Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Tata, WBIDC officials heckled near Singur, cars smashed


KOLKATA, JAN 15 : Officials of Tata Motors and West Bengal Industrial Development Corp were manhandled and their cars damaged near Singur, allegedly by members of the Trinamool Congress-backed Krishi Jami Banchao Committee, on Monday.

The incident took place at Shanapara crossing on the Durgapur Expressway near Singur, at around 11.30 am, when the officials were returning from Gopalnagar village panchayat office. Supratim Sarkar, Hooghly district police superintendent, said, “The officers had gone to Gopalnagar to distribute train tickets for a tour of Jamshedpur for the village panchayat members of Singur. The officers were able to lock themselves inside the cars, which were surrounded by villagers armed with lathis. Our preliminary information suggests that the Singur Krishi Jami Banchao Committee is behind this.” When contacted, Tata Motors officials remained tightlipped. Debasish Roy, chief of communications, refused to comment.

“There was a commotion in Shanapara area on Durgapur Expressway and officials of Tata company and WBIDC were manhandled, and their cars partially damaged. There was a police escort with the cars and reinforcements were also poured in as fast as possible to control the mob. I talked with the victims, but no written complaint has been filed with us,” said said Priyabrata Bakshi, officer-in-charge of Singur police station, who visited the spot.

“We were protesting the land acquisition by the state government for Tata Motors. We will not allow them to work here. We will stop anyone from the company visiting the site. There have been numerous complaints against me in the police station. This incident will add another one,” said Becharam Manna, convenor of the Krishi Jami Banchao Committee.

According to the police, two cars carrying SB Suryavanshi, a community development official of Tata Motors, along with Apurba Bannerjee of WBIDC and other officers, were travelling escorted by a police jeep.

The incident took place as the cars approached Shanapara. A group of 100 villagers stopped the cars and gheraoed the officials, chanting anti-government and anti-Tata slogans.

The policemen escorting the cars tried to control the mob, but failed. The mob, armed with lathis, lobbed stones and damaged portions of the car and assaulted the Tata


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