India Business
Tear apart Nandigram notification: Buddhadeb
Jan 9, 2007 - 10:38:37 PM

Kolkata/Nandigram, Jan 9 - In a climb-down from his aggressive stance on industrialisation, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya Tuesday asked district authorities to 'tear apart' a land acquisition notification that had led to a violent backlash from Nandigram villagers last week, leading to at least four deaths.

'I have asked the - district magistrate to tear apart the notification. I have asked him to keep quiet and that I will start a political process in the area,' Bhattacharya told reporters at state secretariat Writers' Buildings.

'We have to convince each and every person. We have to hold panchayat meetings. We will proceed after convincing all,' he said, adding he would visit Nandigram soon.

Nandigram, about 150 km from Kolkata, flared up Wednesday as a word spread that a notification had come out to acquire land for a special economic zone - nearby, to be developed by Indonesia's Salim Group.

Clashes between angry villagers and ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist - activists had claimed at least four lives by Sunday.

On a day when the government and the party went on back foot, CPI-M state secretary and Left Front chairman Biman Bose also apologised in a live TV programme to Medha Patkar for his wrong statement that the social activist had visited a house in Nandigram Dec 3 in which the blueprint of the flare-up was chalked.

'I am sorry. I am sorry if she is hurt. I said perhaps she visited,' Bose said apologetically on a Kolkata TV live programme.

After a daylong meeting in Nandigram arrived at a consensus on restoring peace after overnight bombings and firings, police could Tuesday enter villages in the area for the first time since last Wednesday even though the peace brokered remained a fragile exercise with tension still gripping the area.

'The situation is peaceful since morning. We are trying to create an environment of peace and security in cooperation with the locals,' Inspector General of Police - Raj Kanojia said in Kolkata.

'Four bodies have been recovered,' Kanojia told IANS.

However, Home Secretary Prasad Ranjan Roy had Monday put the toll at five while Transport Minister Subhas Chakraborty had claimed that 11 people had died, including nine CPI-M members.

Central minister and Congress leader Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi visited Nandigram along with party colleague Subrata Mukherjee and demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation - inquiry. He flayed the district administration for its 'complete failure' in preventing the deaths.

Bharatiya Janata Party - president Rajnath Singh also slammed the government for its policies while a BJP team led by Sushma Swaraj arrived here Tuesday night to visit Nandigram Wednesday.

Police gradually entered restive villages like Sonamura, Khejuri and Garchakraberia. 'Several police camps have been set up there,' Kanojia said.

Villagers had earlier dug up the roads to prevent their entry to express their protest against the notification.

The villagers alleged more firing and bombings during Monday night.

While West Bengal observed a protest shutdown Monday, angry villagers grouped under the Bhumi Ucched Pratirodh Committee - torched a CPI-M office at Dinbandhupur Lockgate in Nandigram.

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