Curfew imposed in Kolkata, Congress terms Nandigram crisis a national tragedy

November 21st, 2007 - 10:38 pm ICT by admin  

Kolkata, Nov 21 (ANI): Night curfew was imposed in various parts of Kolkata today after demonstrators protesting against violence in Nandigram and demanding the cancellation of visa of Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen, clashed with police.
The situation in Kolkata was still tense but stated to be under control.
The Union Home Ministry is in constant touch with the Chief Secretary and other senior officers of the West Bengal Government.
Reacting to the prevailing situation in Nandigram, senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member Karan Singh termed the issue as a national tragedy.
He said the situation in Nandigram is “still far from normal,” and called upon both the West Bengal and the Central governments to work towards providing adequate compensation to the victims.
On the other hand, BJP MP Yashwant Sinha said that the true face of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) has been revealed in Nandigram crisis.
“There is no difference between autocratic rule of Hitler, Stalin and (West Bengal Chief Minister) Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee,” Sinha said.
The West Bengal Government was today forced to deploy army troops in various parts of Kolkata after demonstrators under the banner of All India Minority Forum (AIMF) blocked roads and clashed with police.
The government sought six columns of army, including four columns on the standby.
The army staged flag marches in sensitive areas in Central Kolkata.
The State Government also deployed personnel of the elite Rapid Action Force (RAF) to quell the disturbance that has brought normal life in Kolkata to a standstill.
The mob damaged 30 public buses and set over 10 private cars on fire.
Initially, as police intervened to persuade the protestors to lift their blockade, the mob turned unruly and started pelting stones at the police. The police had to baton charge the protestors. Teargas was also used to keep the protestors at bay.
In clashes on Ripon Street in Central Kolkata, several protestors and policemen were injured.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (south) Javed Shamim was injured when the police tried to lift the blockade on the arterial AJC Bose Road.
Hundreds of demonstrators threw stones and empty glass bottles and traffic was badly affected in Central Kolkata.
“The traffic has been blocked. For one hour I have been stranded. Starting from Khidampur to Central Kolkata there is a traffic jam,” said Sikander, one of the harried commuters.
The blockades have been cleared, but the situation is still volatile in Kolkata.
The Communist Government in West Bengal had planned to set up a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) for chemical industries in Nandigram, 150 km southwest of Kolkata, but had to abort the project after villagers refused to give up their lands.
Violent clashes between Communist supporters, police and locals opposed to the project have been taking place since January.
At least six villagers were killed and dozens injured in Nandigram last week in clashes between rival groups led by Communists and a frontal organisation backed by Trinamool Congress party.
The issue has also rocked the Winter Session of Parliament, which began a debate on it today. Senior BJP leader L K Advani began the debate from the Opposition side, and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is currently attending the ASEAN Summit in Singapore, is expected to reply on Thursday morning.(ANI)

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