Two killed in violence over land acquisition in Bengal

Farmers during a road roko against forceful land acquisition in Bhangar recently.

Farmers during a road roko against forceful land acquisition in Bhangar recently.

In a major embarrassment for Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress [TMC] government in Bengal, at least two persons were shot dead and several injured in a land-related struggle in Bhangar block in South 24 Paraganas district in last 24 hours. While the police refused to confirm the firing, protesting villagers have confirmed the names.

Alamgeer Sheikh, 22, passed away in hospital after being shot. He was a local resident. The other person - Mafizul Khan, 26 - was shot during the scuffle between police and the villagers. At least 20 persons, many of them from the forces, were injured.

Villagers have placed tree trunks on the roads to stop the security forces from entering the villages in Block II of Bhangar. Residents of village Natunhat told The Hindu that their struggle would continue till the Chief Minister visits the area and promises to stop work related to power distribution.

It may recalled that, nearly 10 years ago, anti-land acquisition movement against the Left Front navigated Ms. Banerjee's political career. She fought against the land acquisition drive of the CPI (M)-led government and finally succeeded in dislodging the Left Front government. But, on Tuesday, the specter of another land movement was back to haunt her. Ms Banerjee is reportedly worried and angry as the movement is gathering momentum in Bhangar, about 50 kms north of central Kolkata. She has asked the administration "to stop work immediately," sources said.

Land was acquired for two purposes in Bhangar. To situate a power grid - 440/220 Kv - in the area and to develop a residential complex. A committee formed by the villagers and activists initially objected the acquisition.

"It is a very fertile area like Singur. There are so many coconut trees and tall trees in that area. It is a very good area where all kinds of vegetables are grown. Big Bheri s [fish ponds] are there where fishes are cultivated by the local people," Jomi, Jibika, Poribesh O Bastutantra Raksha Committee, which is leading the struggle said in a statement few days back.

"So if the power grid functions in that area, the development of electromagnetic flux will affect the environment and there will be no way out for the people other than to leave the area. High tension wires passing above the agricultural land will lead to hazardous situations and affect the crops as well. So people are fighting against the decision from the first day of work," the statement further said. The local administration and the TMC management in the State secretariat, however, have decided to stop work in Bhangar II block.

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Printable version | Aug 15, 2022 9:32:33 pm |