Sri Sri offers healing touch to Nandigram victims


Kolkata : People in Nandigram are worn out and scared to even “open their mouths”, spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said after a visit to West Bengal’s combat zone where he met hundreds of villagers trying to come to terms with the violence allegedly unleashed by the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) in its bid to recapture lost bases.

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Offering a healing touch, Ravi Shankar visited relief camps in the troubled area Tuesday and spent the day in relief camps and in villages in the area meeting victims of the violence that had left not just physical but also mental scars.

“I have never seen such fear-psychosis even during the tsunami. People are so scared that they don’t want to open their mouths in front of anybody. Most of the villages were deserted. It’s a very bad experience and we should never repeat such inhuman episode,” Ravi Shankar said at a press conference here Tuesday night after returning from Nandigram, located 150 km from here in East Midnapore district.

“Schools have been shut down due to continuing violence. Normal life has stopped in Nandigram. No political party can restore peace there it seems,” he said.

According to him, the only way to bring back normalcy was to build confidence among all the villagers. “I think only apolitical organisations can play a vital role in restoring peace there.”

Ravi Shankar went to Nandigram’s BMT Shikshaniketan relief camp and market where he distributed saris, warm clothes, fruits and dry food to nearly 1,200 inmates.

He also went to Sonachura village and distributed relief material among the few who are still staying in their damaged houses as well as a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) camp in the village where he blessed police personnel.

“I would love to meet West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee if I get an appointment. I wish I could bring them across the table to begin a peace process in Nandigram. Peace cannot come overnight but it’s possible through a healing touch,” he said, adding that his organisation runs a school at Sonachura and health check-up camps in the village.

“I walked several kilometres and went inside Sonachura, Gokulnagar and Tomluk to see the exact situation. Villagers said that they are worn out and don’t want war anymore in Nandigram. Enough is enough,” he said.

The state government should take action to eradicate the fear psychosis among thousand of villagers and try to restore human values there.

The visit was conducted by International Association for Human Values (IAHV), a sister organisation of Art of Living Foundation, of which Ravi Shankar is a co-founder along with Nobel Peace Laureate Dalai Lama.

IAHV along with the Art of Living Foundation is one of the largest volunteer-based organisations with a membership of over 20 million people in 140 countries. The organisation also works in special consultative status with the Economic, Social and Cultural Council (Ecosoc) of the United Nations in various activities like health and conflict resolution.

Violence in Nandigram has claimed 34 lives since January this year, when the region flared up over proposed land acquisition for a special economic zone (SEZ). The state government scrapped the plan later in the face of stiff resistance.

Since then a turf battle between the CPI-M and the BUPC-backed by Trinamool Congress continued, with heavily armed CPI-M supporters the aggressor and apparent victor in the latest round.