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Singur simmers: BJP chief, Patkar detained

December 04, 2006 14:14 IST

Social activist Medha Patkar and Bharatiya Janata Party president Rajnath Singh were on Monday detained along with other top BJP leaders from West Bengal on their way to Singur, where fencing work at the Tata Motors small car project site continued amid strong police presence.

Singh, who arrived in Kolkata on Monday, was stopped by police at Maitipara on Durgapur Expressway, 25 km away from Singur and arrested along with state party president Sukumar Banerjee and secretary Rahul Sinha under section 151 Cr PC. They were freed on bail immediately, Hooghly police superintendent Supratim Sarkar said.

Patkar, who had set forth from the city by local train with two others, had disembarked at Sheoraphuli station on Howrah-Bandel section and had reached Purushottampur, 10 km away from Singur, by autorickshaw when policemen stopped her, threw a cordon and took her forcibly to Dankuni. She is being kept at the CIL guest house at Dankuni. This is the third time that Patkar has been prevented by the police from reaching Singur in less than a week.

Singh told BJP workers, who sat on a dharna on the expressway, that violence had been perpetrated
by the West Bengal government on the farmers at Singur and that the party will raise the issue in Parliament.

The BJP, he said, will support Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on the issue. Banerjee is scheduled to sit on an indefinite hunger strike in Kolkata from Monday as her 24-hour deadline for the administration to stop the fencing work at the Singur project site had expired.

"There is no democracy in West Bengal. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Congress are hand in hand in this issue," he said while making it clear that his party was not against the Tatas.

Singh said the BJP will resist setting up of industries in high-yielding crop land and had also asked the Maharashtra government not to do so. "We want industrialisation on barren land."

Meanwhile, the work for fencing in three villages -- Beraberi, Khaserbheri and Joymolla villages of Singur continued and 75 per cent of the work will be finished by the end of the day, Director of Industries M V Rao said, adding: "We have already put up fence in five km stretch. No resistance has been faced. Land owners who have consented have requested that the fencing be put up soon."
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