Villagers in Birbhum, West Bengal organise protests demanding return of land acquired for Biswa Bangla University
The villagers in 2008 had organised a similar movement against the then Left government, in the support of Trinamool Congress
West Bengal's Birbhum saw an agitation by more than 100 villagers over the Mamta Banerjee's state government's plan to set up Biswa Bangla University within a 300-acre area, saying the land had originally been acquired by former Left government to set up an industrial project. Villagers vandalised a portion of an under-construction boundary wall in Shabirgunj area, burnt cycle tyres and raised slogans against the ongoing construction, asking to return their land. Reports suggest that the villagers even used iron rods and sticks to scare police offers who tried to enter the area. Later, the situation was brought under control by police.
According to Indian Express, villagers said they would only allow constructing an industrial plant in the land under question, which they have given to the Left government in the hopes of getting employment for the future generations. Indian Express further reported that the government will proceed with the construction of university using the 20 acres out of the 300 acres. “The government is planning to set up a new university of international standards, called Biswa Bangla. The farmers are demanding their land back as they are losing hope of any industrial project coming up in the area,” said a villager.
The villagers in 2008 had organised a similar movement against the then Left government, in the support of Trinamool Congress. The TMC had also given assurances saying the land would only be used for industrial purposes if they were voted to power.
“Some villagers had demolished a small portion of the wall and had set a few tyres on fire. The situation is completely peaceful. No one has been arrested,” Additional SP Subimal Pal told The Indian Express.
Indian Express quoted Trinamool leader Anubrata Mondal blaming agitators, saying: “Some Naxals and local CPM supporters have misled the villagers.”