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6 killed, several injured in Nandigram violence
Onkar Singh in New Delhi | March 14, 2007 12:28 IST
Last Updated: March 14, 2007 18:22 IST
Home Minister Shivraj Patil told the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday that six persons were killed in Nandigram in West Bengal in police firing and 22 persons were injured.
Eight of the injured are policemen who are now under treatment.
Patil was making a statement on the directive of the deputy chairman who had asked him to collect facts and report back to the house after the issue was raised by the BJP members during the zero hour.
The trouble started since Wednesday morning when a large contingent of security forces tried to enter various villages in Nandigram area and was faced with stiff resistance from activists of Bhumi Ucched Pratirodh (Land Acquisition Resistance) Committee, forcing police to open fire.
Superintendent of Police G A Srinivas, who was supervising the operation, said that police had to open fire after teargas shells failed to control the situation.
He, however, was not clear about the number of casualties, but said that "a number of people including some policemen must have been killed in the clashes."
Unconfirmed reports said that at least five persons were killed and nearly 50 others were injured.
Police sources in Nandigram said that while trying to enter Nandigram through Bhangaberia, policemen were attacked in the Gokulnagar area by anti-land acquisition activists with bombs and bullets.
IGP (Law and Order) Raj Kanojia said that after being attacked, police burst tear gas shells and fired several rounds in the air in a bid to disperse the attackers.
The police had not entered the villages at Nandigram since the violence on January 7 which left six dead. A district intelligence officer was lynched by a mob exactly a month later.
Members of the BUPC, led by the Trinamool Congress, had dug up roads in six or seven villages, which are their stronghold, to prevent the police from entering the villages.
Nandigram had been witnessing clashes over rumours of land acquisition for a SEZ by Indonesia's Salem group.
Police personnel were moving towards Nandigram via Bhangaberia and have entered Sonachura, State Home Secretary Prasad Ranjan Roy told reporters.
Asked whether prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC would be imposed in Nandigram, Roy said, "Let police first enter the area. Then we shall think about it depending on the situation."
With PTI inputs