NANDIGRAM: In a vicariously cruel incident, Trinamuli goons sought to set fire to Uttam Bera, local committee secretary of the Bhekutia unit of the CPI (M) at Nandigram alive, deep into the night of 1 March. In fortuitous circumstances, Uttam managed to escape what was a sure and terrible death awaiting him.
Uttam himself told us that he was alone in his one-and-a-half stories mathkotha mud hut on that fateful night, his wife having gone to her mother’s place with their only girl child. The roof of the mathkotha is an inevitable and traditional construct of thatched roofing material of dried straw and wooden chips to hold them together.
The arsonists would surreptitiously climb atop the roof as Uttam slept the deep slumber of a daily wage earner, and then quickly spread highly flammable spirits and kerosene plus petrol on the roof and on the wooden window sills. The whole ensemble burst into a ball of flame with a vicious hissing noise.
Uttam woke up with a start at the sudden change in temperature (nights are chilly yet in east Midnapore), and had the presence of mind, and the deep courage, to leap down to the ground floor by jumping though the fatal ring of fire that was his nearest window. He identified in the bright light, as his much-beloved self-fabricated house burnt to cinders, the Trinamuli goons who had come in their dozens and who could flee in the dark of the mid-night.
Uttam has been target for long, says CPI (M) leader of the district secretariat Ashok Guria for Uttam is a popular Party organiser. We recall with regret the series of murders the Trinamulis have committed in 2008 of CPI (M) workers at Nandigram since they won the rural polls in the district.
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Besides, Joydeb Paik of Sonachura was shot thrice on 5 August 2008 but he somehow managed to survive, although the wounds had left him half-a-man that he was as far as strength and stamina are concerned. Biman Basu, state secretary of the CPI (M) has castigated the attempted murder of Uttam Bera in strong language.
Elsewhere we learn that more than 300 CPI (M) workers and sympathisers have been driven from home and hearth of late by the right-left combination at Nandigram in the area of the Sonachura and Kalicharanpur Gram Panchayats in a shocking replay of the fateful weeks and months of 2007.