CRPP (India): “Release Debolina Chakrabarti, a social activist and people’s leader!”

Debolina Chakrabarti (center) in 2010 (file photo)

Free six other activists imprisoned for their participation in the Nonadanga anti-eviction struggle!


On 8th April 2012, a large police force arrested 69 persons from the Nonadanga area of East Kolkata when they were protesting against the eviction of hundreds of people, many of whom were forced to migrate and set up their abodes in that area after the Aila natural disaster. Among the protesters  were those who fell victims to this eviction drive initiated by the Mamata Banerjee-led government — men, women and children, as also some activists belonging to different democratic organizations, who thought it just to stand by the side of the victims and join their struggle for rehabilitation. In late evening, all but seven persons were released on PR bond. Among those arrested were Debolina Chakrabarti, Debjani Ghosh, Abhignan Sarkar, Prof. Partha Sarathi Roy, Dr. Siddhartha Gupta, Babun Chattopadhyay and Shamik Chankraborti. They were produced in court next day and all were remanded to police custody till 12th April. On 12th when they were produced, all of them were sent to jail custody till 21st April in the Nonadanga case. Surprisingly, in the evening when lawyers on the side of the accused have left or were about to leave, the CID put up papers in a secretive manner for the police remand of Debolina Chakrabarti in three other cases — two of which are old and allegedly connected with incidents that supposedly took place in Nandigram and Bishnupur.  The magistrate granted the prayer without listening to the response from the side of lawyers who stood by the accused. When it became known, there were protests from the side of other prisoners who took the stand that Debolina should not be taken for police remand and that they would not leave the court for jail unless all seven were taken together. Their resistance continued for some time until Debolina was forcibly taken alone by the CID in a police car to Bhabani Bhawan for interrogation.  The other six prisoners were sent to Alipur Central Jail. Debolina was tagged in a murder case under UAPA. Continue reading

Displacement: The Indian State’s War on its Own People

By Asit Das,

A mass rally in Nandigram against forced displacement (file photo)

This write-up is dedicated to the memory of Ashis Mandloi, Rehmal Punia and Sobha of ‘Narmada Bacho Andolon’, Shri Dula Mandal of POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samity, the martyrs of Kalinganagar, Kashipur and Nandigram, and numerous other struggles against forcible land grab……….


A bridge with no river
A tall façade with no building
A sprinkler on a plastic lawn
An escalator to no where
A highway to the places
The highway destroyed
An image of a TV
Of a TV showing another TV
On which
There is yet another T.V


1. Introduction

The blood bath in Nandigram, Kalinga Nagar reflects the Contradictions between India people and the predatory land grab by the National and International big business. The Indian state in service of its imperial masters and their agents in India has unleashed a ruthless war on its own people. Under the Neo-liberal regime the Indian state has resorted to brutal terror and repression on its own people especially Adivasis, Farmars, Dalits and other marginal communities by forcibly evicting them from their habitat. World imperialism led by U.S has forced all the subservient third world states to sell their land, forests, water, natural resources to the profit-hungry Multinational Corporations and their Junior Partners in third world Countries. If the local regimes refuse to fall into line military aggression is the order of the Day. Iraq was ruthlessly invaded and millions were massacred in the direct military assault and economic sanctions to control Iraq’s oil. Millions in Afghanistan have died as a result US aggression since 2001. Libya is being ruthlessly bombed by NATO forces for its oil resources. Taking cue from their imperial masters the Indian state and its provincial administrations have resorted to massacres, tortures and police trying to facilitate land grab by greedy corporation. The massacres in Kalinga Nagar and Nandigram to Police firing, murders of farmers and Adivasis in Bhatta Parsaul, Tappal, Kathikund, Kashipur, Karchhana (Allahabad) Sompeta offer a partial testimony to this ongoing plunder, not to mention custodial deaths, fake encounters in Kashmir, North East and Central India. Unprecedented in the history of state repression on its own people the Indian state has unleashed operation Green-hunt with hundreds of thousands of paramilitary forces, including killer brigades like Cobra, greyhound and special operation group backed by the India army. Operation Green-hunt is launched to grab land, forests, water, minis and other natural resources in resource-rich regions of Central and east India like Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhatisgarh. The National and International Corporations are out of grab the iron ore and other mineral resources of Bastar, which the local Adivasis are resisting to save their homes, livelihoods and habitat. Salwa Judum has displaced more than two lakh Adivasis from 250 villages in Bastar to hand over the mines to the Corporates. Continue reading

