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CPI-M condemns ‘police repression’ in West Bengal

IANS | New Delhi |

Condemning the "police firing" on villagers protesting "forced" land acquisition in West Bengal's South 24-Parganas, the CPI-M on Wednesday asked the Mamata Banerjee government to resolve the issue through talks.

The ongoing protests in South 24-Parganas' Bhangar took a violent turn on Tuesday when a man was shot dead and another sustained injuries in clashes between villagers and police personnel.

Bhangar, known for its history of political violence, is on the boil since last week over what villagers call "forced" acquisition of 16 acres of farmland – spread over the villages of Khamarait, Machhi Bhanga, Tona and Padmapukur – by the state government for the Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL).

"The Politburo of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M) condemns the police firing at Bhangar in South 24-Parganas district of West Bengal which has resulted in the deaths of two persons," the party said in a statement.

While the CPI-M claimed two persons were killed, the state administration has confirmed only one death.

"The Trinamool Congress government should stop using force against the protesters. It should open talks with the people to settle the issue. There can be no forcible acquisition of land," the party added.

The area flared up when angry protesters fought a pitched battle with the police when they tried to enter Padmapukur.

The confrontation escalated on Tuesday afternoon when a huge police force, accompanied by a battalion of the Rapid Action Force, tried to enter the village.