Protest Rally Against Police Firing at Dubrajpur and Tehatta

Of late Mamata Banerjee’s administration has brought back haunting memories of Singur and Nandigram with police forces firing indiscriminately at villagers, first at Loba village of Dubrajpur (Birbhum district) on the 6th of November, and subsequently at Haulia village of Tehatta (Nadia district) on the 14th November. (For a detailed report on the Dubrajpur firing see Liberation December 2012, and for more on the EMTA, the mining company involved in the land grab there, see the note below).

Soon after Dubrajpur came Tehatta. Under directions of the Sub-divisional Police Officer (SDPO) of Tehatta, police constables cracked down on villagers with tear gas, batons and bullets. Ashok Sen, a construction worker was killed, and four others injured. A CPI(ML) team led by the Nadia went there and spoke to the grieving family of the deceased and demanded that the government provide compensation and a job to family members of the deceased and take immediate action to punish guilty police officers. The way a local dispute over a piece of PWD land (situated next to the Eidgah, where the Muslim community wanted a road, and the Hindu community sought permission to hold their annual Jagaddhatri Puja) was allowed to blow out of proportion and finally settled with police bullets costing a worker’s life is condemnable in the strongest terms. The administration failed to reach an amicable solution by involving all parties concerned and instead fuelled a communal divide, presumably keeping narrow electoral gains in mind. CPI(ML) Nadia State Committee called for a 12-hour Bandh in Tehatta on the 16th in protest of the police firing.

It is evident that Mamata Banerjee and her trigger-happy administration have learnt nothing from the Singur-Nandigram episodes. On 22nd November, CPI(M-L) held a large protest rally in Kolkata condemning the police firing incidents at Dubrajpur and Tehatta. The 500-strong rally led by PB member Kartick Pal and CCMs Kalyan Goswami and Partha Ghosh started from Raja Subodh Mallick Square and proceeded towards Esplanade.

The protesters burnt an effigy of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. WB State Secretary Partha Ghosh addressed the rally, which raised the following demands: 1) judicial enquiry into the Tehatta police firing, 2)compensation of Rs. 10 lakhs to the family of the deceased, and 3) punishment of guilty police personnel. With regards to Dubrajpur, demands were raised for - 1) judicial enquiry into the police firing, 2) compensation of Rs. 1 lakh to the injured (with the state government shouldering the responsibility for their treatment), 3) scrapping of the dubious agreement between West Bengal Power Development Corporation and DVC-EMTA, and 4) punishment of the guilty police personnel forthwith.

Liberation Archive