West Bengal’s Bhangar that has been on the boil since the last one year over the construction of a power grid sub-station witnessed a fresh bout of violence on Wednesday, a day before a public meeting by the leaders of anti-power grid movement in the area. Tension soared as bombs were hurled and shots fired in the disturbed villages of Bhangar including Natunhat where the public rally would be held on Thursday. A vehicle of a media house was allegedly vandalised. While the ‘Jomi, Jibika, Bastutantra o Poribesh Raksha Committee (committee to protect land, livelihood, ecology and environment)’ that is leading the movement in the area, accused the local Trinamool Congress leaders and hooligans of unleashing armed terror on the villagers, the state’s ruling party put the blame on agitation leaders. “The hooligans backed by local Trinamool leader Arabul Islam have unleashed armed terror with bombs and bullets on the villagers. They ran rampage in Natunhat today afternoon. In the morning, they had gathered in Polerhat village with plenty of arms,” Sarmistha Chowdhury, leader of CPI-ML Red Star that has been backing the movement, told IANS.
“The committee has repeatedly requested the state government to start a dialogue on the issue but the appeal has gone unheeded. Our mailed complaints to the District M The committee also issued a statement accusing the local police of openly colluding with local Trinamool leadership and the miscreants and demanded immediate action against them.
Islam, however, refuted the allegation and said he can guarantee that no one from their party was involved in Wednesday’s violence.
“If we resort to violence here, no one from those villages would be able to stay there. I can challenge that none of our men are involved in this. The land agitation committee is conducting the violence,” he claimed.
“CPI-M leaders like Sujan Chakraborty are involved in this conspiracy with people like Alik Chakraborty of CPI-ML. They are instigating unrest in the area,” he added.
Tension started mounting in Bhangar in early 2017 over “forced” acquisition of 16 acres of farmland — spread in the villages of Khamarait, Machhi Bhanga, Tona and Padmapukur — by the state government for the proposed PGCIL sub-station.