Kolkata : The leaders of an anti-power grid movement in West Bengal’s Bhangar have urged the state government to “open a dialogue and allow democracy to prevail” in the area.
They had accused the Mamata Banerjee government of trying to throttle their movement by “using bombs, bullets, terror and false cases”. The agitators said the government should instead come to the discussion table to “soothe the situation”.
Blaming the ruling Trinamool Congress for Thursday’s clash during a rally by the Jami, Jibika, Poribesh O Bastutantra Rakha Committee — a platform for villagers backed by Naxalite outfit CPI(ML) Red Star –, their leader Sarmistha Chowdhury said the attack was conducted to “intimidate and obstruct” an upcoming rally in Kolkata.
“The attack on the rally was conducted to intimidate the movement and create unrest in the area by killing and injuring the protesters. We condemn the attack.
“If the state government thinks that they would throttle the land movement using bombs, bullets, terror and false cases, they should think twice,” Chowdhury said on Friday.
“The state government must come to the discussion table with the agitators if they want to pacify the heated situation in Bhangar. Otherwise it must also refrain from attacking the movement. Democracy should prevail. The people would show what they want and whom they want in Bhangar,” she said.
Chowdhury said that even though the pictures of the Trinamool Congress backed goons who attacked Thursday’s rally, went viral on social media, the party leadership claimed that no one from their party was involved in the attack. “No police action has been taken against these attackers either.”
Chowdhury, who was arrested back in January in the wake of violence centering the construction of power grid sub-station in Bhangar, also alleged that the state government did not follow regulations
“There should be no construction within 23 metres on both sides of the transmission lines. This has not been followed. We have given a deputation to the central Power Ministry about the non compliance. They have assured that they would take up the issue,” she said.
She said the Committee that has been leading the movement for almost a year in Bhangar, would participate in the next Panchayat elections there. However, whether it would back candidates of any political party or nominate its own candidates, was yet to be decided.
Claiming that they were in touch with other land stirs happening in Bengal and rest of the country, Chowdhury warned of a larger movement and said common people would come out victorious in the end.
“There are land agitations in different parts of Bengal. We want to bring these movements together. The anti power grid movements in Assam and Maharashtra have already got in touch with the leaders of anti power grid movement in Bhangar,” she added.
Human rights activist Sujato Bhadra, who has been associated with the movement since its inception, claimed multiple false cases have been slapped against everyone associated with the land movement which was not seen during the previous land movements of Singur and Nandigram under the erstwhile Left Front government.
“People associated with the movement have been charged with false cases under severe sections like UAPA and the land movement has been branded a Maoist movement by the government.
“On the other hand, Trinamool Congress backed miscreants have been let loose to terrorise the villagers and agitators,” Bhadra said.
“It is surprising that a government that came to power riding on mass movements is showing so much disrespect to a land movement during its rule. It is a sign of their low culture,” he added.
Several people were injured and vehicles set ablaze as clashes broke out between a group of protesters and Trinamool Congress activists in Bhangar on Thursday.
The place had witnessed protests against the alleged forcible land acquisition for the power project turn violent, resulting in the deaths of two persons.