There was fresh tension at Singur on Sunday after police open fired rubber bullets and tear gas shells aiming at the agitated villagers who were protesting against Tata Motors small car project.
In the violence, several villagers received bleeding injuries and rushed to a nearby hospital. Police sources said total ten protestors including social activists Anuradha Talwar, Becharam Manna president of Singur Krishi Jami Raksha Committee (Save Singur Farmland Committee-SSFC) and Amitava Bhattacharya, a SSFC member were arrested and remanded in police custody.
Speaking to the Hindustan Times, Amitava Bhattacharya said, “Talwar was hackled by the police officers after she refused to surrender. We were unnecessarily beaten up. Our movement against the land acquisition will continue and no one can stop us.”
The incident took place around 8.30 am when thousands of agitated villagers gathered at Gopalnagar’s Ghosh para, Sana para, Koley para and Bajemelia purbo para and raised slogans against Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee for forcible grabbing their land.
Soon the situation became tense after a large contingent of armed policemen tried to disperse the mob. The women alerted the villagers by blowing conch shells and in retaliation the villagers hurled stones and bombs aiming at the policemen. They also had a scuffle with the force.
In the meantime additional number of supporters belongs to SSFC gathered there and had a pitched battle with the policemen. When the situation became out of control additional superintendent of police, Hooghly, Asit Pal asked for an additional force. Immediately, a contingent of Rapid Action Force rushed and fired rubber bullets to bring the situation under control. Furious over the firing the villagers allegedly hurled some crude bombs aiming at the policemen.
“Police used tear gas and batons the protestors after poles of the fencing demarcating the area for the Tata Motors project were uprooted and set on fire by farmers at Beraberi in Singur. In the incident few haystack were gutted from a spark erupted from tear gas shells. As a precautionary measure extra forces were deployed in the village,” inspector general of police, western range, Arun Gupta said.
The protests have been slowly peaking after the Tata Motors set the project rolling with a ‘bhumi puja’ ritual in the month of January. Earlier, in the month of December similar incident took place in which several villagers were injured.
On January 23, around 2 am a group of villagers raided at Gopalnagar and hurled bombs aiming at the fenced area of the acquired land for the Tata Motors small car project. Later the villagers set more than 15 wooden fencing posts on fire and fled away before the police could arrest them.
“Such incidents will continue and in no condition we will allow the Tata’s to start their project,” Becharam Manna asserted.
Sub Divisional Police Officer, Chandannagore, Kalyan Mukherjee said, “The situation is now under control and our policemen are keeping a close watch in the area to prevent such incidents.”