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Singur: Mamta supporters attack cameraman
Indrani Roy Mitra in Singur | February 10, 2007 10:22 IST
Last Updated: February 10, 2007 15:30 IST
Despite Mamta Banerjee's promise to hold a peaceful rally near Singur on Saturday, her supporters went berserk within 150 mt of the dais as they pelted stones and assaulted the staff of a Bengali news channel.
Apparaently unhappy with the 'biased coverage' of the Singur issue by the channel, a group of people assaulted a cameraman and damaged a car. The former was seriously injured and shifted to a nearby hospital.
The incident took place in the presence of veteran Trinamool Congress leaders, including Saugato Roy.
However, when Banerjee, on her way to the rally, was contacted over phone, she said, "People who assaulted the journalists were outsiders and had no connection with my party. They were creating violence intentionally to tarnish my image."
Earlier, in a gathering at south Kolkata's Nazrul Manch on Friday, Banerjee said that her party has sought government permission to hold a meeting at Bara Telenipara. She chose Telenipara as it does not come under the purview of the area where Section 144 has been imposed.
West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya had earlier decided to hold a meeting in Singur on February 15.
With the opposition crying foul over the chief minister's bid to have a meeting a day after Section 144 would be lifted from the area, he decided to cancel his plan. Banerjee, however, opines that Bhattacharya cancelled the meeting fearing "scanty turnout."
Police sources informed rediff.com that "no restriction can be imposed on any political faction intending to arrange a gathering outside Singur area."
However, to protect the Tata-acquired land, the area along the Durgapur Expressway from Bardhaman has literally been sealed off. Huge numbers of Rapid Action Force and Combat Force personnel have been deployed in and around Singur police chowki.
According to insiders, "Under the pretext of Section 144, a large number of police personnel have been deployed in Singur and its adjoining area. Many water tankers have been brought to meet any eventuality."
In the meantime, at the Writers' Building on Friday, the chief minister declared that some farmers/landowners who had sold their lands were yet to collect their cheques. "If they have something to say, they must get in touch with the director of industries or with the district magistrate," the chief minister said.
In view of widespread protests against land acquisition in Bengal, Bhattacharya said, "I will have a talk with the opposition before selling the next lot of lands in other parts of the state."
Like other states, work on the special economic zone planned by the Salem group has been stalled in West Bengal for the time being. The Centre has taken a step to this effect. Further decisions will be taken at the ministry meeting in New Delhi later this year.