No police to Nandigram if firing had been predicted: Bhattacharjee

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Nandigram, Dec 26 (UNI) West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today said he would not have sent police to Nandigram on March 14 if he knew that it would lead to firing.

Mr Bhattacharjee came to Nandigram for the first time in ten months after his Khejuri rally on February 11 and addressed a huge gathering of people.

''What has happened in Nandigram is unique. This was a new experience for us. We never said we would take the land of the people forcibly,'' he said.

''I made it clear in Khejuri that no land would be taken in Nandigram. So why did it happen in Nandigram is still a mystery to me. Those who said that land of the Muslims would be taken first and their mosques and mazhars would be destroyed are liers,'' he said.

''Has it happened for once in the last 30 years of Left rule that we have taken one land from the minority forcibly? Never and it will never happen,'' he said.

''My heart goes out to the people who have lost their lives in Nandigram. It does not matter whether they were with us or against us. They are human beings and they have died leaving their families to suffer. We will do all we can to ameliorate their suffering,'' Mr Bhattacharjee said, in a sharp turn from his previous statement of ''they'' being ''paid back in their coin''.

The Chief Minister said police had moved into Nandigram on March 14 to bring back law and order. ''Police was sent to camp there, as it is doing now. They were asked to repair the roads and restore order. If I had any idea that it would lead to firing I would not send the police there,'' he lamented.

''The loss of life is sad. No civil government ever asks police to open fire on its people. We would not have sent police there. But is it possible that there would be a rule of the law in 341 blocks in West Bengal and anarchy in Block I and II of Nandigram? This was unique,'' he said.

He once again reassured that no land would be taken in Nandigram and requested all to help restore peace in the region. ''If only we have peace, will prosperity follow. We want Nandigram to join the mainstream of the country and do it fast,'' he said.

''For the last 11 months all work has been stopped at the panchayat level, and it will be restored and development work taken on an urgent basis,'' he added.

Among others Left Front chairperson Biman Basu, MP Mohammad Salim and senior leader Binay Konar were also present.

UNI

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