Tribals clash with police in West Bengal

December 3rd, 2008 - 11:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Dec 3 (IANS) A group of tribals clashed with policemen in West Bengal’s West Midnapore district, protesting alleged police excesses after the Nov 2 landmine blast in Salboni targetted at Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s convoy.The clash took place when hundreds of tribal villagers, led by Police Santras Birodhhi Committee (anti-police atrocity committee) members, came to Kalaboni in West Midnapore to dig up roads. The police force that had arrived there tried to prevent them from cutting off road connectivity.

“It’s true that a section of tribals demonstrated at Kalaboni and surrounded some of our policemen there. A police team led by district sub-divisional police officer is there to tackle the situation,” state Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) Raj Kanojia told IANS.

“Our officers are now trying to resolve the protest and are dealing with the issue,” he said.

Four protesters were reportedly arrested following the clash. Soon after, thousands of tribals who came from adjoining villages also staged a demonstration, protesting the arrest of four of their representatives. They laid siege to the area, demanding the immediate release of the four.

Trouble began in the tribal-dominated areas of West Midnapore district last month after the police arrested some school students and allegedly heckled tribal women following the landmine blast Nov 2 targeted at the chief minister’s convoy.

Tribals dug up roads and placed large tree trunks across, virtually cutting off the trouble-prone zone from the rest of the district.

They also demanded a public apology from the district police for the alleged excesses committed against them during the course of investigations into the landmine blast.

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