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‘My son won’t return,but don’t want others to suffer similar fate’

For this 57-year-old Muslim housewife,who belongs to a conservative family in Nandigram’s Jadubari Chowk,her mission in life is to provide justice...

Written by Ravik Bhattacharya | Kolkata | Published: January 13, 2009 11:42:16 pm

For this 57-year-old Muslim housewife,who belongs to a conservative family in Nandigram’s Jadubari Chowk,her mission in life is to provide justice to the victims of police firing on March 14,2007 and the violence thereafter.

Firoza Bibi’s life took a devastating turn on that fateful day when she lost her son Sheikh Imdadul Islam (17) in the firing. Like many others,he was protesting against the acquisition of land for a chemical SEZ.

Now,her life has again taken a new turn — after a landslide victory,she has become a member of the state legislative Assembly. Firoza has trounced her rival Left Front candidate by a margin of 39,551 votes.

“My son will not come back. But I want to make sure no other family shares my fate. My mission is to provide justice to the victims of Nandigram violence. Hundreds have suffered injuries. The women,who were physically assaulted and raped,are awaiting justice. Despite the High Court’s decision,the state government has not yet paid a single penny as compensation,” said Firoza.

According to Firoza,she is prepared to face the state Assembly. “I know it will be hard since the state Government will not listen to me. But I can protest. They cannot rob me of my right to protest,” she said.

The victory seems to have turned Firoza into a seasoned politician overnight. She has already prepared a wishlist. “Apart from providing justice to the victims,I also plan to upgrade roads and basic infrastructure in my area. Providing drinking water is also on my agenda,” Firoza said.

At present,Trinamool MLA Suvendu Adhikary from neighbouring Contai is teaching Firoza how to conduct business in the House. “She is a fast learner,” said Adhikary.

The March 14 incident still fresh in her mind,Firoza said: “Our family has six bighas of land and we did not want to give it up. That day,my son just went to protest like many others in my village. In the evening,I heard the news that he had been shot and had died.”

An ardent supporter of the Trinamool Congress,this is not Firoza’s first tryst with politics. She had contested the panchayat polls in 1998 and lost.

She was chosen as the Trinamool Congress candidate for Nandigram by-elections after Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee decided to give the ticket to a family member of the victims of the police firing.

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