04/30/2007, 00.00
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Bengal communists at war with the farmers

by Nirmala Carvalho
Guns and home-made bombs were used during clashes in Nandigram between Communist Party activists and farmers. Dozens wounded and at least one person was left dead, while the police failed to intervene. The communist government convokes party members, while the opposition asks the central government to intervene. .

New Delhi (AsiaNews) – One dead and dozens wounded is the toll from clashes yesterday in Nandigram (western Bengal) between resident farmers and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) activists. The western Bengal government, currently in the hands of the communist party, has convoked its members to discuss the situation.  The eye witness account of one religious.

The clash erupted when Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) activists tried to enter Nandigram village and were blocked by members of the Bhumi Ucched Pratirodh (BUPC)-,  or Land Acquisition Resistance Committee, in Nandigram's Tulaghata area on Sunday, April 29. Police director Raj Kanojia said that in Thulagata guns were fired and homemade bombs exploded that killed one person and injured two others.  Clashes also broke out in Bhangabera, Satingabari, Adhikaripara and Shimulkunduwith dozens wounded.

There has been widespread criticism over the lack of immediate police intervention.  Today PR Roy, secretary for State internal affaire answered that, “they didn’t want a repeat of incidents such as those of March 14th”.  On that day police erupted in the area provoking clashes with at least 14 dead.  Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, premier of western Bengal, subsequently declared that the Indonesian Salimi Group‘s industrial zone would no longer be located in Nandigram. But this has failed to calm protests, because many of the farmers and their families had already been thrown from their lands.

Yesterday’s incident was the latest in a series of clashes. The communist government aims to expropriate lands, paying farmers low compensation to then sell them on at a profit to realize the building of an industrial zone.  The farmers responded by chasing police and activists from the land and erecting barriers to stop evictions.

Sisir Adhikari, mp from the opposition Nationalist Trinamool Congress (Ntc), accuses the communists of creating a “regime of terror” in Nandigram and tells of at least 2 dead and 40 injured.

Expressing concern at the fresh violence in Nandigram, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee sought the Prime Minister's intervention to stop ‘atrocities’ on people and said her party will organise a one-hour ''rasta roko'' (transport block) in West Bengal today.

Fr. Reginald Fernandes, Executive Director, Seva Kendra Calcutta, a Church Social service agency which is mediating between the farmers and the government told AsiaNews that the tension as well as the clashes is a daily reality.  Every day, there is trouble and sporadic fights in this area, there are either incidents of stone throwing or some other more serious trouble. The farmers in the area are in need of almost everything and we give them all the help we can.  There are 2 of our sisters and three priests in Nandigram. There Pcmi activists and the opposition are at a stand off”. “So far we have helped over 200 families”.


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See also
West Bengal, general strike in the wake of massacre ordered by communists
Kalpitiya: Muslim woman defeats mega tourism project over land expropriation
People continue to die in Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal over land
China: three brothers set themselves on fire to protest land expropriation
Protest breaks out as land grabs persist


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