Kolkata Mar 12: To honour the victims of police firing in the Nandigram area of East Midnapore district March 2007, the West Bengal government Monday announced that from this year, March 14 will be commemorated as ‘Krishak Divas’ (Farmers’ Day) in the state.
As in earlier years, Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee will visit Nandigram on the anniversary of the firing, on Wednesday.
‘From this year March 14 or Nandigram day will be observed as Krishak Divas in the state. I will start it from this year. I will visit Nandigram on that day,’ she said.
‘Our Maa Mati Manush (Banerjee’s political slogan signifying mother, soil and people)will observe this day. Because we are a pro-farmer government, we will provide farmers their due honour and respect,’ she said.
‘From next year it will be commemorated in a much bigger way. This is a historic decision,’ Banerjee said.
Police firing on anti-land acquisition protesters in Nandigram on March 14, 2007, resulted in the death of 14 people, while several others sustained injuries.
The resultant outcry saw peasants and the civil society rallying around Banerjee against the left Front, whose popularity started declining and it finally lost power to a Trinamool-led alliance in last year’s assembly polls.
The Left Front was forced to beat a retreat in Nandigarm in 2007 when locals vehemently opposed a proposed chemical hub for which large chunks of land were being acquired.
The resentment ballooned into a violent agitation, literally converting Nandigram into a war zone.
The state government scrapped the project but dispatched police forces to restore law and order, which led to the firing March 14, 2007.
With the Trinamool Congress government facing severe criticism over the ongoing suicides of framers in the state due alleged agricultural mismanagement, Banerjee’s decision to observe March 14 as Krishak Divas seems to be a ploy to embarrass the opposition Left Front who have recently hit the streets on the issue of farmer suicides.