Sunday, November 25, 2007

Refugees trickle in

Statesman News Service
KOLKATA, Nov. 24: Eleven people returned from Sonachura and Gokulnagar today after trying to return to their homes from the relief camp in Nandigram. The CRPF continued in its confidence-building measures in the strife-torn area.
Three CRPF platoons were sent for 24-hour patrolling today in Sonachura, Ranichak and Giridih Bazaar and for the first time, the state police handed over a list of accused persons involved in the Nandigram violence to the CRPF, CRPF commandant Mr RK Sarma said.
The CRPF platoons started the 24-hour patrolling from 7 pm today. Mr Sarma added that raids to arrest the accused would be conducted from Monday. "We are not starting now as we first want people to start returning to their villages from the relief camps. Unless they do that, those people in relief camps whose names are in the list may flee without returning to their houses."
Mr Sarma said the accused in the list did not belong to a particular party or organisation. He also said that Mr Alok Raj, CRPF DIG, who had returned to Jharkhand for a few days, would take back charge in Nandigram on Monday.
According to a BUPC leader, the 11 people returned from their villages after being threatened by CPI-M cadre. But the CRPF denied having any such information. Mr Sarma said: "Their houses have been destroyed so completely that they do not even have a roof above their heads. Naturally, they cannot stay there. They need relief material, especially as they have lost all their belongings and winter is approaching."
Mr Sarma added that they were not being able to station CRPF troops permanently at all areas as there were not enough troops. "Instead, mobile troops are covering as many areas as possible."
A CRPF woman company visited the tense Takapara village today, in an attempt to build confidence among scared villagers.
Mr Manas Bhuniya, general secretary, state Pradesh Congress Committee, and Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Hind leader, Mr Siddiqullah Choudhury, visited a Nandigram relief camp today where they met with protests. And on a visit to Kolkata, Union railway minister and RJD supremo Mr Lalu Prasad today appealed to all parties of West Bengal to “forget the Nandigram issue for the sake of peace”.
Mr Prasad said two RJD MPs would visit Nandigram soon.