Monday, December 04, 2006

Singur paralyses Parliament; Mamata on indefinite fast, Rajnath held

Singur paralyses Parliament; Mamata on indefinite fast, Rajnath held

A woman labourer brutalised by the police weeps in singur

New Delhi, Dec 04: The Singur issue paralysed Parliament with BJP members storming the well in both Houses targeting what they termed the "anti-farmer" West Bengal government demanding immediate release of party chief Rajnath Singh, who was arrested while going to Singur. Meanwhile, Mamata Banerjee went on an indefinite fast to protest acquisition of farm land for the Tatas` car project.

Shouting slogans denouncing the Left Front Government and demanding its dismissal in both Houses, the saffron party members accused the Buddhadeb Bhattacharya Government of taking an "anti-farmer" stand on the land acquisition for Tata Motors project at Singur.

While it was trouble from the word go in the Rajya Sabha on the Ambedkar issue, and Singur dominated after a brief adjournment, it was a smooth and peaceful Question Hour in the Lok Sabha. But the Zero Hour changed the scene.

The Upper House, which adjourned without transacting any business, saw added trouble with BSP members raising the issue of desecration of B R Ambedkar`s statue in Kanpur to attack the Mulayam Singh Yadav Government.

After Railway Minister Lalu Prasad made a statement on the train tragedy at Bhagalpur and BJP member Shahnawaz Hussein demanded his resignation over the incident, BJP members stormed the well focusing their ire on communists.

But Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, who was in no mood to adjourn the House, dubbed the issue as a "state matter" and took up Zero Hour in the din.

While special mentions were ordered to be laid in the din, the Speaker took up a discussion on the issue of price rise amid noisy scenes which was completed with Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar replying to it.

When the Lok Sabha met in the post lunch session, BJP members staged a noisy walkout.

Amidst the din, BJP members in Upper House stormed the well protesting against arrest of Rajnath Singh.

As CPI(M) members led by Brinda Karat objected to this, the house witnessed turmoil leading to its adjournment 20 minutes ahead of lunch recess.

Mamata begins hunger strike

Spurning Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharjee`s offer for talks, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee went on an indefinite fast on Monday as BJP President Rajnath Singh was arrested while going to Singur to protest acquisition of farm land for the Tatas` car project there.

The TC chief went on indefinite hunger strike at busy Dharamtolla area here after the Left Front government did not heed her 24-hour deadline for accepting the demand that fencing work at the site of the car project site, which witnessed violence on Saturday, be halted immediately and police deployment there be removed.

The BJP chief was arrested on his way to Singur and released at Dankuni, 25 km from the proposed project site, and he later turned up to share the dais with the TC chief.

Singh asked the state government and the Tatas to move the prestigious small car project from agricultural land at Singur and thundered "if blood is required for the agitation, we are prepared to shed our blood ... Mamata Banerjee is not alone ... We will fight by her side both inside and outside Parliament.

"I am appealing to the Tatas and also the Left Front government to consider an alternative site to the agricultural land at Singur ... we will not allow farmers` interest to be jeopardised," said Singh from whose party ally TC has been of late distancing itself to warm to Congress.

Naxalites, also protesting the car project on farmland, vandalized a Tata Motors showroom here and social activist Medha Patkar was turned back on her way to Singur for the second time in four days.

Congress not with Trinamool

However, the presence of Rajnath Singh with Banerjee, gave a twist to the chain of events on the Singur issue as the in the movement against acquisition of agricultural land as long as BJP was there.

``We will not be with the Trinamool on this issue if the BJP gets along. We will carry out a separate movement on our own. We cannot have trucks with the BJP since it is a `communal force` and our main enemy at the national level,`` Pradesh Congress working president Pradip Bhattacharjee said.

The Congress today organized a rally in the city protesting the farmland acquisition and police lathicharge on agitators.

Protest politically motivated: CPM

Describing the agitation on the Singur land acquisition issue in West Bengal as "politically motivated", the CPI(M) today said it was for the Congress and BJP to explain why they were on the same platform to oppose industrialisation.

Asserting that the land acquisition has been done in consultation with the farmers and the panchayats, party leader Sitaram Yechury said the "doublespeak" of Congress has been "exposed as they blame us for stopping industrialisation and reforms and oppose it in West Bengal".

Habeas corpus seeking production of Patkar filed

A habeas corpus petition on Monday was moved before the Calcutta High Court seeking production of social activist Medha Patkar, claiming that she had been illegally detained by the police while travelling to Singur to protest the acquisition of farmland for Tata Motors project.

Sujato Bhadra, attached to human rights organisation Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR), filed the petition stating that Patkar had been illegally detained by the police.

A division bench comprising Justice D P Sengupta and Justice P K Deb directed the state to file a detailed report on Patkar`s status and fixed the matter for hearing tomorrow.

Bhadra`s counsel Joymalyo Bagchi claimed that Patkar was intercepted by the police at Purshottam More and was illegally detained and taken to an unknown destination.

State counsel Ashimesh Goswami denied before the court that Patkar had been detained or arrested saying that she was staying at a guest house of the Dankuni Coal Complex near Kolkata.

He said that section 144 of IPC was in force at Singur and adjoining areas and that she had only been stopped from going to the area to prevent a law and order problem.

Bureau Report

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