Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Bhangar violence: Cops sent packing after residents threaten to reimpose blockade

Sources said rising political support for CPI-ML has the government worried.

Written by Aniruddha Ghosal | Kolkata |
January 29, 2017 4:53:36 am
Bhangar violence, bhangar blocakde, bhangar residents, bhangar police, CPI ML red star leader arrest, west bengal news, indian express news On January 17, protests against ‘forcible’ land acquisition for a power sub-station had turned violent. (Source: Express Archive)

Tensions simmered again in Bhangar after a police team attempted to enter Machibhanga village where two youths had died during a protest earlier this month. Police withdrew after residents threatened to reimpose a blockade. On January 17, protests against “forcible” land acquisition for a power project turned violent resulting in the deaths of two persons. Since then villages in the area imposed a blockade against state and police authorities which was lifted only on Friday.

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“The police attempted to enter Macchi Bhangar for a route march, to ensure that peace returned to the disturbed area. However this only made the village residents more agitated and it was decided that it was better to not enter the village now,” said a senior police officer.

Shamshul Alam, a resident of Machhibhanga explained, “The very presence of the police makes the children in the village nervous. They associate the police not with law and order but late night arrests and mysterious disappearances of the men in these villages. We told them that if they enter the village, then the protests will be back and the blockade will return.”

The investigation for the case has been handed over the West Bengal CID. CPI-ML Red Star leader Sharmistha Choudhury and another person were soon arrested in connection with the violence.

Despite the blockades being lifted, the situation on the ground remained tense. The CPI-ML Red Star ‘guided’ Jomi, Jibika, Poribesh O Bastutantra Raksha Committee has maintained that protests will continue, although the village will remain open.

“But afterwards, the police entered the village again and were looking for Red Star leader Alik Chakraborty, but he is being moved from village to village. Apart from that, TMC MLA and mayor Sabhyasachi Dutta also came and promised to completely ‘whitewash’ the protest here. Both incidents have only led to further tension in the area,” said Abul Sheikh, another village resident.

While the state government breathed a sigh of relief with the blockade being “temporarily lifted”, sources said that the rising political support for the CPI-ML from the Opposition has the ruling TMC worried. The Left and Congress have continuously come out in support of CPI ML-Red Star and are likely to support the party during its protest. “It is not a good ploy to suppress the problems of the people by taking names of Maoists. We will raise the question of why the chief minister supports the land mafia,” said state Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.

“We are with the organisation which has been set up to protest (against forceful land acquisition). We appeal to the people to join the protest not only in Bhangar but also other places where a Bhangar-like situation arises,” said CPM state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra.

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