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Friday, March 16, 2007

Tata Should Withdraw from Little China

We hear these stories from China - they trickle out because of news blackout of all things bad from Communists China. Local Communists party officials beat up farmers with the help of local thugs and police and confiscate land for development, a euphemism for building a factory, or office building, or a golf course.

It is an uneven battle. Party and government officials at the village, county, township and provincial levels use their power to exploit provisions in Chinese law that allow land confiscation in the name of the public interest. They retain a monopoly on deciding the public interest and the compensation.

The China Daily newspaper cited official estimates that nearly 10,000 square miles of farmland were transformed by development in 2003. Rice paddies became factories. Cabbage patches became apartment compounds. Wheat fields became golf courses. [Washington Post]

Bengal is proving to be a little China - beyound being a communist strong hold in India.

In the latest trouble in Nandigram, farmers protesting against land confiscation were shot at, apparently, by police according to official reports. Tata wants to built a factory to make low priced cars at this location. But the farmers don't want to sell their land. They have been protesting for months. And they have support from Mamata Bannerjee and other politicians, including some from BJP.

Now it turns out the doctors who are treating the patients from this police shooting incident say the bullets are not standard issue police bullets. The farmers were injured or killed from shot gun wounds - pellet spray, not a single bullet shot, or from crude pipe guns used by local thugs to settle political scores during election time. Here is Offstumped Yossarin's political analysis of the situation.

Communists have made a 180 degree turn. For three decades they used the same methods to terrorize political opposition and driving away sane people, causing decline of Bengal as industrial base, to retain power. Now they are using the same methods to turn Bengal into an industrial base.

The Save Land Committee, comprising cadres of Trinamool Congress, Congress, SUCI, BJP, Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind and even the CPI, locked horns with local CPM leaders, led by its MP and strongman Lakshman Seth of Haldia. CPI MLA Mohammad Illyas has been a staunch supporter of the Save Land Committee.

Lakshman Seth and his men had told the locals that their interests would be taken care of if land were to be acquired but not many believed them, resulting in desertions from the party rank and file. “Over the past two months, it was the same crisis of credibility that haunted the Save Land committee members who feared that Lakshman Seth would have the last word in Nandigram and not Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee,” said a CPM member in Chandipur near Nandigram.

In Nandigram, a CPM zonal committee member told The Indian Express that “the battle has assumed political dimensions”.

So when the state administration was told to “restore the rule of law” in Nandigram which since January had been sealed off by the Save Land Committee, the local CPM cadres followed the police to regain lost ground. This led to a pitched battle between the two sides.

In Kolkata, Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress called a 12-hour Bangla Bandh on March 16. Banerjee was on her way to Nandigram in the evening but CPM cadres had blocked the road at several points. Congress leader Subrata Mukhjerjee’s vehicle was attacked near Chandipur crossing and he was not allowed to visit Nandigram.

The vehicle carrying The Indian Express team was also attacked by local CPM cadres but no one was injured. [Indian Express]

Their methods are eerily similar to the Chinese communists. For decades communists thugs beating up people for the sake of revolution; since Chinese industrialization began the communists thugs, did a 180, to beat up people for the sake of building factories on confiscated land from poor farmers.

Tata, which makes everything from tea to lorries, always commends itself as clean, non-bribe paying Indian company with lot of tradition. If the doctors accounts are true, Tata should pullout from the venture and setup the factory at a different location away from Bengal to show the communists in Bengal that it's all for industrialization but not at any price.

Update: It's clearer that both sides were getting ready for a clash and the commie thugs were working hand in glove with the police during the clash.

In the villages of the region, The Indian Express team found improvised weapons by the roadside, among them crude single-shot firearms. It seems both sides — the CPM cadres and those with the Bhumi Uchched Pratirodh Committee — had been prepared for clashes.[Indian Express]