Kolkata, Nov 8 (IANS) In a major jolt to West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, internationally acclaimed city-based filmmaker Aparna Sen Thursday boycotted the 13th Kolkata Film Festival organised by the state government to lodge her protest against violence in Nandigram. "She (Aparna Sen) has boycotted the festival to protest the continuing violence in Nandigram. This is a kind of self-censorship as we artistes are taking our own decision driven by our own conscience," noted playwright and actor Kaushik Sen told IANS.
"Aparna Sen is a big name and her move matters of all persons. So it sends a strong message to the government," Kaushik Sen said.
Aparna Sen and several others are part of the Artists, Cultural Activists and Intellectuals' Forum (ACAIF), which is spearheading a civil society movement against the ongoing political violence in Nandigram constituency.
While Aparna Sen has boycotted the inauguration of the festival on Nov 10, she declined to inaugurate the film market of the festival Thursday.
"Aparna Sen said she is heart-broken and perturbed by the Nandigram incidents and so she decided to take this stand since the festival is organised by the West Bengal government," ACAIF member Amitava Chatterjee said.
Several intellectuals, along with Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar, were attacked Thursday by supporters of the state's ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Thursday when Patkar was on way to trouble-torn Nandigarm.
Intellectuals under the banner of the ACAIF also held a demonstration at Gariahat in south Kolkata to protest fresh turmoil in Nandigram.
Medha Patkar assaulted on way to Nandigram
Thursday, 08 November , 2007, 17:41
Nandigram:Social activist Medha Patkar was on Thursday assaulted allegedly by CPI(M) activists at Kapaseberia in East Midnapore district while on her way to strife-torn Nandigram here.
There were CPI(M) men carrying red flags who blocked my car and some other vehicles which were going along with mine to Nandigram. I was hit on the face and they tried to pull my hair and was about to drag me out of the car," Patkar told PTI over phone from the spot.
Patkar said she and her associates squatted on the road in protest against the attack.
Inspector General of Police (Law and Order), West Bengal, Raj Kanojia said in Kolkata that one of the vehicles in Patkar's convoy was damaged.
Patkar said policemen escorting her convoy in four jeeps and a pilot car remained "silent spectators" and did not take any action when she was attacked.
She said social activist Anuradaha Talwar and intellectual Tarun Sanyal were also accompanying her to Nandigram in separate vehicles.
Describing the incident as "horrifying", she said, "It is unimaginable that a riot-like situation is existing and people in Nandigram are crying as the CPI(M) has started its operation for retrieving lost ground at Nandigram."
"How is it that as citizens of the country we will not be allowed to go to Nandigram ? It is unimaginable. Is this the kind of example of the state machinery functioning?"
"Peace-loving people of Nandigram are crying for help. What is going on in the name of development?" Patkar ask
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