The Congress demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into allegations of police firing in West Bengal's Birbhum district, where 33 people - 27 policemen and six villagers - were injured in pitched battles early Tuesday.
"While the injured have alleged that there was police firing, the (state) government has denied it. For the truth to come out, it is essential that the matter be probed by the CBI," state Congress president Pradip Bhattacharya told media persons here.
"The home secretary says the policemen were attacked by the villagers and there was no firing. I want to ask how the villagers got injured. Is it believable that the police did not retaliate?" Bhattacharya asked.
The incident occurred at Loba village under Dubrajpur police station, about 226 km from here, while villagers were protesting the acquisition of their lands for an open-cast mine.
While the villagers alleged that police action, including firing, injured over 20 people, state Home Secretary Basudeb Bandopadhyay denied the allegation in Kolkata.
"There was no police firing. The district police superintendent informed me that the medical reports of the injured did not mention any remnant of bullets," said Bandopadhyay.
Trinamool Congress parliamentarian from Birbhum Shatabdi Roy initially said she had heard about police firing.
"Yes, I have heard that the police have fired and some villagers have been injured. Some policemen have also been injured. Industrialisation is necessary, but not at the cost of people's lives," said Roy.
But the actress-turned Trinamool MP did a volte-face soon after and said the police had not opened fire.