About 100 traders in a big bazaar 20 km from violence-ridden Lalgarh town in Bengal have decided against selling any goods or services to police personnel to protest against the ransacking of more than a dozen shops by some securitymen on Sunday evening.
The ransacking came after a landmine blast in the Pirakata Bazaar area on Sunday. All shops in the bazaar were shut on the first day of the boycott on Monday.
“We had nothing to do with the blast. Yet the cops ransacked our shops,” said Bimal Shaw, who owns a hardware shop in the bazaar. “We won’t sell anything to the police or central forces until they apologise and compensate us for the losses,”
said a shop owner Amiya Shaw.
West Midnapore district’s Superintendent of Police Manoj Verma however said, “I haven’t heard anything about this (boycott).”
About 200 security personnel at the Pirakata Bazaar outpost will be affected by the boycott. Lalgarh shot into the headlines in November 2008 when local tribals formed the People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities after the police raided villages following a landmine blast targeting Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on in West Midnapore district on November 2.
The Communist Party of India (Maoist) backed the people’s committee and for eight months prevented the police from entering Lalgarh, about 180 km west of Kolkata.
In June 2009, central and state security forces were pressed into service to bring the Maoist-dominated areas under control.
But the violence continues. More than 100 have been killed in clashes over the past six months.