New Delhi: On Tuesday, two locals of Khamarait and Machibhanga villages of Bengal’s Bhangar area were injured in fresh violence allegedly committed by the cadres of ruling Trinamool Congress, the Hindu reported
The Tuesday’s incident took place more than a week after locals had clashed with the police mid-May. The incident was one of the many incidents of violence reported from the Bhangar block in South 24 Parganas district.
However, there has been a scant media attention to the recurring incidents of clashes between locals and members of Trinamool congress. The role of police has also been under question after two locals were shot dead on January 17 during a protest against the government’s plan to construct a power sub-station in the area.
According to an NDTV report, the villagers opposed the construction of power grid claiming that the structure would destroy their agricultural land and become a health hazard for the locals. However, on January 17, the villagers voiced their protest in the village by shouting slogans and placing road blocks.
While the police reached the spot to pacify protesters, two locals were shot dead in the chaos following the protests. But the police officials present at the spot claimed that they hadn’t shot anyone.
More than four months after the incident, Kolkata Police has failed to confirm who shot the villagers on that day. While the demand of villagers to shelve the proposal has been repeatedly conveyed to Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the area has witnessed a spate of protests since January.
On the other hand, Banerjee has been urging villagers to “rethink” their decision of not allowing the construction of a Power Grid sub-station in the village.
The role of TMC cadres
According to the Hindu report, it was the TMC cadres who had initiated the movement against the power grid along with the villagers. But when it came to fore that TMC leaders were protesting because they had already sold the land to business community, the movement spiralled out of control triggering violence between locals and TMC cadres.
At the centre of the violent incident is a controversial MLA and Trinamool leader Arabul Islam who, according to villagers, led the mob of TMC cadres who attacked the villagers on Tuesday. Villagers also alleged that petrol bombs were thrown on them by TMC members.
The recent violence was triggered after the arrest of a local mango seller by police. The arrest had triggered protests from the villagers who ransacked a Trinamool office and pulled down pictures of CM Banerjee.
On May 11, Calcutta High Court lashed out at Kolkata police’s CID wing for failing to confirm the identity of the persons who shot the two villagers in January.
The court was responding to the plea by the father father of Mofizul Khan, who was one of the two men shot dead in January, seeking a probe into the death by an independent agency other than the state police.
On the day of hearing, the government had informed the court that the probe into the deaths was at its last stage and CID would soon identify the persons behind the killing.
TMC’s arch-rival, Communist Party of India (Marxist) has blamed the state government for the trouble in the area. It also alleged that the arrest of a local mango seller on May 13 was in reaction to the court’s displeasure at CID investigation in the case.
“Land for the project was acquired violating laws and there was no transparency. People stand hoodwinked. A Trinamool Congress syndicate is at work there,” CPI-ML (Liberation) general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya said earlier this month.
He accused the TMC of being in “hand in glove” with the BJP-led government at the Centre, whose project the state government is implementing.
(with PTI inputs)
Feature image source: PTI/File Photo