CPI-M shutdown, Trinamool Martyrs’ Day in Nandigram

May 26th, 2008 - 3:01 pm ICT by admin  

Kolkata, May 26 (IANS) Shops remained closed in villages of Nandigram region in West Bengal Monday following a 12-hour shutdown called by the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) to protest the death of a party activist. On the same day, the opposition Trinamool Congress observed Martyrs’ Day in memory of the at least 35 people killed in the region since January 2007 when farmers supported by it clashed with CPI-M cadres to protest land acquisition plans for industry.

There were no reports of violence till noon.

But CPI-M said one its activists died Friday after he was beaten up by Trinamool Congress supporters.

“Both the 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. shutdown and Martyrs’ Day are being observed peacefully. No violence have been reported so far,” West Bengal Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) Raj Kanojia said.

According to district sources, most shops at Nandigram remained closed from early morning.

There were no buses and very few vehicles plied on the roads.

This month, the state’s ruling CPI-M-led Left Front lost elections to the zilla parishad or district council - the top tier of the state’s local governance system - in East Midnapore district, where Nandigram is located, to the Trinamool Congress after an uninterrupted reign of over 30 years since 1977.

Meanwhile, senior CPI-M leader and former chief minister Jyoti Basu said it is impossible to return to farmers the land acquired for a Tata Motors project at Singur in Hoogly district as demanded by the Trinamool Congress.

“I don’t understand where the Tata Motors factory will be set up if we return the acquired land to the farmers? Their (Trinamool Congress’s) demand is baseless. Instead, they can demand higher compensation for the farmers from the government,” Basu told reporters here Sunday.

“If Trinamool Congress want to stop the Singur project by sabotage people of West Bengal and India will understand that this opportunistic alliance is against all development and progress,” he added.

Singur along with Nandigram has been a flash point in farmers’ opposition to the state government’s policy of acquiring farmlands for industrial projects.

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