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Battle for land: Nandigram clashes kill 6

Nandigram: Clashes in Nandigram in West Bengal over land acquisition for a Special Economic Zone have left six people dead and several others injured. The clashes took place between workers of the ruling CPM and villagers, backed by the opposition Trinamool.

The police however, remained mute spectators, not marching into the strife torn villages despite the violence. The roads are dug up so the police would have to go on foot, exposing themselves to attacks by villagers and perhaps trigger a bloodbath.

"We want to make the situation normal, we want the police to exercise restraint, we want to talk and discuss with local people before taking a final decision. "But what cannot be tolerated is road cutting, bridge breaking and communal campaign even before the land acquisition notice is issued," said Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, Chief Minister, West Bengal.

Call for bandh

The Congress and the SUCI have called for a 24-hour bandh in Bengal on Monday, while the Trinamool has given the call for a 12-hour bandh.

"The way Buddhadeb is trying to acquire land, through muscle power and police machinery, we condemn this attitude and this is not conducive for any development.

This is not conducive for industry," said Partha Chatterjee, MLA, Trinamool.Buddhadeb on his part urged the opposition Trinamool Congress to come forward for talks on the issue of land acquisition for the SEZ. "To the opposition, I say, we want discussions."

Ridiculing the Trinamool and Congress for calling statewide bandhs on Monday, Bhattacharjee said, "Do the people of West Bengal, even those in Singur, want bandhs? No. If they oppose industrialisation, people will not forgive them.

"The CM further stressed that it had been tentatively decided to acquire 10,000 acres at Nandigram for setting up a SEZ. After talks with the local panchayat, the government was proceeding with utmost caution in acquiring the land.

"We are leaving out agricultural land as far as possible. We are also avoiding acquisition of places of worship and dwelling houses," he told a rally of CPI(M)'s youth wing, Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI).

Policy decisions

Union Minister Kamal Nath meanwhile, said the SEZ policy cannot be blamed for the tension in Nandigram.When asked about the SEZ policy and the Nandigram standoff, Kamal Nath said the policy cannot be blamed for such incidents and hence the policies will not be changed.

"It has nothing to do with the SEZ policy, it is concerned with the land acquisition for industries. Whether it is the car project or any other industry, it has nothing to do with the SEZ policy."If the land acquisition policy has to be judicially implemented by the state government, then the state government must address the issue," said Nath.

The district administration has called an all-party meeting on Monday, perhaps the only thing it could do to try and restore peace in an area that for the last 24 hours has been completely out of their control.


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posted by Bimal 7.1.07,


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