Rights group for special court to try Nandigram offenders


Kolkata : A People's Tribunal on Nandigram, an initiative of a civil liberty group, Monday recommended the setting up of a special court to ensure speedy justice in cases of rights violations in the trouble-torn region where violence broke out since early January over a Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

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The Tribunal, organised by the All India Citizens Initiative, heard depositions from victims, witnesses, social activists, intellectuals, doctors, human rights groups and other concerned organisations in both Nandigram and Kolkata for three days since Saturday.

The tribunal was headed by S.N. Bhargava, former chief justice of the Sikkim High Court.

Tribunal members, veteran journalist Prabhash Joshi, social activist Lalita Ramdas, National Integration Council member John Dayal and psychiatrist Jyotirmoy Samajder, visited the site of police firing of March 14 that killed 14 people and injured hundreds besides other places in Nandigram to understand the circumstances and nature of the violence.

"However, East Midnapore district magistrate Anup Agarwal has issued a letter to the organisers of the Tribunal asking under what 'law of the land' such a tribunal was being organised," said a statement by the organisation.

"The All India Citizen's Initiative in its reply said that the Tribunal had been organised under Article 51 of the constitution, which calls upon every citizen of India to promote harmony and spirit of brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic, regional and social diversities," it said.

The Tribunal received over 39 oral and 142 written depositions at the hearings held at primary schools in Gokulnagar and Sonachura and the University Institute Hall in Kolkata.

It concluded that there were grave violations of human rights in Nandigram besides a disturbingly large number of reports of sexual violence against women.

It also called for an urgent need for a thorough, independent investigation of the events of March 14 besides reaching immediate medical attention for many and compensation for the victims.