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CPM terrorising witnesses: CBI to HC

india Updated: Dec 19, 2007 04:17 IST
Neelesh Misra

CPI(M) cadres are terrorising witnesses in Nandigram, and there are serious discrepancies in hospital records about wounds to the dead and injured, the CBI has told Calcutta High Court in a confidential report.

The report, seen by the Hindustan Times, appears to confirm allegations against the police and the ruling party in Bengal’s “liberated” war zone.

The CBI, ordered by the court to investigate the death of 14 people in clashes between police and villagers on March 14 this year, submitted the report on Monday. The court gave it two more months to complete the probe. The CBI examined 399 witnesses, including 168 injured, and six alleged rape victims.

Police say the deaths occurred when they tried to enter Nandigram and were attacked by thousands of villagers. But the report said: “(The villagers) categorically stated that the police resorted to firing without giving them a chance to disburse (sic).”

The report added: “Villagers have categorically stated that no announcement was made and police resorted to firing without giving them a chance to run away… the victims all denied having fired on or throwing bombs on the police.”

Police say only 33 rounds were fired, including 20 blanks.

“Some of the persons who were shown to have sustained bullet injuries at the primary health centre… were later reported as undergoing treatment for blunt trauma/injury at the district hospital,” the report said. The nature of injuries registered in different hospitals did not match for 14 dead and 39 of the injured. Three letters sent by the CBI to government doctors remain unanswered.

“The CBI camp office at Nandigram is receiving... calls from witnesses... complaining of threats from CPI(M) supporters,” the report said. “They fear backlash... and torture by CPI(M) people, adversely affecting the investigation....”

The CBI mentioned by name local residents who it said had been threatened for appearing before investigators, or had been beaten up.