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Mamata Banerjee cries foul over Bhangar agitation

By Ians English

Kolkata, Feb 9: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday claimed that the agitation in West Bengal's Bhangar was based on "a false campaign" and denied that two villagers who died during the movement had fallen to police bullets.

"A false campaign was going on... And that led to the situation," Banerjee said while addressing the state assembly. "The state government is in no way involved in the matter," she said about the killing of the two persons in South 24 Parganas district's Bhangar.

Left Parties MLAs raise their voice protesting about the recent violence of Bhangar and Burdwan district during West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi's speech at the 1st day of Budget session of West Bengal Legislative Assembly in Kolkata.

While emphasising the advantages of a power grid to improve power supply in the area, Banerjee categorically said nothing will be done against the wishes of people. "On the day the incident occurred we announced compensation of Rs 2 lakh for families of each of the dead. If the family members want to work, we will provide jobs also," she said.

Asserting that the bullets were not fired by police, Banerjee said the killing of the two villagers was being investigated. "The matter is under investigation. The family members of the victims have themselves said that police did not open fire," she retorted.

Bhangar was on the boil for days recently over the "forcible land acquisition" for a Power Grid Corporation of India project. The agitators blocked roads and fell tree trunks protesting against the "forced" acquisition of 16 acres of farmland -- spread over the villages of Khamarait, Machhi Bhanga, Tona and Padmapukur -- by the state government for the project.

Banerjee claimed arms were smuggled in there while the state government was busy organising the Gangasagar Mela. The Trinamool supremo also said when land was acquired in 2012-13, there were no disputes.

Touching upon other instances of violence in the state like Dhulagarh and Ausgram, she said the administration has taken action in each of these incidents. She described Dhulagarh as a "small incident" something which the BJP has taken advantage of.


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