Special Correspondent

Government treads cautiously

  • To seek involvement of all political parties in peace initiative
  • Chief Minister takes stock of situation
  • KOLKATA: Concerned over the recent spurt in violence at Nandigram in West Bengal, the State Government has instructed the police to use restraint and avoid entering certain areas as it "does not want a repeat" of the March 14 incident, which claimed 14 lives there. It will continue to seek the involvement of all political parties in the peace initiative.

    One person was killed, another reported missing and 10 were injured in Sunday's group clashes in the area, and the situation remained tense, State Home Secretary Prasad Ranjan Roy said. There were reports of sporadic incidents of violence on Monday.

    Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee took stock of the situation at a meeting, convened by him, consisting of senior State officials. The Centre has been informed of the latest developments.

    Though most parts of Nandigram remains inaccessible, "the police did intervene to a certain extent on Sunday," Mr. Roy said. "Otherwise there would have been more violence.""Even now if the police go into many places [in Nandigram] there is likely to be strong resistance and we do not want to be forced into a situation of opening fire," he said. "Therefore the police have been told to be very restrained," Mr. Roy added.

    Such restraint, being exercised by the police, in an area where the civil administration has been rendered non-functional for almost four months since the first major violence broke out early in January seems to have encouraged trouble-makers who have been trying to isolate Nandigram from the rest of the district.

    Sunday's violence comes in the face of repeated attempts by the local administration to convene all-party meetings to facilitate the restoration of normality in the area. Two such meetings held since the March 14 police firing were boycotted by the Opposition, but the State Government would continue its initiatives towards this end, Mr. Roy said.

    "The situation right now is a little volatile but the next all-party meeting may be called after a couple of days; we are trying to organise the meetings."