Tension grips Nandigram over CPI-M shutdown

August 7th, 2008 - 2:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Aug 7 (IANS) Tension gripped the Nandigram region of West Bengal’s East Midnapore district Thursday after the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) called a 12-hour shutdown to protest the murder of one of its leaders, allegedly by members of the rival Bhumi Uchched Pratirodh Committee (BUPC). CPI-M leader Niranjan Mondal was shot dead at about 4 p.m. Wednesday in Rajaramchak area of Nandigram, about 150 km from here. The party blamed the Trinamool Congresss backed anti-land acquisition group BUPC for the killing.

Asok Gudia, CPI-M district secretariat member, said: “We have called for a 12-hour shutdown at five blocs of Nandigram - Nandigram I & II, Chandipur, Bheria and Nandagram - to protest these repeated attacks on our party members.”

“The shutdown is being observed in Nandigram and some adjoining areas. We have not received any report of violence so far but BUPC activists dug up roads at four-five points in and around Nandigram,” East Midnapore police superintendent S.S. Panda told IANS.

However, villagers said CPI-M supporters opened fire and hurled crude bombs at BUPC members and gun battles began Thursday morning in some areas of Nandigram, which flared up last year over a land acquisition proposal for a special economic zone (SEZ).

“We condemn this CPI-M-sponsored violence in Nandigram. CPI-M cadres have been creating trouble ever since they lost the local body election in May. Since we have come to power, we have some responsibility to restore normalcy in the violence-hit region. We have requested everyone to maintain peace in the area,” BUPC leader Sheikh Suffian said.

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