Monday, February 5, 2007

Battlefield Singur erupts yet again

SINGUR/KOLKATA: In a fresh spurt of violence, Naxalites and SUCI members, backed by a group of villagers including women, torched five and uprooted more than 30 posts surrounding the Tata Motors' small-car factory site in Singur on Sunday. They clashed with the police, in intervals that continued till late Sunday evening at Bajemelia, against the Buddhadeb government's land acquisition drive. The police fired tear-gas shells and also used rubber bullets to disperse the mob that took shelter in the villages only to come back a little later with household articles and kerosene.

Trouble broke out at 11 in the morning when a motley crowd headed towards the fencing from three different points. Paschimbanga Ganatantrik Mahila Khetmajoor Samity president Anuradha Talwar led a group of 75-100 protesting villagers. Naxal leader Amitava Bhattacharya was leading a rally, while Becharam Manna, convener of the Singur Krishi Jami Raksha Committee organised another rally at Bajemelia. CPI(M-L) activists were also with him.

The policemen on duty were few in numbers. And before a huge police force from the Durgapur Expressway camp could reach the spot, the protesters led by women clashed with the police with brickbats and started torching the posts along the fencing and uprooted many of them. "The government can't take away our lands at gunpoint," one of the protesters said.

Eight cops were injured in the clash, Hooghly SP Supratim Sarkar said. The protesters had sneaked into the villages on Saturday late night and held a secret meeting with the villagers, apparently without the knowledge of the district administration. Interestingly, the district intelligence branch and West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation officials had warned the district administration of a fresh confrontation. Mamata will go to Singur on Monday and Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind's Sidiquallah Chowdhury is planning a stir in Singur on February 7, the CPM is planning a gathering on February 10.


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