ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

A+| A| A-

Land Struggle in Singur


Unequal Compensation to Victims

hile condemning terrorism in absolute terms, the tendency to treat Muslims as the only people who could be perpetrators of all terrorist acts must be deplored. Not only sections of the media but most often personnel of the investigating and other law-enforcement agencies of governments, which claim to be secular, betray this tendency – even in the face of the glaring example of a terrorist act of demolition of the Babri masjid by Hindutva forces.

The choice of the site and timing at Malegaon on September 8 makes it obvious that it is the result of the diabolical design of anti-Muslim forces to avenge the loss of lives in the Mumbai blasts and earlier incidents in which the victims were mostly Hindus. There is a need for human rights groups and peace activists to raise the demand of bringing all Hindu extremist leaders and organisations that have been openly preaching and practising violence, under investigation.

Can there be a secular state without secular justice? The compensation announced by the government for each life lost in Malegaon, the majority of whom are Muslims, is just one-fifth of that given to the victims of the Mumbai blasts, the majority of whom were Hindus. Is it that Manu’s laws are still in operation in India? Such a glaring disparity in according ex gratia compensation to victims of violence is the rule in India, not an exception. Will any group ask the home ministry to provide full information on compensation paid to victims of various massacres, pogroms and riots and explain the reasons for disparity in payment of compensation, which has ranged between 1:100 and even more. The National Commission on Minorities has failed to provide a comparative statement even four months after our request in just a few cases: Nellie (Assam) (1983), Delhi (1984), Hashimpura (Meerut) (1987), Gujarat 2002, Marad (Kerala) 2004, that we had asked for.

The Mumbai bomb blasts occurred in July 2006 and the Malegaon blasts in September 2006. Why this disparity of 5:1? What an irony, that almost the same day prime minister Manmohan Singh sends missives to chief ministers for fairness to Muslims, ensuring their due share in national life under the prime minister’s 15 Point Programme.

The secular intellectual class must ask the question: What has the Indian state done to ensure to Muslims equality of status and opportunity, and effective equality before the law?


Secretary General, Minorities Council


Land Struggle in Singur

he recent decision of the West Bengal government to transfer roughly 1,000 acres of agricultural land to the Tata group for construction of a car manufacturing factory in the Singur area of Hooghly district is being resisted by the local population. So far, only a small section has voluntarily transferred its land to the BDO. It is alleged by the local people that this section represents absentee upper caste landowners who live in Kolkata and land is not the main source of their income. The lower castes and the adivasis of this area are mainly ‘bargadars’ and agricultural labourers.

Singur is a fertile agricultural region. Even agricultural workers from the neighbouring district of Burdwan (which itself is a fertile region) come to Singur to earn their livelihood.The depeasantisation policy of the government will lead to loss of sources of livelihood of the local population. It is ironic that this is the same Left Front

(Continued on p 4088)




Six One Two Three months year years years

Institutions – 1250 2300 3300 Individuals 500 935 1750 2500

Concessional Rates

Teachers/Researchers – 685 – 1800 Students – 450 – –

Concessional rates are available only in India. To avail of concessional rates, certificate from relevant institution is essential. Remittance by money order/bank draft preferred. Please add Rs 35 to outstation cheques towards bank collection charges.

Nepal and Bhutan

Institutions – 1500 – 4150 Individuals – 1250 – 3500


(US $)

Air Mail Surface Mail


1yr 2yrs 3yrs 1yr 2yrs 3yrs Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh 80 150 200 65 120 175 Other countries 150 275 375 90 170 240

Individuals Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh 50 90 125 30 50 75 Other countries 100 175 240 65 120 170

All remittances to:

Economic and Political Weekly

Economic and Political Weekly

Hitkari House, 284 Shahid Bhagatsingh Road, Mumbai 400 001 Phones: 2269 6072/73 Fax: (022) 2269 6072 Editor (December 1969-January 2004) : Krishna Raj

Editor : C Rammanohar Reddy

Deputy Editor : Bernard D’Mello

Senior Assistant Editors : Anuradha Kumar, Lina Mathias, Sheba Tejani, Bharati Bhargava (Delhi)

Editorial Staff : Prabha Pillai

Editorial Assistant : P S Leela

Editorial Consultant : Gautam Navlakha (Delhi)

Circulation : Gauraang Pradhan (Manager), B S Sharma

Advertisement Manager : Kamal G Fanibanda

General Manager and Publisher : K Vijayakumar

EPW Research Foundation

C 212, Akurli Industrial Estate, Kandivali (East) Mumbai 400 101, Phones: 2887 3038/3041 Fax: (022) 2887 3038.

