Monideepa Banerjie, Bano Haralu, Sourav Sanyal
Wednesday, March 14, 2007 (Nandigram):
On Wednesday, once again violence erupted in Nandigram and at least 14 people have died and 30 injured in clashes between police and protesters.
The trouble started when a large police force tried to break the Nandigram blockade. However, they were confronted by a 5000-strong mob which began hurling bricks on them.
The police resorted with teargas and a mild lathicharge and then rubber bullets. But when the villagers started shooting with pipe guns, the police opened fire.
The police have recovered large caches of arms and ammunition from the villages that they marched into. They have been unable to enter these villages for two months.
“We used loudhalers and mikes to announce that we are only entering the area to restore peace and law and order and not any other motive. But the mob did not just listen,” said AN Vohra, DG, West Bengal Police.
Mamata Banerjee, of course, is not buying the police version of events. She has called a 12-hour bandh on Friday to protest what she calls a government-sponsored blood-bath.
“There has been a mass killing, there has been a massacre. This is state sponsored blood war. The chief minister must resign, he must resign,” said Mamata Banerjee, Trinamool Leader.
The Congress has backed the bandh call and even echoed her demand for President’s Rule in the state.
In fact, even the ruling Left Front is taken aback by the scale of the violence, and the CPI-M’s partners, including the RSP and Forward Bloc have demanded an emergency meeting which has now been scheduled for 6 pm (IST) on Thursday.
The March 16 bandh has forced the government to reschedule the state board’s higher secondary exams due to begin on Friday.
Friday’s exam will now be held on April 18 and the higher secondary exams will commence on March 19.
Meanwhile, the chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya has said that he will update the State Assembly on the Nandigram violence on Thursday.