Nandigram police firing victims to receive compensation


Kolkata : The West Bengal government Tuesday accepted Calcutta High Court’s order for payment of Rs.500,000 as compensation to the next kin of those who died in the Mar 14 violence in Nandigram.

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“The state government has agreed to accept the high court’s order for payment of Rs.500,000 as compensation to the next kin of those who died in the March 14 Nandigram violence,” Home Secretary Prasad Ranjan Roy told reporters.

“Though the amount is yet to be sanctioned, it is under process,” he said.

The state government had earlier decided to pay Rs.200,000.

At least 14 villagers were killed in police firing when the villagers of Nandigram area, in East Midnapore district, resisted the entry of cops.

Roy denied reports that orders for the police firing came from the state secretariat.

The home secretary said the situation was peaceful in Nandigram and most of the people displaced in last month’s violence had returned to their homes. “There are only around 100 people who are homeless in the district,” he said.

To a question about the involvement of Maoists in the violence, he said a team of Intelligence Bureau officials was in the district to nab the rebels.

Regarding complaints of police releasing criminals caught by Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Roy said the state government had received a specific case in this regard but declined to elaborate.

A division bench of the high court comprising Chief Justice S.S. Nijjar and Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghosh on Nov 16 described the police firing in Nandigram as “illegal and unconstitutional”.

It ordered the state government to pay Rs.500,000 to the family members of those who were killed in the firing, Rs.200,000 to those who were raped and to sanction Rs.100,000 for each of the injured.

The court had initiated suo moto public interest litigation (PIL) and asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe the police firing and submit a report within a week.

The court also ordered the CBI to continue its probe into the violence in Nandigram and submit a detailed report within a month.

Nadigram, about 150 km from here, flared up in January over proposed land acquisition for a special economic zone (SEZ), including a chemical hub – a plan which was scrapped by the state government in the face of stiff resistance from the villagers.

However, 35 people have died there in the repeated flare-ups in a political turf war between the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and the opposition-backed Bhumi Uchched Pratirodh Committee (BUPC).