The reason why I think 1984 and 2002 are horrible situations in India is because that clearly showed that the state turned on its own citizens. I am sadly cognizant of the fact that Hindu's and Muslims will riot and local leaders do these things.
But as long as the state is clearly not involved and punishes the perpetrators, that's the pragmatic best you can get to!. Unfortunately, we keep on seeing this absolutely disgusting behaviour that the state actively encourages and participates in violence against its own citizens for narrow ideological reasons.
Whether it is religion (BJP and its assorted morons doing this stuff in 2002), secular pure party politics (Congress and its assorted corrupt goons in 1984), or the left (CPI-M and its red goons in 2007), they are all the same, they are doing the same thing, same old murder and rape.
Now in 2007, we see the same in West Bengal, the home of the people, the place where land reform was furthest advanced, where the Chief Minister is feted for bringing in foreign investment and popularising the IT sector. (see the similarities with Gujarat and how the Gujarat CM was feted as well? remember how Modi said about action versus reaction and Buddha saying payback in same coin?).
And now in Nandigram, you have disciplined foot soldiers (only in this time, they are wearing communist red instead of wearing the Hindu red), raping and pillaging. Men, women and children not safe. Police fully involved in shooting innocents. And then the political leadership has the gall to point to dispossessed people as being the cause of their own deaths.
The party which is supposed to be the supporter of the people, dalits, minorities and the like has merrily went about shooting them. 10,000 people are homeless. The area has been described as a war zone. While the number of deaths has not been confirmed (estimates range from 600 to 20 odd deaths) What is this? Why are these communists running riot? And what on earth is the central government not doing anything despite the fact that the Governor of the West Bengal State condemning the state driven violence.
There is a very good reason why the communists rule over one of the two states with near about 100% literacy in India. Their land reform, education and pro-poor policies are perhaps one of the primary reasons why even in this day and age, Communists rule the roost in West Bengal.
Mind you, the current Chief Minister is doing all he can to be capitalist, he is removing labour regulations which remove the right to strike from West Bengal based IT industrial units, he is busy using eminent domain laws to take land away from farmers and reclassify them as Special Export Zones, and so on and so forth which is driving the un-reconstructed left absolutely batty.
But do not forget that underlying all this is a totalitarian ideology. Just like China is capitalist in all but name, and all for the sake of "THE party", same in West Bengal. For the sake of the party, they will not take any prisoners and the very people they profess to represent are ruthlessly squelched. The various CPI-M leaders are spectacularly arrogant and bolshie (pun intended - bolshevism - Communism - geddit???!).
Curiously enough and I think this is bit symptomatic of the elitist media (and I am not making this generalisation lightly as I belong in that category as well!) in India as well as abroad, that the coverage of this incident in West Bengal is still being treated differently from that of 2002 or 1984, all state sponsored pogroms.
What people do not realise is that when you are not fair and unbiased, with malice towards one and all, then you give space for your words to be ignored, to be accused of hypocrisy and finally give rise to extreme ideologies. We have to be against any form of violence, do not really care about who does it. Still, a large number of commentators have rightly castigated both CM's such as in here, here, here etc.
But what further gives rise to hope is the fact that the Indian Judiciary is on the case. Ruling on a previous incident, it said:
In a major setback for the West Bengal government, the Calcutta High Court on Friday ruled that the police firing in Nandigram on March 14 was wholly unconstitutional and could not be justified under any provision of the law.
The police and CPI(M) cadres had fired indiscriminately at villagers protesting against the state government’s attempt to acquire their lands to set up a special economic zone in Nandigram. At least 14 people were shot down, 162 persons injured and 33 women filed complaints of rape.
The irony is that two Chief Ministers, who are pushing forward with economic reform, improving infrastructure, and so on and so forth, are the ones who are also having murderers and goons operating under totalitarian ideologies, one far left and one far right. The communists blamed the Maoists. But that still does not justify the violence perpetrated by the party members. May they rot in hell. No, actually, may all their progeny become capitalist call centre members and they be condemned to read Ayn Rand in jail. I wonder if we can do this to these two sets of murderers and goons?
But joking aside, I hope the court throws these murderers into jail and let them rot!
PS: check out this report of an independent inquiry on Nandigram, 978-81-89654-44-3,