Court directs government to restore normalcy in Nandigram


Kolkata : A division bench of the Calcutta High Court Thursday ordered the West Bengal government to quickly restore normalcy in violence-hit Nandigram of East Midnapore district, after the state submitted a status report on it.

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The bench comprising Chief Justice S. S. Nijjar and Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghosh asked the state government to mitigate the volatile situation in Nandigram, about 150 km from here, and to ensure return of people who fled villages in the wake of violence since January this year over acquisition of agricultural land for an industrial complex.

The high court also directed the government to immediately provide basic facilities like free ration and kerosene to the distressed people.

Expressing concern over the ongoing violence, the court asked the state to submit a report before the division bench informing the situational progress in Nandigram.

Reacting to the high court order, state Home Secretary Prasad Ranjan Roy said at state secretariat Writers’ Building: “If the high court directs the state government to restore administrative control over Nandigram, police will be sent to the trouble-torn region.”

Roy also said that the government has its own paramilitary forces and in case of any emergency the force can also be deployed in that area.

He said that over 400 people had left Nandigram fearing attack and they are now living in different areas.

The much-deferred hearing of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) report on Nandigram began Wednesday with the division bench directing the state government to file a status report by Thursday.

Shootouts, bombings and arson between rival groups continued in new areas of Nandigram over battle for taking control of villages as the trouble-torn constituency plunged into fresh turmoil since a week claiming one life last Sunday.

On March 14, at least 14 people died, over a hundred injured and women were raped during a police action in Nandigram. The violence broke out since January over a proposal to acquire land for a special economic zone (SEZ) in collaboration with Salim group of Indonesia.

The official toll since January touched 21 with the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and the anti-acquisition Bhumi Uchched Pratirodh Committee (BUPC) waging a war against each other.