Violence returned to West Bengal’s Bhangar on Tuesday, only three days after a peace rally was organised by the Trinamool Congress, as the leaders of the anti-power grid movement in the area accused the ruling party of attacking and terrorising villagers.
“The miscreants’ group backed by local Trinamool Congress leader Arabul Islam attacked the villagers with guns and bombs in Bhangar’s Machibhanga and Khamarait villages without any provocation.
“They also vandalised the movement committee’s office in Natunhat and set the furniture on fire,” Sarmistha Chowdhury, a leader of Jami, Jibika, Poribesh O Bastutantra Rakha Committee — a platform for villagers backed by Maoist outfit CPI(ML) Red Star, told IANS.
“The attacks are conducted to terrorise the villagers ahead of the committee’s rally to be held on January 4 against the power grid. Senior Trinamool leaders like Bidhannagar Mayor Sabyasachi Dutta was himself present during the attack by their men,” she claimed.
Dutta, however, could not be contacted for his comments.
The two villages have been the epicentre of a movement against setting up of a power grid sub-station in the area by the Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL) and witnessed large-scale violence over the last one year.
Tension started mounting in Bhangar in early 2017 over “forced” acquisition of 16 acres of farmland — spread in the villages of Khamarait, Machhi Bhanga, Tona and Padmapukur — by the state government for the proposed PGCIL sub-station.