Nandigram, June 17: Guns boomed and bombs flew in Nandigram again today, and police said Maoists were the "brains behind Friday's attack".
CPM activists continued their retaliatory strikes against the Bhoomi Uchchhed Pratirodh Committee, hurling bombs and firing across the Talpatti canal. The canal is a stone's throw from Tekhali bridge, where the CPM began its revenge attack yesterday.
According to officials, the first shots were heard around 11 this morning. They were fired from an abandoned brick kiln on the Khejuri side.
Bombs were also hurled across the canal and the volley continued till 12.30 pm. There were, however, no casualties.
A CPM leader had said yesterday that the party wanted to avenge Friday's "humiliation". A Pratirodh Committee mob had gone on the rampage in villages in Nandigram, burning down CPM refugee camps and injuring five policemen. Over 600 CPM supporters were left homeless.
The police today said Maoists were responsible for the mayhem. Yesterday, they had blamed "outsiders", while claiming off the record that the Naxalites had led the attack.
Around 15 to 20 Calcutta-based Maoists are still holed up in Nandigram, they added.
"These men have been there for more than a week. They are the brains behind Friday's attack aimed at disrupting the peace process. They're being treated very well by the villagers in Nandigram," said a senior officer.
"We've made a list of the people responsible for Friday's violence. But we cannot take action because we don't have the orders to go inside the villages," said Debashish Boral, the Tamluk additional superintendent of police.
The police found over 22 spent cartridges — some were 8 mm and the rest 12-bore cartridges — and used bullets of .315 rifles today. Boxes in which the 8-mm cartridges had been packed were also found on Bhangabera bridge. They had been manufactured in Pune.
An official said some of the attackers were armed with sophisticated weapons. "Among the 300-odd people in the mob that day, around 50 were carrying firearms. Twenty of them were sophisticated weapons."
Boral said the police have requested CPM supporters in Khejuri to "lie low and not invite further trouble. There should not be any further provocation for more violence".
The Pratirodh Committee said the "battle" would continue till the committee's demands are met. It wants punishment for those responsible for the March 14 police firing and compensation for the families of the dead.
A five-member team of the Pratirodh Committee led by Trinamul Congress MLA Partha Chatterjee will visit Nandigram tomorrow. Chatterjee said he had written to Union home minister Shivraj Patil and spoken to governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi, seeking their intervention to stop the "regular attacks" from CPM camps.
Monday, June 18, 2007
Bombs & bullets fly, cops blame Maoists