Tension in Nandigram, CPI-M calls shutdown to protest killing


Kolkata : West Bengal’s Nandigram area continued to remain on the boil Tuesday with the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) calling a shutdown to protest the killing of a party worker the day before.

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According to police, schoolteacher and CPI-M worker Manas Mondal was killed Monday when he was pulled out of his school in Khejuri, adjoining Nandigram, by members of the Bhumi Uchched Pratirodh Committee (BUPC) that is spearheaded by the opposition Trinamool Congress and had been waging a movement against the land acquired for a proposed special economic zone (SEZ).

On Tuesday, a day after his killing, tension ran high in the Nandigram-Khejuri area, about 150 km from here in East Midnapore district. The area has witnessed repeated violence since January over the SEZ that was later scrapped by the government.

While the CPI-M took out a procession with the body of Mondal in Khejuri, in Nandigram, a stronghold of the BUPC, people walked in protest with the body of 65-year-old Parvati Mitra who was killed Sunday.

CPI-M workers, who blocked roads elsewhere in East Midnapore district, including the important Digha-Mecheda highway, said Mondal was killed to avenge the death of Mitra.

In the latest round of violence, at least two people have been killed while one panic-stricken person died of a heart attack.

Five others, including an eight-year-old girl, have been injured in violence that broke out Saturday. Two CPI-M activists also suffered bullet injuries while Ajoy Das, a Class 10 student, sustained bullet injuries while on his way to the school.

Though the SEZ has been abandoned, violence continues in the region as political parties keep the issue alive with an eye on the May 2008 panchayat election.

At least 27 people have died in Nandigram since January this year.

On March 14, police firing killed 14 people injured over 100 when the authorities tried to regain control of the area that had remained inaccessible to the administration after the villagers dug up roads and cut off the region in protest against the SEZ.

The government had proposed an SEZ, including a chemical hub, in the area in collaboration with Indonesia’s Salim group.