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Buddha unrepentant over Nandigram

The West Bengal chief minister says, "the opposition and BUPC have been paid back in their own coin."

kolkata Updated: Nov 14, 2007 03:31 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

Chief Minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said on Tuesday, "The opposition and Bhumi Uchched Pratirodh Committee (BUPC) have been paid back in their own coin."

He was speaking at a press conference at Writers Building on the prevailing situation in battle-scarred Nandigram after its ‘recapture’ by CPI(M) cadres.

<b1>"Our supporters, after remaining away from their homes for 11 months, were desperate to return. They risked their lives and returned home. They retaliated in desperation." Asked whether the peace of the graveyard has returned to Nandigram, Bhattacharjee shot back, "Was all that happened in the last 11 months was a sign of heavenly peace?" According to official reports four people were killed, 11 wounded and one woman was raped, he said.

Bhattacharjee claimed, “I wanted to avoid such a situation. I had planned that the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Eastern Frontier Rifles (EFR) would march to the troubled areas and ensure the return of the homeless. The Opposition had also agreed to this arrangement."

Holding the Centre responsible for the bloodshed, Bhattacharjee argued that if the CRPF arrival was not delayed things could have been different.

He charged that although his government sought six companies of CRPF on October 27, the Centre kept dilly-dallying and the forces did not arrive before November 12.

Bhattacharjee also claimed that the situation in Nandigram was given a ‘new dimension’ after a group of Maoists under the leadership of one Ranjit Pal from Jharkhand had set up a training camp there. They were storing arms and weapons and training local people. The state and the central intelligence have reports of Maoists laying landmines. We have received reports that a landmine, a gun and a 3.3 rifle have been seized from Sonachura, a BUPC stronghold, he said.

However, the State Home Secretary, Prasadranjan Ray told reporters earlier in the day, "I don’t know about the Maoists. No one has been captured."

Farmers ‘nuked’

On his way to strife-torn Nandigram, BJP leader LK Advani charged the Left Front government in West Bengal with having "nuked farmers" in Nandigram and "thereby nuked the country". He said on Tuesday that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) would raise the issue in the winter session of Parliament.

"While the CPM is obsessed with an international issue like the Indo-US nuclear deal, the nation itself is concerned as to how the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government could have nuked farmers and thereby nuked the country,” Advani said. He said he’d meet Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi.

First Published: Nov 13, 2007 20:59 IST