Nandigram longs for peace after Lok Sabha polls


Kolkata : With the Lok Sabha poll process over and West Bengal’s opposition Trinamool Congress winning Tamluk seat, Jakir Hussain Khan, 30, of Tekhali village and others in West Bengal’s Nandigram region long for return to peace after more than two years of political clashes.

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“We have seen enough blood-letting in Nandigram. People from two rival groups have fought pitched battles over past two years,” Khan said.

“Now we hope the warring groups would stop taking revenge on each other. The agitators should also stop violence as they have won people’s support at all forums – polls to panchayat, zilla parishad, state assembly and finally in Tamluk Lok Sabha constituency,” he said.

Nandigram, some 150 km from Kolkata, flared up in January 2007 over proposed land acquisition for a special economic zone (SEZ). Farmers’ protests soon led to large-scale violence with the Trinamool backing the local agitators and the state’s ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) making efforts to retain its hold in the region.

The violence has continued off and on since then, claiming at least 37 lives, according to official figures.

“We have been constantly asking our men to restrain and not to step into any trap set by the CPI-M. From our end, I can assure there’ll be no violence in Nandigram. But the CPI-M cadres are still trying to disturb the law and order situation keeping the local police into their confidence,” Sisir Adhikari, Trinamool Congress leader and MP from Contai, told IANS.

Banking on mass support in Nandigram, the Trinamool Congress won panchayat polls last year and a state assembly by-election this January. Continuing the trend in the Lok Sabha polls, Trinamool candidate Subhendu Adhikari, a front runner of the anti-land acquisition movement, defeated strongman and sitting CPI-M MP Laxman Seth.

Subhendu Adhikari, 35, earlier represented Contai South in the state assembly.

The CPI-M had won the Tamluk Lok Sabha seat, which comprises Nandigram assembly constituency, seven times while the Congress won it in 1996 and the Bharatiya Lok Dal in 1977.

“Thankfully, there has been no incident of violence after the Trinamool Congress won the Lok Sabha polls. Everything is going peacefully so far. We now want peace and there should be no more violence in Nandigram,” said Samnun Khan, a resident of Nandigram.

“It’s a good sign that political parties are also trying to restore normalcy in the volatile zone. They are making such efforts as part of their damage control drive,” he said.