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Land agitators in Bengal’s Singur irked over court summons

More than three dozen houses of the agitators, including that of Sabita Dhara who led the agitation leading to the change of regime in West Bengal, have received summons from a special court in Barasat.

india Updated: Jul 02, 2018 08:24 IST
Snigdhendu Bhattacharya
Snigdhendu Bhattacharya
Hindustan Times, Singur
Singur,Mamata Banerjee,TMC
In August 2016 the Supreme Court ordered that the land of Tata Nano car plant be returned to the farmers and compensation given. Now farmers are starting farming in their land after 10 years in Singur, Hoogly.(HT File Photo)

Sabita Dhara, 53, appeared before a court in Chandannagar, about 15km from Singur, eight times between 2006 and 2008, for being a part of the gherao of Singur’s block development office that was led by Mamata Banerjee, who was then an Opposition leader in the state.

The case was withdrawn in 2014, three years after the Trinamool Congress government assumed power, and Dhara felt relieved. Now, the fear of attending court – and a distant one — has returned to haunt her again.

More than three dozen houses of the agitators, including that of Dhara who led the agitation leading to the change of regime in Bengal, have received summons from a special court in Barasat. They have to appear in connection with five different cases.

“Withdrawing cases against land agitators was one of Mamata Banerjee’s foremost pre-election promises. Her cabinet passed the decision in 2014. Yet, we are receiving court summons,” said Dhara, a TMC supporter.

The summons followed a Supreme Court order directing speedy trial of pending cases against MLAs and MPs by special courts. The special court for West Bengal was set up in Barasat and summons were issued over charges of attempt to murder, voluntarily causing grievous hurt, and causing hurt to deter public servants from discharging duty.

After the 2014 cabinet decision, of the total 128 cases, 107 were withdrawn, said Becharam Manna, Haripal MLA , against whom, of the 64 cases registered, 21 are yet to be withdrawn. Singur MLA Rabindranath Bhattacharya and Jangipara MLA Snehashis Chakraborty have one pending case each.

More than 125 farmers have so far been identified as co-accused and will receive summons soon, police officers said.

TMC leaders Partha Chatterjee said farmers and Singur’s local leaders should have drawn the attention of the party’s leadership much earlier. “We’ll see now what can be done.”

First Published: Jul 02, 2018 08:23 IST