Bhangar land acquisition protests turn violent, 2 killed in Bengal hinterland
The agitation over the acquisition of 11 acres for a substation of the Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL) and more compensation had been continuing for the past few months but turned violent on Tuesday.
As the protests against land acquisition for a power project in the Bhangar area of South 24 Parganas in west Bengal continue, two people were killed and many wounded in clashes that erupted on Thursday.
Residents of Bhangar, 40 km from Calcutta, said farmer Mofizul Khan, 32, and Alamgir, 22, were killed in police firing. But the police denied the charge. The Telegraph reported their sources as saying he was killed in firing by "outsiders". Police sources of TT said "Maoist sympathisers" had instigated the villagers and also told them that overhead power cables would pose health hazards.
The agitation over the acquisition of 11 acres for a substation of the Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL) had been continuing for the past few months but turned violent on Tuesday.
Anuj Sharma, the ADG (law and order), denied the allegation of the villagers," There was no firing by the police. Outsiders among the protesters opened fire at policemen. The victim died when a bullet fired by an outsider hit him. The police showed utmost patience and they had been deployed there to protect the substation," he said.
The police were withdrawn after the protesters left. Around 300 personnel have been kept on standby at Kashipur police station, 5km from the substation. The agitators have organised themselves under a "Save Land, Livelihood, House and Environment Committee".
"If the government relocates the substation and is willing to return our land, we won't have any problem in withdrawing the agitation," said Mosharraf Hossain, a committee member.
Bhangar protests brought back memories of the Singur-Nandigram anti-land acquisition movements.