Director : S L Shetty

Economic and Political Weekly September 23, 2006


(Continued from p 3994)

government that strengthened its support in rural Bengal by giving some legal rights to bargadars and agricultural labourers in the early years of its rule.

It is significant that the women of Gopalnagar, Beraberi and KGD gram panchayat areas of Singur are playing a prominent role in the land struggle. The women of many landless families in Singur depend on rearing cows and goats for their livelihood. The transformation of agricultural land into industrial estate will lead to loss of many such land-dependent supplementary livelihoods.



Bt Cotton

his is regarding the article on Bt cotton (‘Is Bt Cotton Cultivation Economically Viable for Indian Farmers? An Empirical Analysis’, June 30). The article is an excellent example of reductionist thinking being applied beyond the realms of comprehension. The authors have not studied and commented on (i) demand for Bt cotton by the textile industry with respect to staple length, and the price of Bt cotton vs that of Indian extra long staple cotton; (ii) the effect on food crops grown in close proximity to Bt cotton; (iii) the long-term effect of genus-jumping within and without the species with respect to the patents regarding the Bt technology; and

(iv) the effects of Bt entering the food chain since in India the plant and the seed are used for cattle feed and the seed is pressed for cotton seed oil.

Any study/research/propagation of the Bt technology must be done in context. Looking at the profit margins of Bt technology and suggesting policy is not an irresponsible argument.

Many of the suggestions given by the authors seem disconnected from reality. The reality of Indian agriculture is much too complex and is so closely intertwined with our lives and culture that to isolate the monetary aspect of a certain technology from the whole is inappropriate.



Notes to Contributors

Here are some guidelines fortake up to six to eight months from the address, day-time phone numbers andauthors who wish to make date of acceptance to appear in the email address. submissions to the journal. EPW. Every effort will, however, be made (The email address of writers in the Special

to ensure early publication. Papers with Article, Commentary and Discussion

Special Articles

immediate relevance for policy would be sections will be published at the end ofEPW welcomes original research papers considered for early publication. Please the article.)

in any of the social sciences.

note that this is a matter of editorial * Authors are requested to prepare their

* Articles must be no more than 8,000

judgment. soft copy versions in text formats. PDF

words, including notes, references

versions are not accepted by the EPW.

and tables. Longer articles will not be Commentaries

Authors are encouraged to use UK Englishprocessed. EPW invites short contributions to the spellings (Writers using MS Word or

  • * Contributions should be sent in a hard ‘Commentary’ section on topical social, similar software could change thecopy format accompanied by a floppy/ economic and political developments. These appropriate settings in the LanguageCD version. A soft copy can also be should ideally be between 1,000 and 2,500 menu of the application).sent by email. Hard and soft copy words and exclusive to the EPW. * Contributors are requested to send articlesversions of articles are essential for Short contributions may be sent by email. that are complete in all respects, includingprocessing. references, as this facilitates quicker
  • * Special articles should be Book Reviews processing. accompanied by an abstract of a EPW sends out books for review. It does * When there are major developments in
  • maximum of 150-200 words. not normally accept unsolicited reviews. the field of study after the first submission,
  • * Papers should not have been However, all reviews that are received are authors can send a revised version. simultaneously submitted for publication read with interest and where a book has not EPW requests writers not to send to another journal or newspaper. If the been sent out for review, the unsolicited review revised versions based on stylistic paper has appeared earlier in a different is on occasion considered for publication. changes/additions, deletions of version, we would appreciate a copy of references, minor changes, etc, as this
  • Letters

    this along with the submitted paper. poses challenges in processing.

    Readers of EPW are encouraged to send comments and suggestions (300-400 words)

    * Graphs and charts prepared in MS * All submissions will be acknowledged

    Office (Word/Excel) or equivalent software immediately on receipt with a reference

    on published articles to the Letters column. number. Quoting the reference numberare preferable to material prepared in

    All letters should have the writer’s full name in inquiries will help.

    jpeg or other formats.

    and postal address. * EPW posts all published articles on its web site and may reproduce them on CDs.

    * Every effort is taken to complete early

    processing of the papers we receive.


    Since we receive more than 35 articles Address for communication:

    EPW encourages researchers to comment

    every week and adequate time has to be Economic and Political Weekly,

    on Special Articles. Submissions should be

    provided for internal reading and external Hitkari House,

    1,000 to 2,000 words.

    refereeing. It can take up to four 284 Shahid Bhagatsingh Road, months for a final decision on whether General Guidelines Mumbai 400 001, India. the paper is accepted for publication. * Writers are requested to provide full Email:,

    * Articles accepted for publication can details for correspondence: postal

    Economic and Political Weekly September 23, 2006

    Dear Reader,

    To continue reading, become a subscriber.

    Explore our attractive subscription offers.

    Click here

    Back to Top