Thousands of villagers from violence-hit Lalgarh area were fleeing their homes to take shelter in relief camps, Union Minister of State for Rural Development Sisir Adhikari said on Sunday.
“At least 20,000 people have been rendered homeless. Thousands of people from different villages in Lalgarh are fleeing their homes and walking down the roads,” Adhikari, who belongs to Trinamool Congress, told PTI from Salboni.
He said the scene was reminiscent of the refugee influx in West Bengal during the 1971 Indo-Pak war.
Adhikary and Union Minister of State for Shipping Mukul Roy arrived at Salboni this afternoon with relief material for the displaced people on instruction of Trinamool Congress Chief Mamata Banerjee.
Adhikary said Triamool Congress had set up relief camps at Pirakata and Goaltore and more camps would be opened as an increasing number of people were fleeing home.
“Even women were being beaten up indiscriminately. There are at least 1,500 women in the Goaltore camp itself. I have myself seen the injury marks,” the minister alleged.
Adhikari and Roy, who are on their way to Pirakata relief camp with the relief material, said they had to wait at Salboni since afternoon as the CPI(M) activists had blockaded the roads to Pirakata and Goaltore.
Roy claimed that CPI(M) cadre were also beating up villagers at various places at Lalgarh, taking advantage of the presence of the joint forces.