Opposition parties in West Bengal severely criticised the police firing on local people at Tehatta in Nadia district on Wednesday and said the State Government had lost its control over the police.

“It was not a situation where the police had to open fire on the villagers. Such problems cannot be sorted out by firing on the people,” said Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Surya Kanta Mishra.

Though he maintained that the priority at the moment was to ensure peace in the area instead of blaming the State Government, he said such disputes had been sorted out in the past through discussions.

The violence was the result of a dispute between two communities over a plot of land, according to Surajit Kar Purakaystha, Additional Director General (Law & Order) of the State Police.

Local people were protesting against the refusal of the police to grant permission to organise a puja on the land when they were challenged by the police leading to the violence, reports from the district said.

State Secretariat member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) Rabin Deb alleged that the police fired on the villagers without trying to go in for any negotiations with them.

A team of Left Front leaders went to the area later in the day but were disallowed by the police to proceed towards the site of trouble.

Demanding an impartial probe into the incident, State Congress President Pradip Bhattacharya said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee needs to “discipline” the police working under her.

“The police under the Trinamool Congress Government have become trigger-happy,” said Union Minister of State for Railways and senior Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.

The people will not accept such excesses by the police he said, adding that Ms Banerjee should seek an apology for the firing. Senior Congress leader and Union Minister of State for Urban Development Deepa Dasmunsi said the State government should have handled the situation with caution.

Describing the police firing as unfortunate, she said it was evidence of deterioration in the law and order situation as well as negligence on the part of authorities.

Rahul Sinha, the BJP State president, described the police action as “barbaric”.