Update: Outsiders adding fuel to the protest must be immediately arrested.
Kolkata: Chief minister Mamata Banerjee held a high level meet with top police officials on the raging issue of violent clashes in Bhangar. She enquired about the current scenario and also expressed concerns as to why the rift continues even after the construction work has been stopped.
In the meeting with DG Surajit Purakayasta , ADG in Bhawani Bhavan, she sought a report from the security forces and urged to send more police personnel to the area if required. Rapid action force has already been deployed after two people lost their lives and many were left wounded.
Earlier, Land agitation made a violent comeback to Bengal’s political landscape on Tuesday , with a college student succumbing to bullet injuries he picked up during an antipower station stir that spiralled out of control in Bhangar, less than 40km from the city.
Mafizul Khan of Rajarhat died at SSKM Hospital and another villager, Akbar Ali Mollah, was being treated for bullet injuries at R G Kar Hospital as the agitation boiled over after simmering anger for the last few days. Villagers went berserk, felling trees to block police vans and then setting some of them on fire, bringing back memories of the Singur-Nandigram land stirs a decade ago that led to the unravelling of the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government and catapulted the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress to office.
The government, till late in the evening, did not confirm whether there was police firing even as Trinamool leaders said it was “not yet clear” whether police opened fire. The development prompted the CM to convene a meeting with chief secretary Basudeb Banerjee, home secretary Malay De and IG (law and order) Anuj Sharma.
She later tweeted that the government was ready to put off the power project, meant to serve the Bhangar-Rajarhat belt, and shift it elsewhere if villagers did not want it there. “Manush na chaile jor kore jomi adhigrahan kora hobe na, darkar hole power grid anya kothao kora hobe,” the tweet read.Significantly , the tweet was recalled an hour later. But it was not enough to pacify the villagers, who said they wanted the government to scrap the Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) project and return of land.The CM, after getting to know of the violence, called minister and local MLA Abdur Rezzak Molla and told him to visit the spot and submit a report.
This part of Bhangar has the most fertile land in the district. Acres of such fertile land have been grabbed by TMC leader Arabul Islam. The PGCIL project has become the focus of the movement. But hundreds of acres have changed hands for housing and other private projects in Sikharpur, Bhojerhat, Kashipur, said CPM’s Sujon Chakraborty.