Sunday, January 7, 2007

Bengal farmers take war to Nandigram

Bengal farmers take war to Nandigram

Nandigram, West Bengal: Nandigram has emerged as a new battlefront over Special Economic Zone and this time the battle has turned out to be bloodier than Singur, where farmers and activists have been fighting a turf war with the West Bengal Government over the proposed car plant of Tata Motors.

Nandigram witnessed a seesaw battle on early Sunday morning between CPM supporters and protesting farmers, who were resisting land acquisitions for setting up an SEZ for the Salim group of Indonesia.

Five people were killed and six injured as violence gripped the sleepy village in East Midnapore district following reports that land acqusition notices were being served on the farmers.

Unofficial reports put the toll at nine, including seven Trinamool Congress and two CPI(M) supporters. District Magistrate (East Midnapore) Anup Agarwal told PTI that the situation is 'fiery' and a large contingent of police has been sent to the area to take control of the situation.

The farmers were part of the land eviction resistance body, called Bhumi Uchched Raksha Committee. The clash broke out early on Sunday morning when CPM supporters took on the protesting farmers.

Indiscriminate bomb attacks and firing started in the early hours. One Bharat Mandal of Trinamool Congress was the first victim. He was rushed to Nandigram Hospital on Sunday morning, but was declared dead. Tension started brewing and the irate crowd lynched Bhudeb Mandal, a CPI(M) activist, in a retaliatory measure.

The land eviction resistance committee, led by the Trinamool Congress, called for a 12-hour bandh in both East and West Midanpore districts on Sunday. The Congress has also called for a 24-hour bandh on Monday to protest the violence. Senior police officials have rushed to the spot.

Though the state government has not issued a notification for land acquisition in Nandigram, the situation has been volatile ever since last week as farmers took to the streets to voice their protest.


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