The Campaign for Survival and Dignity joins other people's movements, human rights groups and progressive political forces in condemning the massacre that occurred yesterday in Nandigram, West Bengal. Estimates of the number of those who have died range anywhere from ten to fifty or more; and the situation is still reportedly tense throughout the area.

The Campaign condemns this inhuman repression against the protesters of Nandigram. Reports say that more than 5000 police were sent into the area yesterday in the face of a two month old blockade by the local protest committee. Claims are being made by the West Bengal government and leaders of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) that the 'violence' was the result of actions by 'Maoists', but such claims ring hollow and echo the standard excuses used by governments across India when their police forces indulge in repression. Notwithstanding efforts to reduce this to a party battle between the CPI(M) and the Trinamool Congress, the real nature of the Nandigram conflict should not be forgotten; it was and is essentially about the seizure of land for a Special Economic Zone, and the resistance to this project.

But the Left Front government has opted for massacre instead of dialogue, and for a bloodbath instead of democracy. This is an atrocity against both the people of the area and Left politics itself.

Hence we demand that:

It is a tragedy that Nandigram, an old bastion of the struggle for land, should be the theatre of a bloodbath. But the Nandigram clash is no isolated incident. It is a part of a groundswell of popular anger and resistance against SEZ's and neoliberal policies across every corner of this country. It is time that the ruling class reads the writing on the wall and withdraws from its efforts to sell our resources and our people's rights in the name of "economic growth." No amount of sophistry can disguise what happened in Nandigram yesterday; and no amount of reasoning can justify it.

On behalf of the Convening Collective