Friday, November 2, 2007

WB Govt seeks Central forces for Nandigram

Express News Service

KOLKATA OCTOBER 29: The West Bengal government on Monday requested the Union Government to send more companies of Central Reserve Police Force to the violence-hit Nandigram, even as irate Trinamool Congress supporters took to the streets, setting up road blocks and damaging buses in the state.

“I do not want a repeat of March 14 by once again sending state police forces,” Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said after speaking to Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil.

“I have not yet thought of calling the Army though I have asked for CRPF personnel. However, I want to say that police or Army action will not be able to solve the problem. There has to be a political solution. I have patience and I exhort the Opposition to respond to my call for a political solution,” Bhattacharjee said at Writers’ Building.

The Chief Minister admitted there was no rule of law in Nandigram. “Nandigram has become a liberated zone. Police cannot move there. No development work is taking place. But who is suffering for all these? How long will the government tolerate this?” he asked. The Chief Minister said that a number of groups, including Naxalites and criminals, were inciting violence in Nandigram.

“Naxalites are roaming there freely. I have definite information that a group of about 100 Naxalites were moving around Nandigram. Ranjit Paul, one of the principal accused in the murder of Sunil Mahato (Jamshedpur MP) is moving around. The Bandi Mukti Morcha of APDR (a human rights organisation) is also there,” the Chief Minister said.

Bhattacharjee said the government has already conceded the demands raised by the BUPC. “They had four demands — compensation to police firing victims, withdrawal of all police cases against BUPC members, taking out Nandigram from the purview of Haldia Development Authority, and overall development of the area. I have rejected none of them. We can always talk about those demands. But for that they have to come forward. I don’t understand what Mamata Banerjee wants. What is her agenda? That is the main impediment (in solving the problem),” he said.

The Chief Minister also said that Mamata Banerjee’s claim that her convoy was attacked on Sunday in Nandigram was baseless. “I have got the reports. The allegation has no basis. However the police have started the inquiry,” Bhattacharjee said.

Meanwhile, a government bus was damaged in stone-pelting by Trinamool supporters at Kalighat, according to Deputy Commissioner (headquarters) of city police Vineet Goel. The activists deflated the tyres of several buses and blocked various important intersections including Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Road, S N Banerjee Road, Hazra, Gopalnagar and Kalighat.

On the other hand, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee demanded Central intervention to stop the continuing violence at Nandigram, dismissal of Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and a CBI inquiry into the alleged firing on her convoy.