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'Rape and killing' fuels Singur fire

Recovery of a body of an 18-yr-old sparks fresh tension with Trinamool calling for a bandh on Dec 21-22.

india Updated: Dec 18, 2006 18:44 IST

The body of an 18-year-old woman was recovered on Monday in a farmland acquired for a Tata car plant at Singur in West Bengal, sparking fresh tension with villagers and Trinamool Congress activists alleging that the victim was raped and burnt by men guarding the controversial land.

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, whose hunger strike entered the 15th day on Monday, called for a 48-hour shutdown across West Bengal on December 21-22. Her party claims the victim was an activist protesting the acquisition of farmland by Tata Motors.

Police sources said the burnt body of a girl, Tapasi Malik, was found from the field and sent for post-mortem. They did not give further details.

West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya has ordered a Criminal Investigation Department (CID) inquiry into the incident.

According to villagers, the girl had gone to the field in the morning to answer nature's call.

She was said to be a member of the Singur Krishijami Raksha Committee (Save Singur Farmland Committee), which is spearheading the movement against the acquisition of farmlands by the Tatas.

Home Secretary Prasad Ranjan Roy said the truth behind the incident would be ascertained once the post mortem report came.

The Trinamool suspended all its protests on Monday in memory of the deceased.

The alleged rape and killing is likely to lead to further intensification of the movement against the Tata Motors plant in Singur where the company needs 997 acres for its much touted people's car project.

First Published: Dec 18, 2006 18:37 IST