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Amnesty International visits Nandigram


Kolkata : A fact-finding team of international human rights body Amnesty International ended its two-day visit to West Bengal’s trouble-torn Nandigram Thursday.

The team comprised Justice (retd) S.N. Bhargava, former chief justice of Sikkim High Court, Vrinda Grover, Advocate, Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia researcher with the Human Rights Watch, and Mukul Sharma, director, Amnesty International India.

The team visited the worst affected Gokulnagar, Sonachura, Adhikaripara and other villages and spoke to people there to understand the atrocities perpetrated on them during the recapture operation of Nandigram by alleged Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).

Nandigram, located 150 km from Kolkata in East Midnapore district, has witnessed unabated violence since January this year when the region erupted over proposed land acquisition for a special economic zone (SEZ), including a chemical hub, diving the area into two warring groups – the ruling CPI-M and the newly formed Bhumi Uchched Pratirodh Committee (BUPC) backed by Trinamul Congress.

The Amnesty team also met the district magistrate and senior officials of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) deployed to maintain peace.

“We will express our views and place our recommendations to the appropriate authorities on our return,” Justice Bhargava said Thursday.

The team inquired into the events leading to the escalated violence in October-Novemeber 2007. It also inquired on the social and economic impacts of the violence and the violations of national and international human rights standards.

Meanwhile, former US attorney general Ramsay Clark also visited Nandigram Thursday.

Clark, who had criticised the state government for the violence, was accompanied by Senator Sarah Flounders and a US trade union leader Steve Kirschbaun.

They visited a refugee camp at the BMT High School there.

“We want to get first hand knowledge of the atrocities in this region,” Clark said.