Several injured, vehicles burnt in Bengal clashes

Kolkata, Dec 28 (IANS) Several people were injured and vehicles set ablaze as clashes broke out between a group of protesters agitating against a power grid project and West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress activists in South 24 Parganas district on Thursday.

State Food Processing Minister and local legislator Abdur Rezzak Mollah alleged that the trouble started after activists of the protest group — “Jami, Jibika, Paribesh O Bastutantra Raksha Committee (committee to protect land, livelihood, environment and ecosystem) — who had taken out a procession in Bhangar, hurled bombs injuring two Trinamool activists.

“When our boys regrouped and chased them, they again lobbed bombs, injuring another party worker,” Mollah said, alleging that the committee had not taken any police permission for the procession.

“The committee members were moving in a pickup van where bombs and other weapons were stockpiled. The police had no information. They came only after I spoke to senior officials and our party leaders,” said Mollah.

Two vehicles were also torched during the unrest.

On the other hand, CPI-M South 24 Parganas district secretary Sujon Chakraborty alleged that the violence began when armed Trinamool activists attacked the procession, injuring one person.

However, local Trinamool leader Arabul Islam accused the CPI-M, Congress and Maoists of ganging up to disrupt peace in the area.

A large police picket has been posted in the troubled villages.

Bhangar, known for its history of political violence, was on the boil earlier this year over “forced” acquisition of 16 acres of farmland — spread over the villages of Khamarait, Machhi Bhanga, Tona and Padmapukur — by the state government for setting up a sub-station by the Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL).