The violent protest in Bhangar area in West Bengal claims life of two men. Several of the villagers were injured after the clash with the cops. The Bhangar area in West Bengal’s South 24 Parganas district has a history of protests that started due to the land acquisition for a power plant project.
The problem dates back to 2013, when Arabul Islam, a strongman in Trinamool Congress acquired 13 acres of land from farmers for a power project. The government had planned to set up a substation of 440/220 KV to transfer power between the state and a place called Purnia in Bihar. Since then, farmers along with the villagers, started protesting under the leadership of Kalu Sheikh. They demanded for the return of their lands and the suspension of the power project.
Although the protest stayed subtle for two years, sudden completion in the project by Power Grid Corporation of India, started a fresh protest in the village. This soon turned violent when the police arrested Kalu Sheikh on Monday night. Villagers of Machhindanga hit the streets demanding his release. As the pressure from the villagers mounted, Kalu was released.
Earlier on Tuesday, violent protests erupted when several villagers started pelting stones at the police. Around 10,000 villagers blocked the roads to the village using tree trunks, sticks and rods. The police, in return, fired tear-gas shells and rubber bullets to disperse the agitating crowd.
On Tuesday evening, Mafizul Ali Khan, succumbed to the injuries in firing. He died on the way to the hospital. Out of several others injured, Alam Mollah, who received bullet injuries died in the RG Kar Hospital.
As a precautionary measure, the police have completely cordoned off the area in and around the main gate of the power grid substation and have also deployed RAF. The security includes a huge contingent of combat force.
The villagers feel this similar to agitations in Singur and Nandigram. A serious action is yet to be taken by the State Government with this regard.