents.
The current situation in the area has also been highlighted by newspapers which suggests the connivance of local police with criminal elements. Under these circumstances, the Commission felt it imperative to take immediate steps for protection of the people and their human rights.
***