Situation tense in Bengal’s Bhangar after arrest of CPI-ML Red Star leader

Kolkata, Jan 26 (IANS) The situation in West Bengal’s Bhangar, which was on the boil last week due to violent protests over the “forcible land acquisition” for a power grid project, became tense again on Thursday as villagers protested the arrest of a woman CPI-ML Red Star leader.

On Wednesday, the state government handed over the Bhangar violence case to the CID, which the same evening, arrested Communist Party of India-Marxist Leninist Red Star leader Sarmishta Choudhury allegedly in connection with the violence which claimed two lives last week.

A district court on Thursday remanded Choudhury to CID custody till February 3.

The agitators on Thursday started blocking the road at various places and fell tree trunks to obstruct roads demanding her release.

Trinamool Congress MLA Sabyasachi Dutta and his aides entered the area in Thursday afternoon and removed all the blocks

“Agitators should not feel that administration is weak. We want to restore peace and bring normalcy,” said Dutta, but his action sparked another round of agitation by villagers in the evening at Bhangar.

Bhangar, known for its history of political violence, is on the boil since last week over “forced” acquisition of 16 acres of farmland — spread over the villages of Khamarait, Machhi Bhanga, Tona and Padmapukur — by the state government for the Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL).

However, the opposition criticised the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government for the violence.

“It is not a good ploy to suppress the problems of the people by taking names of Maoists. We will raise the question why does Chief Minister support the land mafia?” asked Pstate Congress President Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.

“We are with the mancha which has been set up to protest (against forceful land acquisition). We appeal to the people to join the protest not only in Bhangar but also places where Bhangar like situation arises,” said Communist Party of India-Marxist State Secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra.

State minister Partha Chatterjee, however, said: “Chief Minister repeatedly said no land was acquired in Bhangar. Our state government policy is clear that there would be no forcible land acquisition. In the Bhangar project, the state government has no role as we did not acquire any land there.”

–IANS

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