To celebrate the High Court’s quashing of Sec 144 Cr PC imposed in Singur by the State government, Mamata Banerjee is going to address a public meeting being organised by the Paschim Banga Krishi Jamin Raksha Committee on Saturday in the very heart of Singur.
This is possibly Mamata’s last public meeting for the land agitation, as she is going to be out of circuit for two weeks because of gall bladder operation. “I will be back again. But tomorrow’s meeting is a tribute to the people of Singur for bearing the atrocities of the State government and the restrictions imposed on them as a result of Sec 144 Cr PC,” said Mamata.
Mamata’s last public meeting near Singur was at Chanditala, which is 10 km away from the project site, since Sec 144 Cr PC was in effect. “The CM has misused his power. But the court came to the rescue of the people. Now we are going to ensure that the 370 acres of lands forcibly acquired from farmers is returned to them by the State government,” said Save Farmlands Committee president Mamata.
Saturday’s meeting at Singur would be Mamata’s first after her 25-day hunger strike in December. “People are awaiting with great expectations to meet the leader who has promised to return them their lands. So we expect a heavy turnout,” said Paschim Banga Krishi Jamin Raksha Committee chairman Sunanda Sanyal.
Meanwhile, CPI(M) patriarch 93-year-old Jyoti Basu came in support of his successor Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on Saturday and said that the government was doing right in acquiring farmlands for setting up the Tata Motors plant in Singur.
Responding to Mamata’s threat that she would not rest till the farmlands were returned to the farmers, Jyoti Basu said: “There is nothing new in what she is saying. She always creates trouble.”
The state government has ruled out clamping section 144 in Singur as of now. Both home secretary Prasad Ranjan Ray and commerce and industry minister Nirupam Sen said that section 144 is not being imposed for the time being, dropping enough hints that it might be clamped in future, if the situation so demands. However, transport minister Subhas Chakrabarty had gone a step ahead to say that there would be no need of section 144 in Singur in future.
Earlier, Chakrabarty had questioned the need of frequent imposition of section 144 in Singur. Today, while on the one hand he implied that section 144 should be imposed in situations of communal violence and it should be used with proper understanding of the social conditions, on the other hand he said that abnormal situation in Singur called for section 144. When reminded of his earlier opposition to the frequent clamping of section 144, Chakrabarty shot back saying that he had never opposed. “Who told you that I had opposed? You had got me wrong,” he said adding that violence in Singur--hurling of bombs, damaging the fencing--amounted to abnormalcy and an appropriate situation for clamping section 144. “It was the least the government could have done,” he said.
Meanwhile, when home secretary Prasad Ranjan Ray was asked about the possibility of clamping section 144, he said “As of now, we are not clamping it. But if the situation demands…”
Sen, when told about Mamata Banerjee holding a meeting at Singur tomorrow, said that this was nothing new as she had been holding such meetings at many places. Sen said that situation at Singur is peaceful and normal and work is going on.