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Nandigram: opposition does a somersault

Opposition does a somersault

Nandigram, Jan. 6: Going back on their assurance to the administration that they would pacify agitated villagers, Opposition leaders today again fanned the flames by exhorting them not to yield to the “government’s pressure” and sell their land.
The leaders had told a meeting with the police brass and the administration yesterday that they would try to calm the villagers here, 150 km from Calcutta.
Today, they said they would take any step to prevent the acquisition of land for the multi-product SEZ to be developed by the Salim Group.
Leaders of the Trinamul Congress, Congress, SUCI, Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind and Naxalite factions laid down three main conditions for “peace”.
• Stop acquisition of land.
• Punish policemen who “attacked” villagers and opened fire on them on Wednesday.
• Pay compensation to the injured.
“Peace cannot be one-sided. The administration is only forcing us to ensure peace. But don’t they know that the CPM cadre are assembling at various places on the outskirts of Nandigram to strike back?” asked Abu Taher, the Trinamul president of Nandigram block.
SUCI leader Bhabani Das was more direct. “We don’t want to go into a debate over whether it is a residential plot or farmland. We will not give an inch of it to the government.”
Sheikh Samad of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind said the land is to be protected at any cost. “Our land is like our Quran. We will do anything to protect it,” he said.
Trinamul’s Sheikh Sufian said the party wanted a peaceful movement “but the villagers naturally became furious when the Haldia Development Authority issued a notice naming the mouzas to be acquired at Garchakraberia. Sheikh Santu of the Congress echoed him.
A public meeting at Bhutar More near Garchakraberia exhorted villagers not to yield to government pressure.
The police kept off the villages for the third day. Deputy inspector-general N. Ramesh Babu said some of the roads that were dug up were restored during the day “without any opposition”.

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posted by Bimal 7.1.07,


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