Antara Das

KOLKATA: Sporadic incidents of violence on Friday marked a Statewide strike called by the Trinamool Congress, the BJP, the Congress and the Socialist Unity Centre of India in West Bengal in protest against Wednesday's police firing in Nandigram that claimed 11 lives.

Amid the bandh, the CBI began field investigations into the Nandigram violence.

Three State buses were set ablaze and 12 buses attacked by stone-throwing mobs, the police said. Roadblocks were put up at several places and vehicular traffic was minimal. Train services in both Howrah and Sealdah divisions were hit. There were reports of long distance trains being held up at different stations.

Some strike supporters were arrested while trying to head for Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee's residence in the southern part of the city.

Alleging that "vandalism had been committed in the name of bandh," Left Front Committee Chairman Biman Bose claimed that employees and officers of various Government offices were attacked and even offices of the Communist Party of India [Marxist] set on fire.

Ridiculing remarks by Opposition leaders that the bandh was "spontaneous," he asked whether all incidents of vandalism in the course of the strike had "also been spontaneous." Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee said people from all walks of life, different organisations and political parties protested against the "bloodbath" in Nandigram and Khejuri and supported the strike. State Congress leader Pradip Bhattacharya said people spontaneously participated in the bandh despite attacks.

Stand on SEZs

PTI reports:

The West Bengal Government would not take any initiative on Special Economic Zones until a ``socially-balanced'' decision was taken on these projects at the national level,'' Finance Minister Asim Dasgupta told reporters after presenting the budget for 2007-08.

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