SC asks Tata group to return land to farmers: Singur celeberates one victory, another fight still on

As Singur celebrated a Supreme Court verdict Wednesday, the parents of Tapasi Malik stressed that they are waiting for justice for her too.

“It is a big win, thanks to our relentless struggle for the last 10 years led by Mamata Banerjee,” Tapasi’s father, Manoranjan Malik, said of the verdict that struck down the acquisition of land by the Left Front government in 2006 for a Tata Motors factory, which never took off. Tapasi’s body was found charred that year, during the agitation against the factory.

“The next step will be punishment for those who were responsible for my daughter’s death. If there is a death in a family, one tends to forget it with time, but the wound of my daughter’s death has remained fresh as I have had to narrate it thousands of times at political meetings,” said Malik, once a fish seller and now a full-time Trinamool Congress member.

“My wife and I have lived Tapasi’s death every day all these years,” he said, his eyes welling up as he and his wife paid homage to a martyr’s dome put up for Tapasi.

The agitation converted Himadre Patra of Singur from a farmer into an agent for land mutation and conversion. His 3.5 bighas near the project site had been taken over by the government. “I joined the movement and with time, as I had no other work to do, I learnt the procedure of mutation and conversion. Now I earn my living through that, which is a lot more than I used to as a farmer,” he said before speeding off on a new two-wheeler. His son studies BSc at Burdwan University.

At the Trinamool Congress office and on the streets, supporters smeared each other in Gulal. Singur MLA Rabindranath Bhattacharjee dedicated the court victory to all farmers of India. At the same time, he did not rule out the possibility of an industrial unit coming up at the same place. “Mamata’s government is more humane. We are not against industrialisation but our approach is more compassionate,” Rabindranath said. “An industrial unit may be set up here and we will talk to several industrialists, including the Tatas. We don’t feel vindictive against them.”

Becharam Manna, party MLA from the adjoining Haripal constituency, was incessantly on his phone, mostly saying “Thank you” and hanging up.

“We had to wait a long time, but that has been the story of mass movements across the world. It is a glowing example of ‘justice delayed but not denied’,” he said.

Manik Das was part of the Singur Krishi Jami Raksha Committee that agitated against the acquisition. He said it was a victory for people like Tapasi and Rajkumar Bul, who too had died. “We had to pay with the lives of Tapasi and Rajkumar against the atrocities of the Left Front government. We are grateful to the Supreme Court, Mamata and the people of Singur who gave all they had to the fight,” he said.

Another farmer, who did not wish to be named, said he made a double gain: he had accepted a cheque from the government, and now he expects his land back after the court verdict. A victory rally will be taken out Thursday.

Source: Express News Service

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