Bhangar boils as police uniform on wayside triggers speculation about TMC workers’ role
More than a dozen villages in Bhangar remained out of bounds for the state administration and Bengal’s ruling party a day after firing on agitators left two persons dead and about half a dozen injured. Villagers also alleged that more than a dozen males were missing.cities Updated: Jan 19, 2017 00:24 IST
The discovery of several sets of police uniforms and slippers in the fields of Bhangar on Wednesday morning set off fierce speculation in the troubled villages that a section of Trinamool Congress supporters did exactly what CPI(M)-backed goons did in Nandigram 10 years ago — they disguised themselves in khaki uniforms and attacked the agitating villagers on Tuesday.
As a result, more than a dozen villages in Bhangar remained out of bounds for the state administration and Bengal’s ruling party a day after firing on agitators left two persons dead and about half a dozen injured. Villagers also alleged that more than a dozen males were missing.
All roads leading to the cluster of about 10-15 villages were blocked with logs, bricks and stones. Each blockade was guarded by dozens of villagers.
“Where on earth will a policeman run away leaving their uniforms? How could men in uniform have hurled crude bombs? The government must not only scrap the power grid, but also punish those behind the police-miscreant nexus that attacked unarmed agitators on Tuesday,” said Sajarul Islam, a member of Jami, Jibika, Poribesh o Bastutantra Bachao Committee (Committee to safeguard Land, Livelihood, Environment and Ecology).
While locals allowed state Congress president Adhir Chowdhury to meet the kin of the two persons who lost their lives, TMC MP Mukul Roy, had to return after waiting for nearly an hour from the first blockade.
A tour of the villages on Wednesday also revealed how many of the villagers were angry at the fact that lives could be lost in a land agitation in Banerjee’s rule.
“Mamata Banerjee will have to come here and announce scrapping of the project, besides finding out who opened fire on unarmed people and hurled bombs. The culprits must be punished,” an irate Shahnawaz Mollah, a sexagenarian, told HT.
The villages of Notunhaat, Shyamnagar and Machhibhanga bore telltale signs of destruction of households and vehicles on Wednesday as well. Blood stains were still visible on the Haroa road. Two charred police vehicles stood on the road, while four found their places in a pond.
Many locals, especially women and children, have fled, fearing police harassment.
Meanwhile, in its first response since agitations broke out, the Power Grid Corporation of India sought cooperation from all sides.