Singur: The story of a decade-old struggle

The Supreme Court on Wednesday termed the 2006 acquisition of nearly 1,000 acres of land in West Bengal’s Singur district illegal and void and asked the state government to return the land within 12 weeks

Singur is a small town in the Hoogly district located in India's eastern state of West Bengal.

Singur is a small town in the Hoogly district located in India's eastern state of West Bengal. On May 18, 2006, Ratan Tata, the erstwhile chairman of the Tata group, announced small car 'Nano' project at Singur. (WION)

Soon after Tata’s announcement of the Nano car project, farmers started demonstrating over "forcible" acquisition of land for the proposed car factory

Soon after Tata’s announcement of the Nano car project, farmers started demonstrating over "forcible" acquisition of land for the proposed car factory. The West Bengal government, using the 1894 land acquisition act, initiated the process of acquiring 997 acres of cultivable land from farmers. (WION)

The situation became mercurial from December 2006 when Trinamool Congress party chief Mamata Banerjee started a hunger-strike.

The situation became mercurial from December 2006. On the third of the month, Trinamool Congress party chief Mamata Banerjee started a hunger-strike in protest against the land acquisition. She and other protesters argued that the West Bengal government could not apply the 1894 Act because a government can only take private land for public use. Nano factory being a private business initiative fell outside the scope of the act (WION)

Between late December 2006 and summer of 2007, peace talks between the state government and Trinamool Congress failed.

Between late December 2006 and summer of 2007, peace talks between the state government and Trinamool Congress failed. The government refused to return the already acquired land to their rightful owners, leading to the escalation of protest. (WION)

Women at Singur played a pivotal role in the protest. They were fearless in demanding back their families’ lands.

Women at Singur played a pivotal role in the protest. They were fearless in demanding back their families’ lands. Some of them were brutally murdered for daring to protest against the ruling party in West Bengal. (WION)

Social and political activists, such as Mahasweta Devi and Medha Patekar, rushed to Singur in support of the farmers’ struggle.

Social and political activists, such as Mahasweta Devi and Medha Patekar, rushed to Singur in support of the farmers’ struggle against the state government’s forceful acquisition. (WION)

Singur movement witnessed an unprecedented coming together of political groups, human right activists, and intellectuals.

Singur movement witnessed an unprecedented coming together of different political groups, human right activists, and intellectuals from all creative fields. (WION)

In protest against police firing on unarmed farmers, thousands took to the streets of Kolkata-West Bengal’s capital city-marching in silence.

In protest against police firing on unarmed farmers, thousands took to the streets of Kolkata-West Bengal’s capital city-marching in silence and solidarity. (WION)

Jail going became a fanfare; not something to be intimidated about.

Jail going became a fanfare; not something to be intimidated about. (WION)

The movement in Singur engulfed not only the countryside, the spirit of protest spread across the state.

The movement in Singur engulfed not only the countryside, the spirit of protest spread across the state, involving students, common people, veteran activists, and artists among others. The movement’s main objection against the forceful acquisition of private land by the state has been upheld by a recent verdict of the Supreme Court. The highest court of law in India has ordered the state government of West Bengal to return land to their rightful owners who have not taken compensation from the Tatas within 12 weeks. (WION)