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Bengal shuts down over Nandigram

Shops are closed and traffic comes to a standstill during the second bandh on the issue within 13 days.

india Updated: Nov 12, 2007 15:59 IST

Train passengers were stranded, several flights cancelled and buses torched in various places on Monday as West Bengal shut down over the ongoing bloodbath in Nandigram that has allegedly been sponsored by the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).

The 48-hour "immobilisation" programme of the Trinamool Congress and a 24-hour general strike called by Congress and Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI) saw life in the state coming to a virtual standstill.

Inspector general of Police (law and order) Raj Kanojia said the situation in ground zero Nandigram, 150 km from here, was peaceful and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) would take position during the day.

He said there were reports of stray clashes across the state -- where few vehicles were seen and several buses that dared to ply were torched at various places.

Train services were affected as passengers of long-distance trains bound for Kolkata were stranded at various stations. Trains had stalled in various places in the state since morning, an Eastern Railway (ER) spokesperson said.

Air services were impacted too.

"The SpiceJet flight to Port Blair was cancelled and some other flights were affected too," Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International (NSCBI) Airport Director VK Monga told IANS.

IT services in Kolkata's Salt Lake were affected by the shutdown, called by the opposition to protest the ongoing "invasion" of Nandigram by CPI-M cadres, who allegedly fired on an unarmed procession of villagers Friday, killing two and leaving an unspecified number injured.

Violence in the area in East Midnapore district has claimed 34 lives since January, when the region flared up over proposed land acquisition for a special economic zone (SEZ). The state government scrapped the plan later in the face of stiff resistance.

However, a turf battle continues in Nandigram between the CPI-M and the BUPC (Bhumi Ucched Pratirodh Committee) in the run-up to local body elections in May next year.

First Published: Nov 12, 2007 08:43 IST