Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Bandh in Bengal: Firing at Nandigram, 11 deaths, claims minister

Bandh in Bengal: Firing at Nandigram, 11 deaths, claims minister


Nandigram(Kolkata), Jan 8: Life was partially affected by the violence marred opposition sponsored 24-hour Bangla bandh with 6 security personnel injured and more than 350 people arrested from different parts of the state. DIG (Midnapore Range) N R Babu confirmed that four policemen were injured in a clash with the villagers in Nandigram in East Midnapore district this morning.

Continued violence due to protests against land acquisition for a Special Economic Zone in West Bengal's East Midnapur district left at least ten policemen injured, four of them seriously, as security personnel fired in the air to ward off a stone-pelting crowd which also burnt down a CPI(M) office today.

Trouble began early in the morning when a large contingent of policemen tried to march into the Nandigram area, nearly 150 km south west of Kolkata, after their vehicles could not enter due to trenches dug on the roads.

He said police fired six rounds in the air when they were attacked by the members of the 'Bhumi Ucched Pratirodh Committee', (Committee Against Eviction) spearheading the agitation against the proposed land acquisition for the SEZ planned to be set up by Indonesia's Salim Group.

Police subsequently retreated to the Nandigram police station after being confronted by a stone-pelting mob.

The mob then set fire a CPI-M office at Dinabhandupur in the jurisdiction of Nandigram police station, Gupta said.

The entire area, which has witnessed repeated violence since January 3, when the problem first started, continued to be tense as the opposition-sponsored state-wide 24-hour bandh crippled life in the trouble-torn East Midnapore district.

Meanwhile, West Bengal Transport minister Subhas Chakraborty on Monday claimed that 11 people, including nine CPI-M workers had died in the violence at Nandigram in East Midnapore district over proposed land acquisition for a SEZ.

"I can tell you that 11 people have died. Nine of them belong to the CPI-M. I don't know about the other two," he told newsmen here.

The government has so far confirmed death of six persons in Sunday's violence at Nandigram.

Chakraborty, known to court controversy, ruled out involvement of outsiders in the violence as claimed by his party.

He claimed that crude bombs manufactured at nearby Contai were used during the violence.

"I have information that nearly 1,000 bombs were brought from a single place at Contai. If I can get the information sitting here, why can't the police?" he asked.

Trains services disrupted

An Eastern Railway spokesman said that suburban train services on Sealdah south section have been disrupted by the protestors who squatted on the tracks.

IGP (law and order) Raj Kanojia said the protestors disrupted suburban train services by throwing banana leafs on the overhead electric wires.

All the morning flights from N S C Bose International airport operated as scheduled and the situation at the airport was normal, said Airport Director V K Monga.

Both the Trinamool and the Congress made separate calls for the bandh to protest against Saturday night's violence in Nandigram where six people died in clashes between CPM cadres and farmers protesting land acquisition for a proposed special economic zone.

One partially charred body was found in Tekhali in Nandigram. The deceased was identified as Shankar Samanta, who had close associations with CPI(M) ranks.

At ground zero in Nandigram, protests and pickets are being organised by Trinamool backed local groups. Rapid action police forces have been kept on standby.

Link: http://www.centralchronicle.com/20070109/0901001.htm

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