It is still a mystery how the incident occurred, says Mamata

A day after allegations of police firing on villagers protesting against land acquisition at Loba village in Dubrajpur area of the State’s Birbhum district put the Trinamool Congress government in an awkward situation, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said here on Wednesday that the incident cannot be compared to what had occurred in Singur and Nandigram.

Stating that the reports she had received so far confirmed that there had been no police firing, Ms. Banerjee emphasised that “the incident is not related to land acquisition.”

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) maintained, however that the police had fired on the protesters and demanded an impartial inquiry into the incident as did the Congress.

“Our government has a clear policy that it is with the farmers and the common people… Some people are distorting facts and spreading canards. The incident is unfortunate and it should not have occurred,” she told journalists at the State Secretariat.

Ms. Banerjee announced an administrative inquiry into the incident and said Superintendent of Police Hrishikesh Meena has been removed.

“It is still a mystery how the incident occurred,” she said, adding that she did not understand why such a large police contingent went to the village without informing senior officials and who were responsible for spreading lies and instigating the villagers against the administration.

Ms. Banerjee said the police personnel showed restraint and, despite being attacked by villagers with arrows, they did not “over-react.”

More than 30 people, including 27 police personnel, were injured in the clashes in the early hours of Tuesday when a police contingent tried to take possession of earth moving equipment of DVC-Emta Coal Mines Ltd. seized by the villagers in 2011.

There is a dispute between the company and the villagers over the compensation given to them for acquisition of their land to extract coal from open cast mines.