Fresh violence erupts in Nandigram
Statesman News Service
KOLKATA, Feb. 19: After remaining calm for three months, fresh violence broke out in Nandigram following a series of clashes between supporters of the CPI-M and Bhumi Ucched Protirodh Committee (BUPC) at several villages since last night. Twenty one persons were injured in these clashes, police said.
Police said, trouble broke out after armed CPI-M cadres attacked a BUPC member, Mr Paritosh Das at his residence at Keyakhali village around 9 p.m. yesterday and ransacked seven other houses belonging to BUPC members. In a counter attack, BUPC supporters beat up 14 CPI-M supporters and allegedly looted their houses at Keyakhali and Satengabari villages.
"The state government should immediately stop this clash or we will be forced to take to the streets," Miss Mamata Banerjee, Trinamul Congress chief said. "CPI-M has chosen this time as we cannot hold rallies or demonstrate as Madhyamik examination is on," she said.
The CPI-M cadres allegedly looted houses belonging to BUPC supporters at Keyakhali and Soifullarchowk villages this morning, triggering tension in the area. A total 33 persons were arrested in connection with the incident, police said. The clash took place despite the presence of Central Reserve Police Force jawans in the areas.
Sheikh Samad, a BUPC leader, alleged CPI-M cadres attacked Mr Paritosh Das, a resident of Keyakhali, last night after he returned home from Tamluk. Mr Das was stabbed in the waist with sharp-edged weapon and beaten up with rods by CPI-M cadres. His house was ransacked and looted allegedly by the CPI-M cadres. Local people rushed Mr Das to Tamluk hospital in a critical condition. Twenty three stitches were administered to Mr Das's head, Mr Samad said.
Six BUPC members ~ Mr Manas Karan, Mr Gurupada Shit, Mr Gurupada Baik, Mr Sukumar Kabar and Mr Swapan Barik ~ were beaten up and their houses were ransacked and then looted by the CPI-M cadres this morning, despite strong police vigil in the area this morning, alleged Sheikh Sufiyan, a BUPC leader. The injured were rushed to Nandigram block hospital. Policemen led by Mr Debashis Chakraborty, officer-in-charge of Nandigram police station are patrolling villages to thwart further violence.
Both BUPC and CPI-M lodged complaints against each other.
Mr Ashoke Guriya, secretariat member of the CPI-M Midnapore East district, alleged BUPC cadres had gathered at Keyakhali and attacked houses of CPI-M cadres.
"A total 11 CPI-M supporters were beaten up and their houses were looted by the BUPC," Mr Guriya alleged. He said the BUPC has planned to recapture Nandigram ahead of the panchayat polls. "We have submitted a memorandum to the Nandigram police station demanding immediate arrest of those who triggered the violence last night," Mr Guriya said.
A senior district police officer said, the efforts to normalise Nandigram before the panchayat polls could receive a set back by such unprovoked attack on BUPC members by the CPI-M cadres.