CPI-M goons the new cops in forbidden Nandigram
Want to visit Nandigram in India? Well ask the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) for permission.
Two days after a farmers' uprising against land acquisition in this East Midnapore constituency of West Bengal, 'outsiders', including media persons, were prevented from entering the area chosen by the government for a chemical hub and special economic zone (SEZ) with Indonesia's Salim group over 14,000 acres.
Journalists alleged they were stopped at a distance of 9 km from Nandigram, about 150 km from Kolkata, by CPI-M men who 'patrolled' the area as angry residents moved about with swords, staves and other weapons in a free for all.
The CPI-M activists have set up 'check posts' at places on way to Nandigram to 'scrutinise' the entry of people even though the administration has not yet imposed Section 144 CrPC.
'There would be a large number of arrests in the area after the situation returns to normal. We will take action soon,' Home Secretary Prasad Ranjan Roy told reporters.
CPI-M leader in Nandigram Surapati Debnath told a Bengali news channel that faced resistance in the area: 'We had to set up these check points because many outsiders are entering the area and fomenting trouble.'
The villagers meanwhile are guarding the area to prevent entry of policemen.
Sensing trouble, the police are showing restraint for the time being.
On Wednesday, the police had to fire several rounds to quell frenzied villagers at Nandigram who set a police jeep on fire, heavily injured cops, blocked roads with boulders and demolished a bridge to prevent police access to their areas after word of land acquisition notification spread.
The situation has remained explosive since then, prompting Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya and the CPI-M to go on the back foot even as Left Front constituent CPI (the Nandigram Assembly seat is held by the CPI) criticised the former for its land acquisition policies.