Leftist obstructionism of the nuclear deal was recently undercut by a series of ugly events in West Bengal state, a longtime Communist Party stronghold, in which members of the rural underclass were victimized.
Communist leaders in the state had set up Special Economic Zones, inspired by the Chinese model, to attract business interests after heavily pro-labor policies stalled the economy, but farmers refused to vacate lands designated for the project.
In March, the state government sent armed thugs and police to attack protesters in the village of Nandigram, where a chemical complex was to be built, leaving 14 persons dead.
When protests resumed last month, a second wave of attacks was ordered in which six persons were killed and almost 5,000 were displaced. A wave of anger swept across the country when party leaders declared the violence was “morally and legally” justified.
By Douglas Holtz-Eakin
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