Buddhadeb warns Nandigram against Maoists, distributes land

March 4th, 2008 - 2:58 pm ICT by admin  

(Lead, Changing dateline)

Nandigram (West Bengal), March 4 (IANS) Hoping to dissipate tensions and win over the people, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee Tuesday distributed land to more than 2,000 farmers and warned against the possible intrusion of Maoists who “only know the language of killing”. “I know peace will return to Nandigram. But beware of the Maoists. Don’t let them re-enter the region at any cost. They know only one language. It is the language of killing people,” Bhattacharjee said during his visit to the troubled region.

His Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) supporters have been clashing with the rival Bhumi Uchched Pratirodh Committee (BUPC, or anti-land acquisition committee) since Sunday in the region.

Trouble broke out in Nandigram, about 150 km from here in East Midnapore, in January 2007 over proposed land acquisition for a special economic zone (SEZ). Clashes between the two groups and police firing left 35 people dead.

“The Maoists have moved out of the region but they are regrouping and training themselves in Jharkhand and other regions. If they gain ground here it would spell disaster. Please don’t let them enter here,” Bhattacharjee said as he assured the people that under no circumstances would land be acquired in Nandigram.

“Please trust me. I have not come here to lie. Under no circumstances will we take land here. We simply won’t take land because you don’t want it. We are setting up the chemical hub in nearby Nayachar. People from here would go there to work but we would not take land here.”

He said 2,200 people would benefit from the distribution of land Tuesday.

“We are distributing 224 acres of land among 1,483 landless people. The total beneficiaries would be 2,200. Among the landless are 418 people from the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe community. The total number of Muslims among the 1,483 people are 189,” the chief minister said.

Targeting the minority vote bank, Bhattacharjee said: “Muslims are benefiting from this distribution. Some people are spreading the word that we are grabbing all land of the Muslims. It is ridiculous.”

The BUPC, which called a shutdown Monday in Nandigram to protest fresh attacks by the CPI-M, observed a black day Tuesday.

Extensive security arrangements have been made in view of Bhattacharjee’s visit.

The fragile three-month peace was shattered Sunday following indiscriminate firing on members of the BUPC, allegedly by supporters of the CPI-M. One person, Debasish Mondal, was seriously injured.

The firing took place at Kiykhali near Satengabari in Nandigram.

The BUPC, which is spearheaded by parties like the Trinamool Congress and Jamait Ulema-i-Hind, claimed that several of its supporters were injured in the firing by the CPI-M men led by a villager who has been released from jail.

The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has been deployed in Nandigram and will remain till Panchayat elections take place in the next few months.

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