We are deeply concerned about the escalating levels of violence being reported from Nandigram in West Bengal, as a consequence of the State Government's policy of land acquisition for industrial use. TV reports from Calcutta indicate growing levels of tension and violence in the villages. This situation is likely to be repeated across the State if the policy continues to be executed as it has, without consideration for human rights, democratic procedures, and livelihoods.
We deplore the recent attack on the CPM office at Nandigram, but deplore even more strongly the policy of retaliation advocated by some constituents of the Left Front Government, and the use of armed elements against the villagers, already at the cost of several lives.
We urge the formation of an all-Party Peace Committee in West Bengal to ensure the cessation
of hostilities against the villagers, and an immediate end to the forcible acquisition of
land. While industrial development is necessary in many parts of the country, detailed,
democratically accountable and transparent discussions about the categories of land to be
allocated for acquisition are equally necessary prior to making a decision. The International
Economic Covenant, which India has ratified,
makes prior consultation and resettlement mandatory in all cases of displacement. The violation of human rights in the process of land acquisition that we have recently seen in West Bengal (and a number of other states) is completely unacceptable.
Justice Rajinder Sachar
Kavita Srivastava (PUCL),
Anil Chaudhary (PEACE)
Pradip Kumar Datta
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