Political Geography of Special Economic Zones in India–and Mass Resistance


Mass rally against petrochemical plant in Nandigram, West Bengal–this movement was successful in stopping the project

October 27, 2010

By Partho Sarathi Ray, Sanhati

Summary: We found from the geographical distribution of SEZs in India that SEZs have been set up near the big cities, on fertile agricultural land, in coastal areas and in areas rich in water resources, and in the states where the governments have been most aggressively following neo-liberal economic policies. This dispels several myths, for example the fact that SEZs will build new infrastructure in the interior.

In addition to the clusters, there are also vacua: we see how a spectrum of peoples’ struggles, ranging from the legal methods used in Goa, to the peaceful protests by the villagers of Jagatsinhpur in Orissa against the POSCO SEZ, to the armed struggle being waged in large parts of east-central India, has been able to stop the establishment of SEZs in large portions of the country.

Five years have passed since the first United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government passed the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) Act in 2005. In these five years 111 SEZs have started functioning in different parts of the country, 353 have been notified and 574 have received in principle approvals from the government. Altogether 1083 SEZs, in different phases of development today, represent the most naked form of aggression by neo-liberal capital in India. This huge number of SEZs is unprecedented in any other country in the world. 1.5 lakh hectares (3.75 lakh acres, 1 lakh = 100,000) of land has been acquired, or is in the process of acquisition, for the setting up of these SEZs.

It has been calculated that around 2.7% of the total arable land in India is in the process of being diverted to SEZs. This number might not sound large in itself, but considering the pressure on agricultural land in India, and the precarious condition of food security of a large section of our population, diversion of such a proportion of agricultural land to non-agricultural purposes might spell disaster, especially under conditions when normal agricultural production is affected, for example when the monsoon fails, as has happened in some parts of India this year. Continue reading

India: The Historic Struggles in Singur and Nandigram Against Displacement and Special Economic Zones

“In the name of development”

(English subtitled) 44:59

On the people’s historic struggles against the acquisition of fertile farm land by big Corporations, focused on Singur and Nandigram. The film is directed by Partha Sarathi Banerjee.  The film is in বাংলা (Bengali) but has English subtitles.

Fact-Finding Report on the Anti-Displacement Movement in India

Villagers man checkpoint to keep out government and company officials at site of planned POSCO plant in Jagatsinghpur, Orissa.

Over the past three years, there have been a number of particularly significant victories by the anti-displacement movement in India:  In West Bengal at Nandigram (Dow Chemical), Singur (Tata Motors), Salboni (Jindal Steel); in a number of places in Jharkhand; and now the historic victory at Vedanta’s proposed bauxite mine at Niyamgiri, Orissa.

In the summer of 2008, US activist David Pugh travelled to five states in India to report on the anti-displacement movement, including the intense ongoing battles against US and South Korean owned POSCO, and against Tata Steel in Kalinga Nagar, both in Orissa. Below is the complete report on his fact finding trip.

by David Pugh

I recently spent three weeks gathering information about the anti-displacement movement in India. I traveled to India on this fact finding mission in my capacity as a member of the Initiative Committee of the International Campaign Against Forced Displacement that was launched in June 2008 by the International League of Peoples’ Struggle.

As a guest of Visthapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan, I traveled across five states in central and eastern India visiting the sites of proposed industrial and mining projects, Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and real estate developments.  I spoke with hundreds of villagers who are threatened with displacement and with many dedicated activists who are helping to organize the people’s resistance.

The villagers I spoke to, tribals, dalits and members of “other backward castes,” told me that the lives of their families are at stake.  Rapacious industrial and mining enterprises, supported by the state and central governments, are trying to grab fertile agricultural land. When bribery doesn’t work, the industrialists and government officials have sent in the police and hired outside goons to terrorize the villagers into submission. Continue reading