Friday, November 2, 2007

Nandigram: 1 dies, 10 hurt

Statesman News Service
KOLKATA/NANDIGRAM/MIDNAPORE, Oct. 30: A man was killed and at least 10 others, including a 10-year-old boy, were injured in a fresh spurt of violence in Nandigram. The past five day's toll rose to seven as supporters of the Bhumi Uchhed Pratirodh Committee (BUPC) and CPI-M activists clashed today.
The deceased has been identified as Gangaram Das. The condition of Sheikh Basir (60), a resident of Satengabari, and Batu Maity of Sansabad, is stated to be critical, according to the police. They have been shifted to SSKM Hospital. Gunfire was reported from Satengabari and Giribazar villages till news last came in.
In all, six BUPC members were injured when CPI-M-backed goons from Khejuri fired on a procession of thousands of BUPC supporters who were on their way from Nandigram to Tekhali. According to reports, armed goons, allegedly backed by the CPI-M, attacked Ranichowk village last night, set fire to two houses of BUPC supporters and looted yet a few. They, however, retreated after local residents returned the fire. Soon after, BUPC men gheraoed the Nandigram police station for half an hour, demanding security and action against the CPI-M cadres.
Fresh trouble broke out around 9.30 a.m. after the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Partha Chattopadhyay, reached Tekhali along with his three party colleagues. Mr Chattopadhyay visited the trouble-torn areas in the midst of a raging gunbattle. Armed CPI-M cadres from Khejuri started firing at houses of BUPC members at Satengabari, Ranichowk, Takapura, Kamalpur, Giribazar and few other villages around 10 a.m. The CPI-M attack was mounted with the objective of gaining a foothold on these villages controlled by the Trinamul Congress. The attempt was foiled when BUPC supporters retaliated. The gunbattle raged for more than five hours.
The 27-year-old Gangaram Das died after a bullet hit him in the chest. He was rushed to Nandigram block hospital where he was pronounced dead. Trinamul Congress MLA Mr Subhendu Adhikari alleged six BUPC supporters had sustained bullet injuries in the CPI-M-sponsored attacks at Satengabari and some other villages. Later in the evening, armed BUPC supporters from Ranichowk, Satengabari and Takapura confronted the CPI-M mob that launched fresh attacks on these villages. A man from Satengabari was injured after armed CPI-M cadres fired at BUPC members from Janani brick-field, it was learnt.
CPI-M-backed goons allegedly beat up three scribes belonging to three separate media houses, who went to the trouble-torn villages to cover the incident. Firing and counter firing were reported from villages such as Bahargunge, Kamalpur, Maheshpur which lie close to Nandigram. Mr Chattopadhyay, who went to Nandigram to meet villagers of Takapura and Satengabari driven out of their houses by CPI-M cadres, alleged that he was not allowed to visit the areas where CPI-M cadres were “unleashing terror”. Later, Trinamul chief Miss Mamata Banerjee said the chief minister obviously had no knowledge of what was act