Friday, March 20, 2009

Oh, for governors like these!

Questioning the use of police force, West Bengal Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi said he was 'shocked and outraged' by the events at Nandigram where police firing killed 14 villagers Wednesday after cops clashed with protestors resisting land acquisition for a special economic zone (SEZ).

'The news of deaths by police firing in Nandigram this morning has filled me with a sense of cold horror. We will soon know more details of the sequence of events that led to this tragedy,' he said in a statement.He said the 'point uppermost in my mind is not who started it but who provoked it or whether there were agent provocateurs behind it,' he said.

'Investigations will reveal the thought in my mind - and of all sensitive people - about whether this spilling of human blood is not avoidable? What is the public purpose served by the use of force that we have witnessed today?' he said.

'Force against anti-national elements, terrorists, extremists, insurgents, is one thing. The receiving end of the force used today does not belong to that order,' he added.

'What I advised the government over the last two days, as I received inputs of rising tension in Nandigram, government knows. It is not my intention to enter into blame-fixing,' Gandhi said, making it clear that he had warned of such a situation.

'But I cannot be so casual to the oath I have taken as to restrict my reaction to a pious expression of anguish and outrage. I trust the government will not only go into the whys and wherefores of this tragic occurrence but will also ensure that it leaves no room for a repetition of the kind of trauma witnessed today,' he said.

'I leave it to the conscience of officials responsible to atone for the event in the manner they deem fit. But I also expect the government to do what it thinks is necessary to mitigate the effects of this bitter March 14, and to do it visible and fast,' he said.

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