Despite claims by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee that her government had no prior information of the police action at Loba village in the Dubrajpur area of Birbhum district, sources said on Thursday that the police were indeed acting on instructions from the State Government.
Though fingers were pointed at Industries Minister Partha Chatterjee for pressuring the district police to initiate moves to retrieve the earth-moving equipment of the DVC-Emta Coal Mines Ltd. that had been seized by the villagers since December 2011, the Minister told The Hindu that the allegations were baseless.
While Superintendent of Police Rishikesh Meena has already been removed and asked to go on leave, sources said that his superiors were well aware of the planned police action.
Violence had erupted at the site on Tuesday morning when a large police contingent who had gone there to retrieve the equipment met with resistance from the villagers. They were protesting the failure of the authorities to provide them adequate compensation for land acquired for an open cast mine in the area.
Villagers have alleged that the police fired upon them, but the police and the State government has denied it. A section of the villagers said that the police contingent was accompanied by local leaders of the Trinamool Congress.
A delegation of the Left Front led by senior Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Anisur Rehman visited the area during the day. “The villagers told me that if anyone would have issued orders to the police it would be Mr. Chatterjee, who had repeatedly made attempts to retrieve the equipment,” Mr. Rehman said.