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Peace talks to discuss flashpoint zones of Bengal

The proposed all-party peace talks in the State cover other flashpoint zones of Bengal too that have been in the news for the last few months, reports Arindam Sarkar.
None | By Arindam Sarkar, Kolkata
UPDATED ON MAY 18, 2007 04:40 AM IST

The proposed all-party peace talks in the State would not be limited to Nandigram. It has been decided that it would cover other flashpoint zones of Bengal too that have been in the news for the last few months because of clashes over acquisition of land by the State government.

Initially, aimed to restore peace in the trouble-torn Nandigram, now both the Left Front leaders and Mamata Banerjee agree that the talks should focus on a broader picture in order to restore peace in all the disturbed parts of Bengal.

For this to happen, Mamata feels, the State government should come clean and publicly inform the people after the meeting that it would not acquire their agricultural lands and homesteads. Also, to make this meeting meaningful, Mamata has insisted that CPI(M) top leadership should be well represented.

Therefore, the agenda of the peace meeting would discuss how to bring back peace in Nandigram and areas like Singur, Bhangor, Barasat, Baruipur, Uluberia and Dankuni where normal life has been affected due to clashes between the Krishi Jamin Bachao Committee supporters and the CPI(M) cadres over State government’s plan to acquire 1.25 lakh acres of land here for setting up industries and townships.

“Peace and only peace is the primary concern of this all-party meeting. And there is no point in discussing only one zone when other areas of Bengal are also burning. We should sincerely try to bring peace back,” said the main mediator of the peace-meeting Forward Bloc State secretary Ashok Ghosh.

Realising that the meeting would become fruitless unless the main CPI(M) leadership is present in good strength, Ashok Ghosh is going all out to get the CPI(M)’s nonagenarian politburo member Jyoti Basu.

However, Ashok Ghosh is happy that both Left Front chairman and CPI(M) State secretary Biman Bose and Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee have shown eagerness to attend the peace meeting.

“Jyoti Basu is unwell, so I do not know whether he can make it. But Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Biman Bose are eager to be present in the peace meeting. And that is a good sign. After all, the Opposition guns are directed towards the CPI(M) and the State government,” said RSP central committee member Manoj Bhattacharya.

If the Left Front wants to make a success out of this peace meet, the CPI(M) has to be properly represented. Because, Ashok Ghosh has been told informally by the Krishi Jamin Bachao Committee leaders that if the policy makers do not attend the meet, they will not allow their leader Mamata Banerjee to be present in this farcical exercise.

As Save Farmlands Committee leader Purnendu Bose pointed out that as the Left Front gave the call for peace talks, the onus is on them to make it a success.

“And this time, they cannot say that Mamata jeopardised the effort. Because she has been very positive and has committed that she would attend the peace talks,” said Krishi Jamin Bachao Committee leader Samir Putatunda. (EOM)

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