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Anti-power Grid Tension Erupts Again in Bengal's Bhangar on Anniversary of Deadly Clashes

The Bhangar anti-land grab agitation had hogged headlines on January 17 last year, when two protesters were killed in clashes with the police.

Prema Rajaram | CNN-News18

Updated:January 5, 2018, 8:50 PM IST
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Anti-power Grid Tension Erupts Again in Bengal's Bhangar on Anniversary of Deadly Clashes
A screen grab of violence in Bhangar, West Bengal on Jan 17, 2017.
Kolkata: A simmering undercurrent of tension persists at Bhangar in Bengal’s South 24 Parganas district where protests against a power grid sub-station erupted on December 28. That was the day when protesters under the banner of “Jomi, Jibika, Bastutantra o Poribesh Raksha Committee” took out a rally to adjacent villages with a clarion call for a march to Nabanna, the state secretariat. An hour into the march, they were allegedly attacked by supporters of the ruling Trinamool Congress.

The Bhangar anti-land grab agitation had hogged headlines on January 17 last year, when two protesters were killed in clashes with the police. The protesters plan to observe the anniversary as ‘Shaheed Diwas’ in memory of those who lost their lives for the agitation.

On Wednesday, tension erupted when bombs were allegedly hurled at the protesters and their houses vandalized as villagers geared up for a meeting. A media vehicle was also smashed. Twelve CPIML Red Star members from Assam were arrested at Belghoria by the Special Task Force of Kolkata Police while they were on way to join the meeting. They were released later.

The Bhangar protests began in 2013 after the Mamata Banerjee government, which itself catapulted to power riding on the anti-land grab agitations in Singur and Nandigram, began acquiring land for a power grid sub station over a 13.44 acre plot. A section of villagers objected, citing health and environmental hazards.

“The State Government should have a dialogue with us. They should understand our reasons for not giving up our land for the project. We want development and electricity is necessary. But not under these circumstances,” said Mosharef Hossain, a protestor. Another protestor Jan Mohammad Mollah added: “We were promised a compensation of Rs 10,000 which was later raised to Rs.1 lakh. But we don’t want compensation.”

Local Trinamool Congress leaders denied allegations of terrorizing the protestors despite the latter pointing fingers at supporters of Trinamool strongman Arabul Islam.

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| Edited by: Huma Tabassum
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