Deaths in violence unfortunate, says Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee

Special Correspondent

"Security forces were sent to the area only to restore normality, peace"

Administration could not function at NandigramPolice did not go there for acquiring land

KOLKATA: West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on Thursday said his Government would not set up the proposed chemical hub at Nandigram "if the people there did not want it." He had made this clear before Wednesday's violence and was doing so again. Describing the deaths in the Nandigram violence as "unfortunate," Mr. Bhattacharjee pointed out in the Assembly that he hadrepeatedly said there would be no immediate acquisition of land in the area. "If the people there do not want the chemical hub, there is no question of notices for land acquisition being issued."

Accepting the Calcutta High Court ruling for an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the violence, he said, "Let the CBI inquire and see if the administration was right or wrong."

Even as the Chief Minister started speaking, Congress and Trinamool legislators walked out, raising slogans for his resignation. Members of both parties staged a walkout on Wednesday also, demanding a statement from the Chief Minister on the violence.

Mr. Bhattacharjee said security forces had been sent to restore normality and peace in an "area where there had been no rule of law and no presence of an administration for not one, two or 10 days but for two-and-a-half months."

Roads dug up

Roads had been dug up, and bridges and culverts damaged. The administration could not function there. Such a situation could not be allowed to continue, and repeated calls for an all-party meeting to pave the way for normality there failed to get the cooperation of the (Trinamool-led) Bhoomi Ucched Pratirodh Committee, he said.

"The police had not gone to Nandigram for the purpose of acquiring land. But shortly after they reached there, they were attacked. After trying to repulse the attack with teargas shells and rubber bullets, they had to resort to firing," Mr. Bhattacharjee said.

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