Villagers protest, construction work at varsity halted in West Bengal

Kolkata, Jan 30 (IANS) Rampaging locals hurled stones and attacked construction workers to halt work for a university in West Bengal’s Birbhum district on Monday, protesting against the state government’s decision to set up the university at a site acquired by the erstwhile Left Front regime for setting up an industrial park.

The agitated villagers hurled stones and burnt tyres as they dismantled a part of the boundary wall of the proposed university demanding industries at the location.

The villagers also attacked construction workers halting work for the proposed Biswa Bangla University and a township.

“We had given land for setting up an industrial park during the Left Front rule. But the present government proposed to set up a university and a township. That is why we are protesting. We gave land with a hope that locals would get jobs if industries were set up here,” a protester said.

Trinamool Congress’ Birbhum district President Anubrata Mondal, however, alleged that the rampage at the site was “plotted and promoted” by the opposition Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M). However, a CPI-M leader and party’s former member of Parliament Ram Chandra Dome denied such an allegation.

Last week, Bhangar in South 24 Parganas district was on the boil due to violent protests over “forcible acquisition” of 16 acres of land for a power grid project.

The violence claimed two lives. Agitators on Monday took out a protest rally in the city demanding the government’s notification to scrap the power grid project and seeking a probe into the killing of two protesters.